The national coordinator of center for environmental peace and justice (CEPEJ), Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has pleaded with local refinery operators in the Niger-Delta region not to engage in illegal oil bunkering as a means of livelihood.
He revealed that CEPEJ was coming up with oil and gas integration programmes to harness the talent of refining crude oil products locally into legal oil and gas business venture for sustenance.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Comrade Mulade noted that some youths in the Niger-Delta region may have engaged in the illegal oil bunkering due to the bad economy and high rate of unemployment in the country, but lamented that such risky venture has led to loss of many lives as a result of fire outbreak, abandonment of farmlands destroyed by oil spillage and fishing which initially serve as their sources of income and sustenance.
He further noted that there are numerous disadvantages of local crude oil refining which include exposure of the region and the people to the dangers of food scarcity, shortfall in budget, release of toxic gases and harmful substance that causes air and water pollution.
Mulade called on the federal government, oil companies, civil society groups, community leaders and stake holders to help the situation by supporting the upcoming oil and gas integration programme to train youths and women in the Niger-Delta and provide a means of starting oil and gas investment and business legally.
He explained that “The programme will be comprehensive as trainees will be empowered with company registration with corporate affairs commission (CAC), department of petroleum resources (DPR) and they will be guided on how to become contractors, vendors and trade partners to National Nigeria Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), Refining and Petrochemical companies, (RPC) and International NGOs. This will help to reduce the activities of illegal oil bunkering and improve the economy of the country.”
He added: “The solution to the problem is education, orientation, information and integration, it is pertinent to note that from analysis in some of the Niger-Delta states, there is reduced farming and fishing practices due to adverse effect of the illegal oil bunkering which has destroyed the ecosystem that sustains the people hence there is need to remediate the environment and educate the people.
“CEPEJ is making all necessary arrangements to commerce Oil and Gas orientation and integration Programmes across the Niger-Delta, the programme is aimed at training and integrating Youths from the region into the lucrative oil and gas industry”, he posited