No fewer than 56 licenses have been approved by the Federal Government (FG) for the setting up of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region to end the era of illegal refining activities and youths agitation in the region, but no indigene of the region was given the approval.
This was disclosed by a Lawmaker representing Omoku constituency in River state House of Assembly, Hon. Christian Ahiakwo in Port Harcourt the Rivers state capital Monday.
Ahiakwo spoke ahead of the forthcoming Port Harcourt environmental Summit, scheduled to hold Port Harcourt, between June 13 and 14, 2017.
He expressed doubt on the motive behind Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s fact finding tour of the region and the promise to approve the setting up of modular refineries for the operation of the restive youths of the region when they have issued the approval to those they want to give none of who is from the region.
“As we speak, 56 companies have been given licenses to operate modular refineries in Niger Delta region, but none of the companies is owned by indigene of the region. “Bearing in mind that militancy sprang up in the region following the perception of marginalization and exclusion of the people of the region in oil and gas business and now thus number of approval have been given without the application of any indigene of the region scaling through, I don’t know what that means,” he noted.
The lawmaker continued and said, “These licenses were issues nine days after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office. The Vice President only came to the region to affirm what they has already discussed and concluded.
The Niger Delta boys that are operating illegal refining business have got the experience, they are not doing anything different from what is being done in the modern refineries, the only thing us that while they used very crude method in carrying out the work, the approved refineries use modern technology.” He explained.
Ahiakwo was optimistic that if the Niger Delta youths are given the license to operate the modular refineries, the era of pull fire will be over and its consequent release of dangerous black sot menace in the state will gradually clear from the air.
“On the issue of black sot in the environment, I thank the state government for the proactive steps he took in addressing the concern by setting up a committee headed by the Commissioner for Environment to identify the emission sources.
The committee has completed the first phase of the assignment, which is the identification of possible emission sources and where they are, the next thing is to ascertain the pollutant substance each source is emitting before moving to confront them with the view of stopping it.
Earlier the Lawmaker who is the Chairman House Committee on Environment and also the chairman Summit steering committee, Said the Summit among other issues would review environmental issues in the state with the view of possible enactment of new laws to accommodate areas of environmental concern that were not captured in the existing laws.