The Niger Delta Nonviolence Agitators Forum (NDNAF) has said that the opposition to the Federal Government’s proposed $1.5bn for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is needless.
The National President of NDNAF, Mr. Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli, said this on Monday in Abuja at a news conference.
Minister of State Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, said in Abuja after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved $1.5bn for the rehabilitation of the refinery, which will be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months.
Ikuli, said that it is better to have the refinery rehabilitated due to the long-run benefit it would accrue to the country.
“The $1.5bn to be spent on the Port Harcourt refinery is a positive omen. It is sad development that we have this abundant crude oil that are shipped abroad and by the time they come, even the by-products are almost unaffordable for the ordinary. But by the time these refineries are working optimally, it would reduce the expenditure, especially in the midst of the harsh economic realities.
“This is a commendable one and with the Timipre Sylva that we know, he is a very careful person and I can assure Nigerians that the refinery would be up and running and we should believe in President Muhammadu Buhari to get things worked out for us,” he said.
This is as the forum leadership passed a vote of confidence on Chief Timipre Sylva for his positive giant strides and innovations in the petroleum sector that are under-reported
He also urged the minister, who was a former Governor of Bayelsa and incumbent state Governor Douye Diri, to shelf party differences of being in the APC and PDP respectively but rather work for the oil sector, the Niger Delta and the nation.
“We urged Chief Timipre Sylva and Governor Douye Diri to close rank and work for the betterment of the people, irrespective of their party differences,” Ikuli said.
He commended the minister for his giant strides and the innovations he has introduced in the petroleum sector that has not only ensured stability of the sector in the midst of global economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but has gone further to build trust and confidence among government and critical stakeholders.
He said, “It is also our imposed task to encourage very cordial working relationship between Niger Delta State Governments and the Federal Government. We have seen the positive impacts of such synergy in the North and South West and we believe it is one of the best ways to develop our richly blessed region.
“This is the first time since the inception of our contemporary democracy in 1999 that we have not heard or seen state governors and ministers from the south-south fighting dirty. This because of the high level of maturity and understanding exhibited by the governors who want our ministers to succeed in their assignments and also attract development to the region.”
He also said that since the appointment of Sylva, there have been drastic reduction of destruction and vandalization of oil facilities in the whole Niger Delta due to his proactive gesture in addressing critical issues which would have resulted to sabotage, beside the harmonious relationship the minister has built between the Federal Government, oil multinationals and oil producing communities.