A former governor of Delta State and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Delta South Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has called on the Federal Government to convert the ingenuity of illegal refinery operators in the Niger Delta region into technological breakthrough for the country.
Uduaghan, who was one of those who brokered a peace deal between the Federal Government and militants in the region in 2009, said the illegal refineries should be upgraded and licensed by the government to complement the four conventional refineries in the country.
The former governor, in a Facebook post on Wednesday on the reasons why he aspired to represent Delta South at the Senate, gave an assurance that when elected, he would pursue laws that would legalise the illegal refineries and their operators.
He observed that the continued destruction of the local refineries by security agencies, which in turn pollute the already degraded environment, was not the solution to the current menace.
He stated, “About 6,000 illegal refineries operational in the country were reportedly destroyed by the Joint Military Task Force in 2015. Some of these ‘refineries’ were actually rickety ‘science projects’ being over-glorified by calling them oil refineries.
“Be that as it may, among existing thousands of illegal refineries, there is (a) likelihood that there will be a good number of well set up refineries among them. The illegal refinery industry has been around for years now, and has grown a little.
“So can a country that is trying hard to manage its four legal refineries afford to destroy ‘illegal refineries?”