I’m just seeing a report on a so called illegal refinery operating in Obama Town, Oyigbo Local Government, Rivers State.
According to the writer, the refining of fuel, which takes place at night, has led to black soot all over the place during the day. I sympathise with the people of Obama and its environs over this, and I call for investigation of this matter by the authorities. That particular illegal refinery should be shut down if it has been endangering the health of the people as so described. No one should be allowed to be so callous as to endanger people’s health in the name of free enterprise.
However, let us look at the real cause of what is happening itself. The real cause is that the Federal Government has been slow to embrace the legalization and regulation of these mini refineries. So, the entrepreneur behind them are not held to account. The good eggs among them are victimised for the crimes of a few, and the bad eggs are allowed to call themselves entrepreneurs instead of callous shylocks or worse criminals.
I call on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to immediately institute a taskforce to fulfill his stated aim of legalizing, licensing and regulating the mini refineries. By December, we should not have any unlicensed refinery in Nigeria. That should be his aim.
Promising to legalize these mini refineries and then doing nothing about them afterward will look like a campaign promise and not a change of policy.