Ijaws youths reject FG proposal on modular refinery
…Renews 90-day ultimatum to IOCs to relocate to Niger Delta
From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ijaw youths, under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), have rejected the proposal by the Federal Government to have two modular refineries in the Niger Delta states.
The IYC also renewed its ultimatum of 90 days, beginning July 12 to International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate to the Niger Delta region or face dire consequences.
National President of IYC, Mr. Oweilaemi Roland Peretubo, in a press conference he addressed, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, said having just two modular refineries in the Niger Delta states would defeat the purpose of the establishment of the modular refinery as it would not be able to curb oil theft.
According to him, only the participation of Ijaw people and other Niger Deltans that could make the policy succeed.
Said he, “While we commend the Federal Government for its effort to site moudular refineries in the Niger Delta, we reject the proposal of only two of such refineries in each of the Niger Delta states. Our rejection is due to the fact that we consider that number too grossly inadequate in achieving the government’s advertised objective of stopping oil theft and illegal oil refining in the region.
“We believe that the government’s objective could only be achieved by the creation of an environment that guarantees the inclusive participation of the Ijaw and Niger Deltans in the oil industry and ownership of oil blocs” he said
Peretubo, who declined to state the action, the Ijaw youths would take at the expiration of the ultimatum condemned what it called the demilitarisation of the Niger Delta region.
Rather, he said the Federal Government should focus on the industrialisation of the region so as to douse the tension generated by the deployment of security personnel to the region.
He continued, “ You are aware that not long, the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo asked all IOCs to relocate their headquarters to the Niger Delta region but as we speak the companies have refused to obey that Presidential pronouncement.
“We are pained by this. More so, the ground for their refusal for relocation to the Niger Delta is unclear and untenable. We want to state categorically that irrespective of some of the few security challenges, this region is the safest in the country today. There is nowhere in the country that there are no pockets of criminal activities.
“We therefore once again call on the companies to as a matter of urgency to return to the Niger Delta region for the interest of all stakeholders.. We cannot continue to pay the price of having our land suffer from oil exploitation activities while other states benefit from the taxes that are due us. We hereby give them 90 days beginning from July 12 to heed our call. After the expiration of the 90days we are going to take our action.”