—ONYEGBULA, Martins Chinumedi & OHAKA, Nyeche Christopher

Sequel to the news making rounds on all the social media platforms recently concerning the interception of a newly constructed artisanal petroleum refinery in Rivers State by a council boss Dr. Chidi Llyod, the need for me to cast my pen scrupulously on paper becomes incredibly momentous considering how pivotal the issue is to societal well-being and development.

This interception which had come few days after the governor of Rivers State in a media broadcast, gave a matching order to all the affected Council bosses and security agencies to address the situation in their respective areas and divisions. However, this matching orders from the governor and the attendant actions by the various Council bosses have not failed to attract copious mixed reactions from the masses including those in diaspora.

But, amidst these reactions, it is also imperative to require some of these wailers demanding the immediate prosecution of these illegal crude oil refiners when apprehended to draw a big wedge between the nefarious activities of some multinational oil companies and those doing the artisenal refining. No doubt, getting a fitting response to this issue will be in the affirmative. For me, their are no much disparities between both parties. Just that one have the approval from government to operate while the artisenal refiners are yet to get.

Dear government, instead of electing to destroy these business ventures, why not consider giving them the license to practice and establish an agency to regulate their modus operandi, membership and conduct while they pay task to the state accordingly?

Similarly, if we will be willing to be sincere, we can tell that the black soot and the polluted air that is ravaging Rivers State in this present millieu did not start with the Advent of artisenal refineries. It has been an issue ocasioned via the act of gas flaring by most multinational companies even with their modernised mechanisation. This was why the G-7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States ) passed a resolution that is geared towards reducing the usage of petroleum products in their Industries to a zero degree in 2050 with the core intent of rather opting for bio-fuel utilization. This was aimed at reducing emission that is perceived to be sucking life out of the ecosystem.

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Without much ado, in as much as I would not want to consciously berate, revile or excoriate Rivers State government for their firm resolve to bring to book those involved in artisenal refining within the state precincts, their is still the dire need to draw their attention on again to aphorism that postulates that ‘nothing is left of a man (including his morality and principles) when he is debilitately hungry and need to survive at all cost lest he dies’.

Categorically speaking and without mincing words, it should be explicitly mentioned that living in a state of penury is even more dissasstrous and infectious than the effects posed by Artisenal refining as poverty boldly attacks human dignity, perverts integrity and thwart a man’s sense of reasoning. Little wonder many youths have thrown caution to the wind and choose to embrace the hazardous consequences associated with artisenal refining much to their own peril.

It is pertinent for the government to approach this issue with all sense of care and meticulousness. For it is posited that ‘a bull’s run may likely not be sustained because the bear will always prepare to fight back’. If nothing is done to ameliorate the condition of some of these youths involved in the artisenal refining, they may retard back to taking arms and constitute nuisance to the state.

However, in the mixed of all these, one question quickly comes to our mind, which is; can the approval for the establishment of modular refineries compliment the heart-aching phenomenon of fuel scarcity which the nation appears to be wobbling over time?

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In reality, setting up modular refineries would have gone a longer way in abating this menace, serve as a beehive for gainful employment and as a beacon of sustainability for the nation at large.

To encapsulate, I admonish the Rivers State Governor and his council of gladiators to consider channeling same energy towards the creation of industries. Regrettably and sincerely speaking, this administration is nearing the completion of their tenure and we are still dangling with the colourless carrot of transformation especially in the areas of Industrialization, Agriculture and Employment. Obviously, creation of these and many more will help to clamp down the rate of crime and reduce unemployment to its barest minimum. This to me will be a more sustainable fight for the masses than the fight going on. How is a man who dies from soot different from a man who dies for the sake of poverty. That’s why it is said in common parlance: ‘All die na die’.

Thank you

_Ad Moltus Anos_


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