Posted by News Express | 7 March 2016 | 2,178 times
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Sunday renewed its call for the legalisation of artisanal refineries and harness the potentials of those engaged in the illicit act.
Its President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, who made the call at the weekend in Yenagoa, said formalising the operations of the local refineries will help curb the frequent scarcity of petroleum products.
He said that legalising the operations of the local refineries would deal with oil theft and introduce quality control as well as make products available through formal channels and enhance oil revenue.
According to him, licensing modular refineries will reduce the pressure on the naira as the foreign exchange spent on importing refined products will be conserved and hence shoring up the value of the naira.
Eradiri applauded the pronouncement by Minister of Solid Mineral, Dr Kayode Fayemi, promising that illegal miners were being encouraged to form cooperatives to formalise their activities.
He that said such an arrangement should be extended to operators of illegal refineries in Niger Delta who had exhibited ingenuity in refining products in make shift ‘refineries’ and impacting the environment and economy adversely.
He said: “We welcome the idea being mooted by the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals and urge the Federal Government to also extend such gestures to the people involved in illegal refining in the Niger Delta.
“If the skills of these people are further developed, they will be adding to the local refining capacity of the country, all that is require is for government to train them, license them and set the standards and thousands of jobs will be created.
“We are supporting the idea and shall shortly commence the collation of data on the operators of these bush refineries and bring them together for the government to work with them.
“It is going to block the leakages in what is lost to oil thieves as NNPC will make revenue from supply of crude to the proposed modular refineries and the environmental standards will be introduced in their operations to make it safe.”
Eradiri also urged the federal government to sustain the amnesty programme which had guaranteed relative peace for optimal oil output in the past four years rather than resort to deployment of more troops to the Niger Delta.
“The deployment of troops heightens anxiety and creates a sense of anxiety in the psyche of the people, the presence of soldiers creates conflict with the people and leads to increased violence and crime. We recommend that rather than spend funds on deployment of more troops, such resources should be used to sustain the amnesty programme which has proved a huge success,” Eradiri said.
•Photo shows IYC President Udengs Eradiri.
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