September 24, 2022

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Fuel scarcity: Group advocates artisanal refineries legalisation

The President of Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, on Sunday, called on the Federal Government to legalise the operations of illegal crude oil refineries in order to make petroleum products available and affordable for Nigerians.

He said the call had become imperative following challenges being faced by Nigerians due to the fuel scarcity which had lingered for several weeks leaving commuters stranded.

Ndu, who is also the Director, Institute for African Renaissance Studies and Realization at the Gregory University Uturu, in a statement, lamented the enormous amount of money being spent by Nigeria on petroleum subsidies.

According to him, many years of government neglect and unemployment in the Niger Delta region coupled with other factors had given rise to a widespread industry of illegally refining stolen with many attendant risks.

He said, “I call on the government of Nigeria to get realistic and immediately put all necessary machinery in motion to legalise, standardise, regulate and monitor all so-called illegal refineries in the country, a great majority of which are in the Niger Delta

“We have been told that petroleum subsidy grew by 349.42 per cent in three years. From N350 billion in 2019 to N1.573 trillion in 2021. Also, the cost of subsidizing the product in 2022 was N450 billion.

“On April 24, 2022, for example, an explosion in one of these refineries killed over 100 people. On October 2021, a previous explosion killed 25; not to mention the fact that illegal oil refineries discharge residue from the boiling crude into rivers, polluting wildlife habitats and the water cycle, etc.

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“If the illegal refineries are legalized, standardized and monitored, it could be a win-win situation for all.

“How can we be destroying locally built mini refineries that could if encouraged, contribute to ameliorating the scarcity of petroleum products and creating gainful employment for our people while at the same time spending trillions subsidising refined petroleum products from abroad. Does it make sense?.”