01 August 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Groups in the Niger Delta region have said the plan by the Federal Government to collaborate with the Republic of Niger to build a $2 billion refinery in Katsina State was not of national interest.
Speaking separately to our correspondent in Port Harcourt, the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC; the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP; and the Ijaw Media Action Initiatives, kicked against the project, describing it as unnecessary.
National Coordinator of the Ijaw Media Action Initiatives, Mr. Victor Burubo, explained that Kaduna refinery was very closed to Katsina State, hence there was no need for another refinery in Katsina.
Burubo wondered what the federal government’s interest was in the Republic of Niger that it has, before now, proposed a railway from Nigeria to Niger, saying that rather than the new refinery, pipelines should be laid from Niger to Kaduna refinery to refine the oil from that country.
Burubo, a former spokesperson of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, maintained that if the refinery was not going to be used for the refining of Nigeria’s oil, there was no need for the refinery at all.
He said: “The idea of $2 billion refinery in Katsina State is wrong headed. What kind of refinery do they want to build in Katsina that the one in Kaduna cannot serve? It shows the insensitivity of the current administration.
“We already have four refineries in Nigeria that are virtually comatose. Why don’t we spend that money on refurbishing the existing refineries? Another refinery is hardly what we need in this country at this time. We have a lot of issues that needs urgent federal government attention – the Brass LNG has been ignored.
“Why should we built a refinery for Niger? It doesn’t make any sense. If Niger Republic does not have the capacity to refine their oil, they should bring it down to Kaduna and refine it. Pipelines can be laid from Kaduna to Niger. If pipelines can be laid all the way from the Niger Delta to Kaduna, which part of Niger cannot be reached from Kaduna?”
Similarly, President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, said the idea of siting a refinery in Katsina when existing refineries are not functioning optimally was not in the interest of the nation.
“I am of the view that before embarking on the construction of a new refinery, the existing refineries should be revamped. One of the key points of Buhari’s campaign promises was that refineries would start working again.
“I see no reason for the establishment of a refinery in Katsina State when there are locations closer to crude oil in the country.
“I think the idea is motivated from sentimental and primordial reasons and not for national interest considering the fact that existing ones are not functional,” Omare said.
On her part, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, said the same political will used by the federal government on the Katsina refinery project should be put to use in the clean up of oil-impacted sites in Ogoniland.
Publicity Secretary of MOSOP, Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, explained that at this time, the people of Ogoni expected the Federal Government to commence the restoration of Ogoniland to save the lives of the people.
“It all boils down to the kind of unfair system we run in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is planning a $2 billion refinery in Katsina when Ogoni people are dying.
“This same political will dissipated on the Niger-Katsina project should be dissipated too on the clean up of Ogoniland.
“The government has not committed any fund to Ogoniland rather they are spending money in the North East and now on Katsina refinery. We expect this government to make Ogoni clean up a priority because people are dying,” Nsuke stated.