24 July 2016, Abuja – The federal government has been advised to give licences to mini-refineries as a measure to resolve the perennial problems of fuel scarcity, illegal oil bunkering and militancy as well as create employment for youths in oil producing areas.
Some of the mini-refineries, often referred to as illegal refineries, use the modular technology to produce petrol in smaller quantities. They are often destroyed by security operatives when discovered.
The national president of the Certified Institute of Geographers of Nigeria (CIGN), Adamu Dabo Sambo, made this call when he paid a courtesy visit to LEADERSHIP’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
Sambo contended that, in order to find a lasting solution to the perennial problem of fuel scarcity, giving licence and technical guidance to operators of modular refineries will create massive employment opportunities and douse militancy in the Niger Delta region, and make the product available in the market.
He remarked that those who operate such refineries have the technical knowhow of the operations of refining crude oil, as most of them were former staff of oil companies, adding that legitimizing their operations will help to tackle the challenges bedevilling fuel supply in the country.
He also identified a drawback to oil exploration in parts of the north, pointing at the region’s distance from the coast.
Commenting on the failure of the previous administrations to exploit the oil and gas reserves in the North East region, Sambo noted that the government and oil companies do not deem it fit to engage in the activity as it was not economically viable.
“The issue of oil and gas exploration in the North East has been there for a long time. From geological studies, there is oil and gas but whenever the issue comes to exploitation, the oil companies do not want to go there for the simple reason that when they get there and get the crude oil, what are they going to do with it?
“They have two alternatives of either refining it or exporting it. If they refine it, they will be selling it in Naira while the companies actually invest in dollars,” he said.
On the agitation for the restructuring of the country, Sambo laid the blame on the failure of federal and state governments to embark on serious developmental programmes. He accused state governors of ceding their mandate to the federal government by failing to apply the resources at their disposal to transform their states.
“The agitation is a result of disaffection as government is not directing people towards a good future. There is so much concentration of power at the centre as state governments have relinquished their responsibilities,” he said.
Sambo further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to start delivering the dividends of positive change to the citizens, saying that one year was time enough to get the country working again.
He said: “It is worthwhile to mention that the present government is still in a state honeymoon, and I think it is now time to tell the president that the honeymoon is over.”
Sambo called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, kick-start the diversification of the economy in the areas of agriculture, transport solid mineral resources and other viable areas, citing example with the communication’s sub sector whose diversification has led to the creation of millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.
According to him, “Nigeria has the manpower, intellectual and natural resources. It is just a matter of coordinating, harnessing and utilizing these resources properly. When we have the crash in price of oil, everybody agrees that we need to diversify.