Edo Lawmaker Campaign Against Destruction of Illegal Refineries in Niger Delta Region
LAGOS OCTOBER 15TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The member representing Egor/ Ikpoba-Okha constituency of Edo State, Mr Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma has called on the Federal Government to license and regulate illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region rather than destroying them.
The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, had announced that it had destroyed illegal refineries and barges in the Niger Delta, stating that the refineries and barges were sighted by NAF Diamond 42 aircraft.
The lawmaker reasoned that the number of illegal refineries being destroyed and the rate at which they resurfaced was evidence that the operators had some engineering skills that government should harness.
Speaking on Thursday in Abuja, he held that the government should leverage on the skills of the operators of the refineries to develop small outlets for refining crude oil for domestic use, adding that the advice became necessary owing to the failure of persons granted licenses by previous administrations to build refineries, to do so.
Agbonayinma also said that it was because of the inability of the government to fix existing refineries but had resorted to sustained importation of petroleum products.
He maintained that rather than destroy the so-called illegal refineries, the federal government through the Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and Amnesty Programme should bring together the youths engaging in the illegal refinery and harness their technology.
“The activities of illegal refineries operators should be regulated, licenses should be issued to them and crude oil allocated to them based on their capacities. In civilised countries, what to do is to bring all those youths and look for a way to harness their brains rather than to destroy the refineries.
“They are doing what government cannot do by consistently refining crude oil into petroleum products; they deserved to be assembled and encouraged to do it better, under regulation,” the lawmaker said.