Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Operators of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region have pleaded with the Federal Government to caution the military to stop every form of attack on their facilities.
The operators of the refineries popular called Kpo-fire refineries noted that the continuous destruction of their facilities brings to question the sincerity of the Federal Government in implementing their declaration of establishing modular refineries.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during his visit in the region had declared that the Federal Government would establish modular refineries as a strategy to tackle oil theft and create jobs for the teaming youths of the area.
Speaking at the weekend in Port Harcourt in view of the establishment of modular refineries, the operators said if the military stopped attacks on their facilities it would restore confidence in the present administration.
One of the youths, Mr. Jolomi Kpokpobe, said the boys have resolved not go back to the creeks for illegal refining, but stressed that the act of the military destroying their equipment brings to doubt the sincerity in the declaration of the Acting President.
Okpkpobe said: “To show that they are serious with what they are saying they should call the military men to stop the destruction of this Kpo-fire refineries. As to help in building that confidence, and we will now see in the statement that the Federal government is ready to partner us in building modular refineries.
“If the military continues to destroy, it means that what the Acting president just did is mere political grandstanding. This is the time for the government to partner us by building confidence in us so that there will be understanding between the government and the communities.”
However, a social activist and community development consultant, based in the Niger Delta, Pat Obiene, called on stakeholders especially the politicians to use the opportunity to engage the operators of these refineries in the creeks to ensure that the policy statement of the FG was realized.
Obiene said: “The seminar is basically a follow up to the declaration of the Ag President during his visit in Niger Delta that Federal Government that one of the ways to win the war against oil well is to establish modular refineries and partner the operators to do it legally.
“They have use diplomacy and start talking to the people in a polite manner so that they have reasons to start restraining themselves from now till when the FG can begin to release the licenses and help them bring equipment and mobiles funds.”