By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Col. Milland Dikio (retd), has warned against the activities of informal operators of modular refineries in Niger Delta.
He explained that the domestic refining of crude oil by artisans in host communities has left behind serious health and environmental challenges for the country.
Speaking at the 2nd edition of the stakeholders’ engagement on the integration of modular/artisanal refinery operations in the oil and gas sector in Abuja, he encouraged all stakeholders to set aside their differences and support efforts to save not only the environment, but the country’s economy.
The event was organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs.
Dikio also encouraged all stakeholders to set aside their differences and support efforts to save not only the environment, but also the country’s economy.
He said: “Things can get worse in the country, if urgent and systematic steps were not taken to contain the effects of informal crude oil refinery operators. We cannot seek to make money by all means. We cannot destroy our environment, because we want to make it.
“There are problems with artisanal refining. These activities have serious health and environmental implications, but what is the way forward? We all need to put our heads and hands together to solve these problems.”
In his remarks, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said Nigeria lost about $2 billion worth of crude oil in the recent past due to the activities of informal modular refinery operators.
He said Nigeria’s challenges in this regard were surmountable through policy measures that would fully integrate them into the mainstream oil and gas industry. Also, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, said ongoing efforts to ensure that artisanal crude oil refiners were absorbed into the formal sector would get the backing of the Federal Government because of the multiplier effects on the nation’s revenue base.
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, noted that the government has lost so much money to oil thieves, stressing that it was high time the country regularised modular refinery operations to save the economy.
He also said the Russia-Ukraine war had created opportunities for the nation’s energy sector, hence the need for all players to be brought on board for Nigeria to take full advantage of the rising global demand for oil.
Other speakers at the event include the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE) in Delta State, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh; Executive Director of Youth and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, among others.