29 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – A group known as Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, YEAC, on Tuesday warned Ogoni youths engaged in illegal crude oil refining business to desist from that as it is capable of further contaminating the already polluted Ogoni environment.
The group gave the warning during a sensitisation and training of Niger Delta artisanal refiners under the auspices of Ogoni ex-Artisanal Refiners Forum, as a peace building mechanism in Nonwa, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Present at the event were Piriye Kiyaramo, Jimmy Iwezu and Jude Gbaboyor from the Presidential Amnesty Office for the inauguration of the regional platform for the coordination of ex-artisanal refiners.
The Executive Director of YEAC, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene, said the programme was imperative in order to give the ex-artisanal refiners the required skills to work effectively in the modular refineries that would soon spring up in the region.
Dumnamene maintained that it would not be appropriate for the environment to be re-polluted after the Federal Government must have finished the clean-up of Ogoniland.
He explained that for the project to be carried out effectively, activities that would further devastate the environment needed to be tamed, adding that there was need for all hands to be on deck for the success of the clean-up project.
According to him, “This programme is one of the several moves we have put in place to sensitise our people that the environment should not be polluted again. The youths should stop polluting the environment.
“We decided to put up this programme to get our youths who have stopped illegal refining prepared to work in the modular refineries.
“We are using this training to give them the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to function. We will continue to advocate for the government to recognise them.”
On his part, the Chairman of Ogoni Ex-Artisanal Refiners’ Forum, Mr. Cassidy Nbeera, disclosed that the group would take disciplinary measures against any member who returned to the creeks to continue with illegal refining of petroleum products.
Nbeera explained that he and his group had to discontinue illegal renning activities when they realised that their activities were polluting the environment.
“We have to follow the government when they asked to stop because we think they have good plans for us.
“We have at the moment decided the punishment we will carry out on any person we find refining oil illegally.
“But all we need now is empowerment to be able to sustains this training we have received,” he said.