Now is time to legalise ‘illegal’ refineries, House member tells FG
Instead of crushing local ingenuity that can be driven to perfection in no time, a member of the Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, has said that instead of destroying illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government should license and regulate them.
In an interview weekend, the lawmaker argued that time has come for the government to leverage on the skills of operators of the refineries to develop small outlets for refining crude oil for domestic use.
Agbonayinma, who represents Egor/Ikpoba-Okha Constituency of Edo State, said his advice became necessary because the persons given licences to build refineries by previous administrations had failed to do so.
Only last week, the Nigerian Air Force said it destroyed over 15 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta via air raid.
In making his point, the House member argued that “the number of illegal refineries being destroyed and the rate at which they resurfaced had shown that the operators had some engineering skills that government should harness”.
“The activities of illegal refinery operators should be regulated, licences should be issued to them and crude oil allocated to them based on their capacities.
“In the civilised countries, what to do is to bring all those youths and look for a way to harness their brains rather than destroy the refineries.
“They are doing what government cannot do by consistently refining crude oil into petroleum products; they deserve to be assembled and encouraged to do it better, under regulations.”
Since this year, statistics show that over 1,600 illegal refineries have been destroyed by the Nigerian forces.