A non-governmental organisation, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), has told Federal Government that establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta will reduce criminal activities and unemployment rate in the region.
President of group, Douglas Fabeke, made the assertion at a stakeholders’ meeting of Ogoni ethnic nationality community, held in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
OLI president said that the Federal Government should grant licences for operation of modular refinery in the Niger Delta.
Fabake maintained that if granted, the illegal oil refining operators would be reformed into cooperatives, which will benefit the government, as crime rate will reduce.
He added that it would generate more revenue with operators made to pay taxes to the government like other oil multinational companies.
The group commended the federal and Rivers State governments for tackling the effects of illegal refinery in the region, adding that modular refinery, if legalized, will end the economic sabotage experienced in the country.
He said: “To reduce these illegal refineries, for example, Niger Delta states are oil states. Government should set a platform that will be easier for private investors, private partners to come into oil and gas industries, setting up modular refinery, giving them licence, reducing the procedures that can be easier for investors to come into this businesses.
“We already have a proposal we sent to the government and our proposal is coupled with industrial fabrication for modular refinery. That means we can build the modular refinery here and also fabricate the part and this will create more jobs.
“Like in Ogoni, we don’t have modular refinery; the Eleme Petrochemical Refinery is not working. Government cannot manage their refineries; Nigeria should not be a country where fuel became a problem. There is no need to import fuel because we the crude oil.
“Government should bring up a policy that will enable individuals to go into modular refinery and also refine our oil here. It’s also going to reduce the burden and cost on the government by so doing this, it will reduce unemployment.
“Now you have destroyed all the illegal refinery and bunkery, the boys are on the streets, they will actually enter into another crime because they want to survive, they have seen money. So, if government can implement that proposal that each of the states in the Niger Delta should have refinery, some of the oil-rich communities in region should a refinery, it would create a platform that will be easier for investors to come in and invest.”
The OLI president urged the Federal Government specifically to complement the efforts of the Rivers State government in tackling the menace of soot by declaring “war” on oil thieves.
The group advised other Niger Delta states to emulate the steps taken by Rivers government in fighting illegal oil bunkering which has reduced air pollution in the state.
“There was a time that the federal government planned to build six modular refineries in Niger Delta, and government cannot do this thing by themselves.
“What the governor has done in Rivers State is the best. Other governors in the Niger Delta should emulate the Rivers State government in tackling the menace of soot and see how they can create investment programme to eradicate illegal modular refinery.”