Energy

Give us Port Harcourt refinery to manage, Niger delta group tells govt

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…Vows to resist third-party financiers for refinery

A Niger Delta advocacy group, the Pan-Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum, PANDLEAF, has urged the Federal Government to forget its plan to concession the Port Harcourt refinery to private organisations, but instead, allow it to be run by indigenes of the Niger Delta region.

The group, in a statement signed by its president and secretary, Mr. Famous Daunemigha and Michael Ekpo respectively, and promoted on its Twitter handle, vowed to resist third-party financiers for the refinery, adding that it had submitted a memorandum to the Senate on the planned concessioning of refinery.

“The other day the Minister of State (for Petroleum), Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu, came out to say they (government) are not planning to concession the refineries but that they are looking for third-party financier to finance the re-building of the refinery to the tune of 1.2 billion US dollars.

“We however wish to state, as a people, our rights to economic, social and cultural development as enshrine in the United Nations’ and African Union Charter. Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights provides that all shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regards to their freedom and identity and in equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind,” the group said in the statement.

PANDLEAF stated that Article 21 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, UNDRIP, maintains that indigenous people have the right to improve their economic and social well-being, and that government will take action to help them do so with particular attention to the rights of the indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disability.

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria has ratified the above character and declaration and thus forms the legal basis for our agitation,” it said, adding: “We shall resist any attempt at bringing any company in the name of concessioning, or as a third-party financier in the business of rebuilding the Port-Harcourt Refinery without the inclusion of companies owned by persons from the Niger Delta region.”

It disclosed that it had gotten together “a consortium of indigenous investors, financiers and corporations with the necessary resources, including capital, technical know-how, man power, and has created a special purpose vehicle (SPV)” for the purpose of putting together the $1.2 billion required by the government for the refinery.

It maintained at the moment, indigenous people of the Niger Delta region were capable of managing and running the refineries in the region optimally and that as such, no external investor or financier was required for them.

“We are of the firm view that in the pursuit of peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta, these refineries should be given to our people to finance and run,” the group said.

It further noted that Article 23 of the United Nations Development Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, UNDRIP, further states that indigenous people have the right to set their own priorities and directions for development of their communities, adding that government will support indigenous people to run their own organisation and services, and in deciding for themselves issues affecting their health, housing and other matters.

It called on the Federal Government to stand by these charter it has ratified and support the indigenous people of the Niger Delta by giving them the opportunity of financing and running the refineries.

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