22 February 2015, Benin — Stakeholders associated with the Port Harcourt Refining Company, PHRC, Alesa, Eleme, have threatened to boycott the forthcoming elections over the non-availability of crude oil for refining.
One of them, Godspower Igwe, the coordinator of the Coalition of the South South and South East Youths, in a press conference in Port Harcourt, described the situation as unacceptable.
“Even though the PHRC is working at over 70 per cent installed capacity and it is just 60km to transport crude oil from the Bonny Terminal to the place following the termination of the use of pipelines due to acts of vandalism, it is so sad that nothing is happening there.
“As I speak, over 10 million persons benefitting from the PHRC Depot operations have been suffering due to hunger and frustration since depots in Aba, Calabar, Enugu and Port Harcourt are directly linked to it”, he said, adding, “if this does not stop, we will all boycott the next election”.
Also reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer of the Ogoni and Eleme Joint Stakeholders Forum at the PHRC Depot, Sunday Saro, lamented that deliberate sabotage is behind the development.
“Since 2014, crude was only supplied in March when the use of marine vessels to carry crude was commissioned. Crude was also available in April, May, once in July and November and that is all to date yet workers at the PHRC still collect salaries”, he revealed.
Going further, he said: “We know Mr. President is on a transformation agenda but those representing him are not doing well at all. He demonstrated his resolve to make crude continually available by approving vessels to do so from Bonny Terminal but events in recent times show some people are frustrating his efforts and are not telling him the truth.
“The SPDC (Shell) is one of those we suspect from our investigations to be selling off the crude.If this is a ploy to sell the PHRC, we will resist it with the last drop of our blood.
Ten million of us are starving. Several have died and some have taken to crime. That is why crime has increased in Eleme, Oyigbo, Okrika etc.”
They concluded by urging President Jonathan to intervene by calling all those responsible for the anomaly to order to avoid losing the votes of the stakeholders.
*Isaac Olamikan – Leadership