March 28, 2023

The House of Representatives has called for investigation of the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region, especially with the alleged involvement of men of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, among others.

At the plenary on Tuesday, the House specifically asked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, and heads of other relevant security agencies to “immediately clampdown on the activities of these illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region of the country and prosecute those found culpable.”

The House also asked the Federal Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Environment to “urgently develop and implement modalities to clear off the soot currently experienced in Rivers State and other parts of the Niger Delta region.”

The House further mandated its Committees on Police Affairs, Navy, Army, Defense and Interior to “investigate the alleged involvement of security agencies in the illegal oil refining in the Niger Delta region of the country.”

In addition, the House urged the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to grant licences for the establishment of modular refineries and support their establishment while asking that the existing licences for modular refineries should be reviewed to enable either cancellation or renewal or additional licences.

The House mandated its Committees on Host Communities and Downstream to ensure compliance with the last resolution.

Both joint panels are to report back to the House within six weeks.

The House passed these resolutions based on a motion of urgent public importance moved by the lawmaker representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency in Akwa Ibom, Unyime Idem, titled, ‘The Urgent Need to Curb the Activities of Illegal Crude Oil Refineries in the Niger Delta Region to End the Soot Currently Experienced in the Region.’

Moving the motion, Idem noted that Section 44(3) and Item 39 Schedule II of the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution vest the control and management of natural resources and hydrocarbon operations on the Federal Government for the common good and benefit of the citizens.

The Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi, has expressed shock and dismay over the allegations levelled against the anti-vandal unit of Rivers State Command of the NSCDC by Governor Nyesom Wike.

Wike had accused the NSCDC unit and police of aiding and abetting vandals and illegal bunkers to carry out their nefarious activities in the state, urging the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, to redeploy out of the state, a particular Divisional Police Officer in Emohua Local Government Area operating an illegal refinery in the area.

“It’s unfortunate for this country how security people will be involved in illegal bunkering. I can’t believe it. Mr CP, I thank you for transferring the DPO from Rumuji who owns a refinery. But the man must leave here, not be transferred. He must leave this state,” the governor had partly said.

The CG of the NSCDC had subsequently ordered the suspension of the head of the anti-vandal team and the disbandment of the unit.

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