By Chinelo Obogo
Member, House of Representatives for Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru Federal Constituency of Imo State, Kingsley Uju-Chima, has renewed call for the integration of artisanal refineries into the country’s refining regulations in the oil and gas industry.
The lawmaker made the call, yesterday, following a visit to the site of Friday’s fire incident that killed over 100 people at an illegal bunkering site in his constituency. He said artisanal refinery remains the permanent solution to the menace associated with illegal oil bunkering.
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“It is a national disaster which has put the entire community, local government area and constituency into a mourning mood. No amount of words will compensate for the situation I have seen here today. We have had a lot of bills and motions at the National Assembly in the past and I have seen reason why we should take this more serious. I have seen reason why as Nigerians and people of oil producing areas, we should have collaborative efforts to curb this menace of oil bunkering.
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“Some time ago, I proposed artisanal refinery as a possible permanent solution to this menace. I know in the western world, they have grade A, grade B and grade C fuel, so if
Uju-Chima, who also expressed worry that 48 hours after the incident, many unclaimed corpses still littered the area, called on the state government to evacuate the corpses and fumigate the environment. The lawmaker, who later addressed some women from the area, urged them to help re-orientate the mindset of the youth against dependence on illegal oil bunkering.
“We must as a matter of urgency evacuate these corpses, so that the people alive will not be affected by the health hazard these decomposing bodies poses. I am really pained and do not know why our people should be killed in this form because this is not our traditional means of livelihood. We have always survived through farming and fishing. I know that with adequate empowerment and encouragement in genuine oil and gas businesses and MSMEs, no youth will want to live in the bush for survival,” he said.