Poised to take the opportunity of the interest by the Federal Government to legalise modular refineries within the Niger Delta region, leaders of Gbaramatu Kingdom, on Thursday visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the prospect of actualising the administration’s resolve expected to reduce socio-economic unrest in the oil rich region.
Representatives of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, led by Bolowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Wellington Okrika, came with a group of prospective U.S investors in a 20,000 barrels per day, Gbaramatu Modular Refinery project within the community under the aegis of the “Oil and Gas Producing Trust Fund.”
While expressing the kingdom’s appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the visit by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief Okrika, restated the community’s commitment to actualising the project which he noted would bring about lasting peace and stability to the region.
The Vice President urged the visitors to ensure that the planned modular refinery are profitable and realistic to address critical issues bothering on the development of the region on a sustainable basis, expressing the Federal Government’s commitment to addressing challenges in the region in a comprehensive manner.
For him, “there are several things that we are working on now on the modular refineries and what government’s own participation is all about.
“We are also trying to work out a template for implementing this decision on modular refineries.
“But we must also structure this in a way that works for business or structure it in a way that is realistic and works, otherwise it would not last…it is a business proposition first and foremost, it must make sense.”
He said the Buhari administration is committed to looking “at how we deal with the issues concerning the Niger Delta as enshrined in our new vision for the region.
“It is a long term commitment that is why we are looking at projects that will benefit the people of the region and the country at large,” he added, commending the community for taking the initiative to support government’s actualisation of a plan for the region.
“It should be one of the models of what we will be doing in the future,” he stressed further.
Meanwhile, the Presidency, also on Thursday said states within the oil area are now interest in partnering the Federal Government and private Sector to develop the modular refinery concept recently approved as a panacea to illegal refineries scattered across communities along the creeks.
A statement by Laolu Akande, spokesman to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the inter-ministerial committee on the Niger Delta held on Thursday morning to discuss the matter.
Under the plan being developed for the region, communities would work with their respective state, Federal Government and Private Sector operators to fashion a template for establishing the modular refineries in the various communities. The new thinking is expected to enhance job creation and economic activities in the rural communities, while tackling the twin problems of social unrest, kidnapping and pipeline vandalism that has resulted in huge economic loss to the country.
Speaking at the inter-ministerial meeting, the second of such in the past few weeks working out how best to establish the modular refineries, Osinbajo said “there is a way out of violent agitation, but it is by creating opportunities and the environment where the people in the communities can benefit.
“We will engage them on the basis of trust, we must prove to them that we are trust-worthy,” he told the gathering, which also included Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuoro; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uhuru; Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; and Environment Minister of State, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
Nsima Ekere, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of NIMASA; and head of the Amnesty Office, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), were also in attendance.
Other issues discussed at the meeting included developments on plans for the Maritime University, update on contractors in the Niger Delta region returning to site and Amnesty issues.