By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Operators involved in the refining of crude oil along the coastal communities of the Niger Delta region yesterday lauded Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, over the new policy, but warned politicians not to hijack the programme.
In a commendation letter to the Acting President, the group noted that the proposed liberalisation of crude oil refining would encourage local participation, massive employment of youths and increased production of petroleum product for the nation.
The operators drawn from the nine States of the region under the aegis of the Izon-Ibie Modular Refinery Association, noted that the “the issue of the proposed modular refineries should not be allowed to be politicised and hijacked by politicians.”
Signed by the Chairman, Mr Clever Uyabara and Secretary, Okia Perez, the letter noted that those in business at the local level were aware of the negative impact politicisation of policies could have on the process.
“It will be easier to train local operators for the pilot scheme and we shall be more than willing to work with government to showcase our skills”, the group said.
It added : “To us in the region, the declaration of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu on the proposed coordination of the perceived ‘illegal’ refinery operators into owners of modular refineries in the states of Niger Delta, is commendable and welcome.
“This has led to the inauguration of a $50 Million modular refinery at Ikwe-Onna Refinery with a 5000 B/D day capacity in Ikwe village of Onnna Local government area of Akwa Ibom State. This is already sending the right signals to local participants such as our group. “
“Our group, the Izon-Ibie Modular Refinery Association, is ready and set to key into the new era of proper, safe and environmental friendly proposition from the Federal Government”
The group noted that even with its limited knowledge of refining, it’s members had been contributing by creating jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
“Not wanting to sound immodest, the multitude of local refinery operators in the Niger Delta region and Lagos, have been part and parcel of silent partners in the crude oil refining activities for the benefit of the nation.” “In our little way, we have contributed to the increased availability of refined products including AGO, DK,PMS and LPFO in the market.
“In spite of our limited knowledge of crude oil refining, we have absorbed hundreds of thousands of jobless youths including graduates and contributed to peace and security through gainful engagement,” the operators said.