Illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region may continue longer than anticipated due to the failure of the Federal Government to unveil solutions it earlier promised to stop the menace, The Guardian reports.
The Government had said it would build modular refineries in the region in order to engage jobless youths, who resort to unruly operations and militancy activities to push out 1,000 barrels of refined petroleum products daily from each of the refineries to meet supply shortfalls in the region.
However, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources could not ascertain when the projects would become a reality, but said about three licences could be issued soon. Apart from the three, four other applicants have also been identified especially in Edo State, Spokesperson for the Ministry, Idang Alibi said.
However, some of the stakeholders, especially leaders from the region, including the National Leader, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark; National Coordinator, Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC), Mike Loyibo; and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), led by Eric Omare, said they are unaware of these moves.
With brimming environmental challenges, heightened security crisis, and agitations of the creeks dwellers to benefit from oil money, experts are worried that lawlessness may escalate in the oil producing region unless government expedites the promise to convert illegal refineries in the region to modular refineries.