Members of the House of Representatives have given a go-ahead to investigate the increase 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.
The house while having their plenary on Tuesday 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”.
Reps 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 demanded 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.”
The House in addition 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 examined to allow either cancellation or renewal or additional licences.
They also 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.
Idem who moved the notion 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.
He also noted that the economy of Nigeria has over the years been premeditated and dependent on oil from the Niger Delta region.
“The House is concerned that the Niger Delta region of the country has over the years been plagued by the activities of illegal oil refineries to the detriment of the lives of residents and the economy of the country. These activities have compounded the age-long problem of environmental pollution and degradation caused by the seismic and exploration activities of the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta; contributing to the dramatic changes in the weather pattern being experienced in the region.
The House is further concerned that these illegal activities have sabotaged the economic activities of residents of the area, caused severe health hazards on citizens, robbed the country of critical revenue, and aggravated the problem of pollution in the region.
The House is worried about the case of soot currently suffered by citizens and residents of Rivers State and the environs in the last three years, as a result of incomplete burning of organic matter by these illegal refiners.
The House is disappointed that some security agencies and some influential individuals have been alleged of complicity in the activities of these illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region of the country. The House is worried that if this trend continues unabated, the Niger Delta region will be at health risk and economic activities will crumble”.