By Sunday Apah
The Niger Delta Local Refineries’ Owners Association has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to legalize local refineries in the region, as part of measures to curb illegal bunkering in the country.
The group in an online statement sent to journalists and signed by Kachi Vitals, Rivers State; Orachi Jay, Imo State; Roland Gedu, Delta State; Bani Ebi, Bayelsa State; Fumilayo Kola, Ondo State; Osadolor Osaretin, Edo State; Joshua Etim, Akwa-Ibom State and Ugochukwu Orji, Abia State said the destruction of local refineries will not solve the problem of vandalism.
According to the statement, “We want the federal government to know that we were not involved in the pipeline surveillance contract in Niger Delta because those handling it in our area only gave it to some group of persons without recognition of the local refineries’ owners.
“We have been abandoned in the scheme of things in the country. Militants and Boko Haram terrorists have been given amnesty by the federal government but in the case of the local refineries operators, no one cares about us.
“No one can secure pipelines more than us because we rely on the product to operate our refineries. So we are strongly against vandalization. Those claiming to be experts in securing the pipeline are the ones currently involved in the vandalization of pipelines and illegal bunkering but at a higher level.
“They intimidate and oppress people with the security outfit. Seize and sell equipment including products. For the benefit of the doubt, I challenged them to produce any of the vessels, equipment of illegal refineries and products seized.
“That was why they refused to involve us in the pipeline surveillance contract in the Niger Delta. Now that the contract is about to be renewed, we appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to decentralize the contract in a way that we will be directly involved.
“We call on our traditional rulers, political leaders and notable stakeholders in the Niger Delta to help talk to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu to take into consideration our position and plea for a lasting solution to vandalism in the Niger Delta region”, it added.