Group Moves to End Artisanal Refining in Ogoniland

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Ogoni Ex-artisanal Refiners Forum has commenced sensitisation programme against re-pollution of the Ogoniland.
The group, yesterday brought together over 2000 ex-artisanal refiners at the Nortem Town hall in Bori, Khana Local government area of Rivers State, to begin the first batch of the training.

The training in collaboration with the National Youth Council of Ogoni People, was targeted at ending the menace of illegal refining activities in the area and encouraging healthy source of livelihood.

Speaking on the theme: “Revenue Loss, Environmental Impact and Health Complication,” Mr. Jude Samuelson, advised the trainees against further involvement in illegal oil bunkering and refining.
Samuelson who sensitised the youths on the need to shun such illegal refining activities, stressed that the health and environmental implications was worse than the benefit.

On his part, the President, National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) and also the President General, Rivers State Ethnic Leaders Council, Barinuazor Emmanuel, said despite the training, the federal government should provide alternative means of livelihood for the youths so that they would not return back to illegal refining of the nation’s resource.

“We are here today to sensitises our people. In the UNEP Report, there was a recommendation that states that the youth of Ogoni involve in artisanal refiners should be given a livelihood and also engage them.

“Those were supposed to be part of the emergency measures that HYPREP ignored but the current leadership of HYPREP headed by Dr. Ferdinand Giadom and the Minister for Environment has deem it fit that we should go back and start to talk to our people because Oil Theft is one of the most dangerous activities going on in the Niger Delta today.

“Oil theft comes with the issue of arms and drugs. So we the youths of Ogoni have decided that we are not going to indulge to illegal refining. We are going to work with HYPREP to ensure that anything illegal refining must stop in Ogoniland.
“NYCOP being the mother of all the youth bodies in Ogoni have been mandated to bring together all the ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoni to end Illegal refinery in Ogoni.

“We are also telling government that you cannot only be looking at the faces of those that carry gun, you have given the opportunity to Tompolo to handle the issue of pipeline and others. What we want is to secure our own pipeline because we need oil resumption back to Ogoniland,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Ex-artisanal Refining Forum, Teddy Ereba, urged the government to train the ex-artisanal refiners and give them scholarship abroad to better their lives, also provide them with good jobs.

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