…Said the statement ought to be ‘release,’ not ‘approval’
…That it only smacks of election transition period politics
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Governor of oil-rich Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has berated the Nigerian federal government’s recent approval of $1.5 billion to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt Refinery, the country’s biggest refiner with combined 210,000 barrels per day capacity.
The Port Harcourt combined capacity refinery: old and new, like its two corresponding refiners – Warri and Kaduna – had remained comatose for about three years, producing not a single barrel of crude oil.
According to Wike, in a television interview, said the federal government’s statement smacks of fleeting political speech often made during election transition period. According to him, the statement ought to be ‘release of $1.5bn,’ not ‘approval,’ which may never be released.
“There is really nothing to jubilate about the approval, because similar promises had been made in the past, particularly during election transition period that never materialised,” the Rivers governor said.
He said pointedly that the people ought to bear in mind that there is a difference between mere approval and actual release of the $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation.
“I am not going to jubilate, because the Federal Government said they have approved $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery. But let us wait and see the outcome of it at the end of the day,” Wike challenged the central government.
He described as unacceptable, a situation where all the refineries in the Niger Delta region, which is the hub of the oil and gas industry are not functioning.
“We have had these promises, and nothing has happened. I don’t want to start to sing hallelujah. Let us wait and see based on the approval and the statement made by the Minister of State for Petroleum. We will hold him accountable to it.”
The Rivers governor reminded the APC led federal government which had promised on assuming office in 2015 that it would fix the refineries.
“I wonder how a government which now has barely two years to the end of its tenure, can fix the refineries it neglected since 2015. They said, ‘Nigerians if you give us (APC) the opportunity to remove this (PDP) government that told you the refinery will work, we are going to make the refinery work. And since 2015, the refinery has not worked. Now we are going to the next transition, you are now coming to tell Nigerians you have made this approval; the same thing in Ogoni clean-up. It has always come up when we are going for election,” Wike.
The governor stressed that ahead of 2023 politics, so many promises and approvals will be made by the APC led government to hoodwink gullible Nigerians that the country is being taken to Eldorado.