Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has explained that illegal refineries cannot be allowed to operate in Nigeria because their operators steal crude oil meant from the Nigerian State and degrade the environment with their activities.
Dogara, who was speaking at the investigative hearing of the Adhoc Committee on the Joint Task Force and Nigeria Agip Company in the Niger Delta, also added that illegal refineries are spill-overs of the activities of militancy in the Niger Delta Area allegedly due to joblessness, poverty and hunger.
The Speaker said, “Illegal oil refineries in Nigeria thrive on illegal oil bunkering, stolen crude oil, and vandalism of oil pipelines and other installations.
Without a doubt, these illegal oil operations are reprehensible and should not be condoned for a number of reasons: Firstly, it is improper for citizens to destroy oil installations in their bid to steal crude oil as feedstock for illegal refineries.
Secondly, it is most inappropriate for anybody, Nigerians or foreigners, to steal crude oil belonging to the Nigerian State with impunity. Thirdly, there are serious environmental issues involved, regardless of whether they dump the residue from the crude oil distillation process into the river or simply incinerate it.”
Dogara expressed condolences to the families of the 14 people that lost their lives on the 9th of July, 2015 at the site of the repair works of the Tebidaba Clough Creekline in Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, saying that “as representatives of the people, our hearts go out to them.”
The Speaker charged the committee members and stakeholders to participate in the hearing fully with the aim of contributing to the quality of legislation that will be passes by the House.
He also expressed confidence in the ability of members of the ad-hoc committee to rise to the occasion and deliver on this very important national assignment in the shortest possible time.