The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Pastor On Strike for Oil, Writes Ellen

Pastor Wilmot Ben Yalartai, the preacher who embarked on a hunger strike few weeks ago in demand for the renegotiation of 10 controversial oil blocks, have written President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and predicting future conflict if nothing is done.

The Abundant Life Chapel Pastor, who embarked on his oil hunger strike June 18, 2012, has already loss 30lbs according to medical report as at this Saturday July 7.

The weight loss was known after he checked into the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital Saturday when he felt sick and was very weak.

But pastor Yalartai who has vowed to continue his strike said in his letter to President Sirleaf, a statement he repeated to this paper that the oil contracts are in violation of the petroleum laws of Liberia and want the contracts review, adding that as they (contracts) stand are not in the best interest of Liberians.

"The renegotiation of all 10 oil contracts awarded by NOCAL and GOL to the various contractors in violation of the existing New Petroleum Law of the Republic of Liberia. All renegotiation must be based on the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Liberia.

To knowingly contract with foreign corporations in the name of encouraging investors to explore and develop Liberia's oil industry in violation of the Constitution and Laws of Liberia is illegal. All renegotiation of Oil Blocks that have the most potential and possibility of commercial quantity must be done without delay," Pastor Yalartai said in his letter to President Sirleaf.

The exploration contracts given to 10 companies amongst them American Oil giant Chevron has sparked controversies since the beginning of President Sirleaf's second term in office.

The controversies are also powered by the appointment of her son, Robert Sirleaf as chairman of the lucrative NOCAL board. The president has publicly defended her son's appointment saying he is qualified.

See full text of his letter below:

July 2, 2012

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President Republic of Liberia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tubman Boulevard, Monrovia

Republic of Liberia

Mr. Wilmot Ben Yalartai

Y-Plaza, ICA Camp

Corner of 18th Street, Barclay Ave.

Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia

Your Excellency:

I have the honor most respectfully to extend you greetings on behave of myself and all the ordinary citizens of this great country of ours, the Republic of Liberia and I wish to inform you of our concerns and actions related to these concerns.

Madam President, first of all, I wish to introduce myself and the cause I represent. I am a citizen of Rivercess County and I represent the interest of my county and the ordinary citizens of this country, the Republic of Liberia. Seemingly, please permit me to use this opportunity to bring to your attention critical issues relating to Ten (10) Oil Contracts (Production Sharing Contract) signed between the Republic of Liberia, National Oil Company of Liberia on one hand, and Regal Liberia Limited for LB 8 & 9, Anadarko for LB 10, Oranto Petroleum Limited, Chevron Liberia Limited for LB 11, 12 & 14, Broadway Consolidated PLC. for LB 13 Woodside West Africa PTY. LTD for LB 15 and Repsol Exploration S.A. for LB 16 & 17 on the other hand.

At issue: The gross violations of the New Petroleum Law of Liberia which was not amended or repealed and the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia:

• Sovereignty- Section 2.4.3 of the New Petroleum Law

• Equity Participation of the Government Section 3.3 of the New Petroleum Law

• Stock Purchase by Liberian Citizens- Section 3.4 of the New petroleum Law

• NOCAL's Income in Excess of Operating Cost- Section 3.6 of the New Petroleum Law

• Royalty as Tax-Section- 3.7, etc of the New Petroleum Law

• Chapter ii Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia

• Chapter VI Article 53a of the Constitution of Liberia

See attached for your reference: We are deeply concerned that the economic benefits that should accrue to our citizens and ordinary people could revert to a handful of individuals and foreign corporations. For far too long our people have been deprived of their fair share of economic benefits from the natural resources due to actions or inaction of our government.

In view of the aforementioned, your Excellency, we are calling on you as head of the Liberian Government including the National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL to please do the following to avoid any future conflict that could derive from the manner in which these Ten (10) (Production Sharing Contract) Oil Contracts were awarded in violation of the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Liberia:

1. The renegotiation of all 10 oil contracts awarded by NOCAL and GOL to the various contractors in violation of the existing New Petroleum Law of the Republic of Liberia. All renegotiation must be based on the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Liberia. To knowingly contract with foreign corporations in the name of encouraging investors to explore and develop Liberia's oil industry in violation of the Constitution and Laws of Liberia is illegal. All renegotiation of Oil Blocks that have the most potential and possibility of commercial quantity must be done without delay.

2. Re-negotiations must include provisions to benefit the local people and county wherein the Oil is extracted from and certain percentage must be allotted for their development.

3. Chevron's financial obligation as stated in the 2nd Addendum, item 1&2 for Oil Block 11,12 & 14 PSC must be remitted for the citizen's benefit without delay.

In pursuit of this cause, I have declared hunger strike since Monday, June 18, 2012.1 have lived will live only on liquid until the government of Liberia takes immediate steps to renegotiate and ratify these concessions that have been awarded in violation of the Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Liberia.

During this peaceful action of hunger strike, my safety is in the hand of the government of Liberia. Any evil that will befall me during this peaceful action will be the responsibility of the Liberian Government and will serve as a memorial to invalidate these Ten (10) (Production Sharing Contract) Oil Contracts. My peaceful action will usher change to enhance economic benefits, social development and political freedom for all Liberians. I thank you.

Kind regards.

Sincerely yours,

Wilmot Ben Yalartai, Pastor, Abundant Life Chapel

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