Environmental safety and pollution expert, Theophilus Tari Alaye spoke on the people of Niger Delta’s frustrations with the government’s failure to keep its promises to establish and license sustainable modular refineries.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Thursday, Alaye said the initiative was aimed at creating employment opportunities for the people of the region, but however summarized it as a “failure” as the refineries are not operational.
He also pointed out that the initiative did not take Niger Delta stakeholders into consideration and licensed companies did not have the interest of the people in mind.
“I can categorically tell you that the IOC policy of the modular refinery that was implemented 2018 has completely failed and they never got the goal of which those licenses were given, and that is why we keep telling Federal Government, IOCs and agencies in charge that any time they want to carry out policies or programs or issues of modular refineries that has to do with the people of Niger Delta the critical stakeholders who are Niger Delta sons and daughters in the oil sector should always be put into consideration.”
He said majority of licensed companies experienced challenges in their funding and hardship in licence renewal after it expired in two years.
According to Alaye, “Those licences were given to people who were not really ready for the business. Even as a council president as I speak to you, there are partners that are willing to get those licences to come and develop in the Niger Delta region to build the modular refineries that the region needs; to increase employment opportunities. To create jobs for our teeming youths. Funding overtime we know will definitely be a challenge, but those who are ready for the business will definitely sort it out.
“We have people from the Niger Delta region because it is our region and it’s best known to us. As the region that is laying the golden egg, our challenges are very very enormous and peculiar to us. What we’re saying is, whatever thing that has to do with the region, the stakeholders from the region should always be put into consideration.”
He further called for the engagement of stakeholders specifically from those regions as subsidy removal is bound to bring in investors.
Many fear that the “Nigeria factor’” will affect the establishment of these refineries due to many challenges faced in the national economy. However, Alaye is confident that the recently deregulated sector will allow investors easier access to it due to agency handling price regulation.
He asked that government ensure that militarization and vandalism are totally eradicated, that they liaise with illegal refineries as well as the by-products to stop the environmental crisis in the environment.
He also spoke on the recently awarded pipeline rehabilitation contracts to 17 Nigerian companies by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited.
He expressed outrage as he claimed that the region was cheated out of the contract; it was noted that little to no companies contracted were indigenous to the region.
“Our problem with the NNPC and IOCs over time has always been the level at which they undermined the people of the Niger Delta. This is the region where you are getting your crude. This is the area and region where you are engaging in all your oil and gas activities but when it comes to engagement of the people and contract awarding, you see that our sons and daughters in the oil and gas sectors are always undermined.
“Now, rehabilitation contracts are being awarded and we don’t even know when these things were advertised but no company owned by sons and daughters was given out of the 17 award companies.
“NNPC over time, we are all aware, has been playing politics with the people of Niger Delta.”