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Niger Delta leaders demand licence for modular refinery

From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

Stakeholders and people of Okrika ethnic nationality in Rivers State have appealed to the Federal Government for the issuance of license to operate modular refinery in the community.

Also, they have called on the Federal and State governments to adopt peaceful approaches to discourage illegal oil refinery and bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

The appeals were made, on Thursday,  during a one-day  summit organised by Oil and Gas Surveillance Stakeholders Forum (OGSSF),  in collaboration with Okrika Local Government Council,  held at the Council’s headquarters in the area.

Specifically, High Chief Ateke Tom and Chairman of Okrika Division Council of Chiefs, Amiesimaka Kala-Owolo,  demanded that Federal Government should approve modular refinery in the area because they people deserved it.

Tom and Kala-Owolo, who spoke through Chief Tamuno Akaluogbo, called on the Federal Government to advice security agents deployed in Niger Delta,  and particularly in Okrika,  not to waste crude oil intercepted from suspected oil bunkerers.

They suggested that such oil recovered should be returned to refineries,  noting that destruction illegal oil refineries have contributed immensely to environmental pollution.

“The people of Okirika should request for the license to operate our own modular refinery first before other people start because we have suffered so much from oil impact.

“We have all it takes to build our own modular refinery. The Federal Government should approve it for the people of Okirika. Our chiefs, including Chief Ateke hate oil theft and illegal refining.

“We are capable of operating it because we have the money it would take and the other resources, if the Federal Government will give us the chance to build our own.

“The Federal Government should tell the security operatives to always return stolen products to the refinery for refining. They should stop wasting it into the environment because they are causing harm to us,” Akaluogbo pleaded.

Chairman of the occasion, Ayo Tamuno, who is also the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Rivers State, also urged the Federal Government to encourage and support modular refinery.

Tamuno noted that youths in Niger Delta communities have abandoned education and chose illegal oil bunkering for quick money, thereby endearing their lives and environment.

The theme of the summit was: “End the sabotage,  save the future,  say no to pipeline vandalism and oil theft; think modular refinery,  a new to go”.

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