Ex-artisanal crude oil refiners’ protest: Address demands, NGO urges FG 

Artisanal refining of crude oil involves a simple technology employing a local distillery method and subjecting the distilleries to heat from an open fire to yield refined diesel, petrol, and kerosene.

Ex-artisanal crude oil refiners, protest, Address demands, NGO urges FG 

Ex-artisanal crude oil refiners, protest, address demands, ngo urges fg The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria), a Non-governmental organization (NGO), has urged the Federal Government to address demands by ex-artisanal refiners on the war against artisanal refineries in Niger Deita.

The Executive Director of the YEAC-Nigeria, Mr Fyneface Dumnamene, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Dumnamene said that the demands included issuance of 18 modular refinery licenses, adding that three per state have already been approved by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

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He said that the states were Akwa-lbom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Edo States while Abia, Imo and Ondo States were excluded, and this would have brought the total to 27.

He said that other demands involved approval for immediate establishment of the “Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative (PACORDI).

He said these proposals were made by the YEAC-Nigeria on July 27, 2020, to mitigate crude oil theft.

He added that the mitigation would be through innovation and integration of artisanal refineries into the national economy, as an alternative livelihood opportunity for artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta.

The executive director said that the ex-artisanal refiners were planning to commence a mass protest if the government refuses to meet their demands.

He added that the demonstration would be through the leadership of the modular refinery multi-purpose cooperative societies.

He added that the NGO has alerted the public about the ex-artisanal refiners’ planned demonstration across the Niger Delta.

According to him, “we are urging the Federal Government to nip it in the bud, by addressing the ex-refiners’ demands within the shortest possible time.

“YEAC-Nigeria was incorporated to, among other things, campaign against crude oil theft,” he said, indicating that pollution has been at the forefront of sensitising and proposing alternative livelihood opportunities for artisanal refiners as crude oil theft mitigation mechanisms.

“Our organisation shared intelligence with the Federal Government to address the issues with a view to averting the impending spontaneous mass demonstration.

“The demonstration can complicate the unrest in parts of the country over the high cost of living as displaced thousands of people were from the entire value chain of artisanal refineries.

“The YEAC-Nigeria has asked the ex-refiners to halt the move as the NGO is planning to write and inform the government on their behalf to address their demands.

“This has been successfully accomplished with a letter, dated Jan. 30, submitted to President, Bola Tinubu, on Feb. 1, 2024.

“The ex-artisanal refiners were displaced by both the joint military taskforce and pipeline surveillance contractors on war against artisanal refineries in the region.”

Dumnamene said that the essence of the protest was also based on what was described as “difficulties, hardship, and hunger”, coupled with the current worsening economic situation in the country.

He said that the displacement had made the ex-artisanal refiners unable to take care of their families.

The executive director said the organisation has informed the Inspector General of Police, Department of State Services (DSS), National Security Adviser and Chief of Army Staff, about the protest in separate letters.

The essence of the letters, he said, was for the security agencies to provide adequate security for the demonstrators which will take place after March 31, if their demands were not met.

“We are optimistic that the president will renew the hope of the ex-artisanal refiners under his “Renewed Hope Agenda” by addressing their demands.

“I am also calling on the youths to slow down on their ongoing mobilisation for the protest.”

Artisanal refining of crude oil involves a simple technology employing a local distillery method and subjecting the distilleries to heat from an open fire to yield refined diesel, petrol, and kerosene.