Publish date: 2022-07-11 23:14:00 | Author: Friday Olokor | Source: punchng.com
The Director of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies and Realisation at the Gregory University Uturu, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, on Sunday, called on the Federal Government to legalise the operations of artisanal crude oil refineries in order to make petroleum products available and affordable for Nigerians.
He was responding to the fuel scarcity which has lingered for several weeks leaving commuters stranded.
Ndu, who is also the President of Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria, in a statement, lamented the huge amount of money being spent by Nigeria on petroleum subsidy.
According to him, many years of government neglect and unemployment in the Niger Delta region, coupled with other factors, had given rise to a widespread industry of illegally refining stolen with a lot of attendant risks.
He said, “I call on the government of Nigeria to get realistic and immediately put all necessary mechinery in motion to Legalise, standardise, regulate and monitor all so called illegal refineries in the country,a great majority of which are in the Niger Delta
“We have severally been told that petroleum subsidy grew by 349.42 per cent in three years. From N350bn in 2019 to N1.573tn in 2021. Also, the cost of subsidising the product in 2022 was N450bn.
“On April 24, 2022, for example, an explosion in one of these refineries killed over 100 people. On October 2021, a previous explosion killed 25; not to mention the fact that illegal oil refineries discharge residue from the boiling crude into rivers, polluting wildlife habitat and water cycle etc.
“If the illegal refineries are legalised, standardized and monitored, it could be a win win situation for all.
“How can we be destroying locally built mini refineries that could, if encouraged, contribute in ameliorating the scarcity of petroleum products and creating gainful employment for our people while at the same time spending trillions subsidising refined petroleum products from abroad. Does it make sense?.”