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Time To Legalise And Recognise Artisanal Refineries - UTWEETS
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Time To Legalise And Recognise Artisanal Refineries

The Deputy Minority Whip and member representing Njikoka/Anaocha and Dunukfia in the House of Representatives, Honourable George Ozodinobi has called on the Federal Government to legalise and recognize artisanal refineries in the country as a matter of urgency. Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja, Honourable Ozodinobi avered that a plethora of factors has made government’s intervention in the matter inevitable...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶▶▶

He averred that ‘’Illegal domestic refining of petroleum products has been prevalent in the Niger Delta region for quite some years as a consequence of the serial neglect of the region by successive governments, both military and civilian’’. This state of affairs, he continued, ‘’was not helped by the culture of perennial fuel shortage occasioned by inefficient and corrupt management of the country’s four refineries leading to a situation where finished petroleum products are imported from outside the country’’.

He contended that “even though some of the practices associated with artisanal refineries may not be salutary, dealing with a situation in which our navy and other security forces are now permanently saddled with this problem greatly affects their primary duty of protecting our waterways. The time he continued ” is therefore now to proactively distill the benefits of this practice as a way of doing away with the negative sides . And the way out is to legalise their practice”.

When reminded that these operations are crude, and no more than boiling crude oil in big pots, crude oil which the domestic refiners largely receive from illegal sources, with final so- called refined products that do not meet industry standards,  he averred that ‘’that is part of engineering in governance. The assumption that their products are inferior only shows that someone is not paying attention because motorists prefere their diesel to the so-called imported ones. In fact, the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Warri attests to the quality of their diesel in particular. “The first thing to do is to grant them amnesty.

Government will then have to take inventory of the refiners by way of stakeholder audit to avoid infiltration and train them in the technology to improve the process in an eco-friendly manner. Then, they can now form a cooperative society as a group, or a hub and obtain a license to legally request for crude oil from the Department of Petroleum Resources.

It may be necessary to subsidize crude oil to be sold to them, to come at par, or even cheaper than the cost of the illegal ones they purchase from vandals so as to disincentive the parallel option. This will come at a substantial cost to the government. But the benefits will outweigh the cost”.

When asked if the Government has given up on stopping their operations, he waived away the question, positing that “if the NNPCL destroyed 5686 illegal refineries in the last three years, the reality of the impossibility of the security forces eliminating this practice comes in bold relief. The point becomes: how best do we manage a difficult situation and squeeze out some good from it? You must agree with me that artisanal refining in a way will address youth unemployment and contribute to national security and also engender some psychological sense of ownership and entitlement among the locals of the Niger Delta. This is important because it strikes at the notion of resource control.

Ozodinobi agrees that “while these measures may appear paltry, ‘’they, when put together with the positive effort of Government as underscored by the establishment of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) by the Military Government in the 90s which failed due to its insufficiency and corruption, the establishment of the  Niger Delta Development Commission, the Ministry of the Niger Delta and other genuinly positive effort to assuage the reality of the situation, some mileage would have been recorded.

He contended that “years of exploration and exploitation of crude oil by multilateral oil companies have led to the despoliation of the host environment and massive and unchecked environmental problems occasioned by oil spillage devastated most of the Niger Delta space and waters, leading to large scale destruction of aquatic life which is the mainstay of the local economy.…Continue The Full Reading.>’.

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