Communities in Okrika local government area of Rivers State have requested licences from the federal government to operate a modular refinery in the area. They also urgedsecurity agencies to return stolen crude and petroleum products recovered from the area to enable them refine the products properly rather than waste them and cause damage to the environment.
The communities made the demands yesterday during a sensitization programme organized by Oil and Gas Surveillance Stakeholders Forum and Okrika local government council with calls to: “End The Sabotage, Save The Future”, “Say No To Pipeline Vandalism And Oil Theft” and “Think Modular Refining: The New Way To Go.”
A member of the Okrika Council of Chiefs, Tamuno Akaluogba, who represented the Chairman of the council, Amiesimaka Kala-Owolo and the leader of Niger Delta Vigilante, Ateke Tom noted that the communities were ready to commence operation of a modular refinery if the federal government gives them approval.
Akaluogbo said: “We are requesting for a licence to operate our own modular refinery first from the federal government before other people start because we have suffered so much from the impacts of oil exploration and production.
“We have all it takes to build our own modular refinery. The federal government should approve it for us. Our chiefs, including Ateke hate oil theft and illegal refining.”
“We are capable of operating it because we have the resources to commence if the federal government gives us the chance to build.”Akaluogbo regretted that the activities of illegal oil thieves were affecting Okrika communities, adding that there was the need for full implementation of modular refining.
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Okrika local council, Wilson Alabere lamented that over 80% of oil blocks located in the region belong to non indigenes of the Niger Delta area saying the region should be given a chance to operate the modular refinery to enhance development of the region.