File photo: Illegal refinerie

…ask Petroleum, Environment ministries to clear Rivers State of soot 

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

House of Representatives at Tuesday plenary mandated the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali and other relevant security agencies to immediately clampdown on the activities of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region of the country and prosecute those found culpable. 

The House also mandated the Federal Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Environment to urgently develop and implement modalities to clear off the soot currently experienced in Rivers State and other parts of the oil rich region.

The parliament also asked it’s Committees on Police Affairs, Navy, Army, Defense and Interior to investigate the alleged involvement of security agents in the illegal oil refining.

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The resolution was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by Rep. Unyime Idem representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State.

Moving the motion, Idem recalled that section 44 (3) and item 39 Schedule II of the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) vested the control and management of natural resources and hydrocarbon operations on the federal government for the common good and benefit of the citizens.

Disclosing that the economy of Nigeria has over the years been premeditated and totally dependent on oil from the Niger Delta, the lawmaker however expressed concern that the region has over the years been plagued by the activities of illegal oil refineries at the detriment of the lives of residents and the economy  of the country. 

“These activities have compounded the age-long problem of environmental pollution and degradation caused by the seismic and exploration activities of the multinational oil companies operating in Niger Delta; contributing to the dramatic changes in the weather pattern being experienced in the region.

“These illegal activities have sabotaged economic activities of residents of the area, caused severe health hazards on citizens, robbed the country of critical revenue, and aggravated the problem of pollution in the region.

“A particular case is the soot currently suffered by citizens and residents of Rivers State and the environs in the last three years, as a result of incomplete burning of organic matter by these illegal refiners.

“Some security agencies and some influential individuals have been alleged of complicity in the activities of these illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region of the Country. 

“If these trend continues unabated, the Niger Delta Region will be at health risk and economic activities will be crumbled”, he said.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Host Community and Petroleum (Downstream) to ensure compliance and report back to it within 6 weeks.

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