The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Millard Dikio (rtd), has warned that things would only get worse if the Federal Government does not do more to wage a war against the activities of informal operators of modular refineries in the Niger-Delta region.
Dikio pointed out that the domestic refining of crude oil by artisans in host communities had grave health and environmental implications for the country.
The amnesty boss said this in Abuja on Wednesday at the stakeholders’ engagement on the integration of modular/artisanal refinery operations in the oil and gas sector, with the theme, ‘Current Challenges of Revenue Loss, Petroleum Product Scarcity, Environmental Pollution and Negotiated Way-Out’.
Dikio also encouraged all stakeholders to set aside their differences and support efforts to save not only the environment but also the country’s economy.
According to him, “things can get worse” if urgent and systematic steps were not taken to fight the effects of informal crude oil refining.
He warned that it was dangerous for citizens to seek to make money by all means, adding that people will end up destroying the environment for the love of money.
“There are problems with artisanal refining,” he explained, noting that these activities of illegal crude refiners have serious health and environmental implications.
He said that stakeholders in the industry must come together to solve the problems.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, told the gathering that the President Muhammadu Buhari government has lost so much money to oil thieves
He went further to disclose that it was high time the country regularised modular refinery operators to save the country’s economy.
According to him, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has led to the ongoing war between the two countries, has created opportunities for the nation’s energy sector.
He pointed out there was the need for all players in the industry to be brought on board in order for Nigeria to take full advantage of the rising global demand for oil.