Artisanal Refineries Illegal—FG

April 19, 2022
Artisanal Refineries

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has said that it will not legalize artisanal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta, describing it as criminal activities.

This was one of the many talking points made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva while inspecting the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refining Company in Eleme, Rivers State recently.

There have been several calls by stakeholders in the Niger Delta region for the government to legalize artisanal refineries in the region, just the same way the government legalized artisanal gold mining in the North, under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) scheme.

Mr Sylva said the federal government would not allow artisanal refineries because of their environmental impacts, noting that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has instead set up a modular refinery program and encouraged Nigerians to rather invest in it.

Mr Sylva blamed hydrocarbon soot pollution in Port Harcourt and environs on the activities of artisanal refineries, adding that it is causing a lot of health challenges for residents.

He maintained that the government would not rest on its oars in putting an end to activities of artisanal refineries.

“The programme is on and we expect Nigerians to take advantage of the modular refinery program.

“But you know when people begin to equate modular refinery with the criminality that is going on. I think they don’t go together.

“The criminality should be taken as it is, on its own. What is going on in Port Harcourt and the environs that is causing soot is a criminal activity and we cannot legalize that criminal activity.

“We must stop that activity by law enforcement and that has started.

“Of course, the programme for establishing modular refineries has always been on. Any law-abiding Nigerian who wants to invest in this area can always access funding and also the licenses from the federal government,” the Minister said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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