ADVOCACY CENTRE TRAINS ARTISANAL REFINERS IN OGONI AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES ON GUIDELINES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MODULAR REFINERIES
Over 50 artisanal refiners and those who are engaged in associated ancillary businesses in the value chain of illegal crude oil refining activities in Ogoni and surrounding communities were on Monday, November 16, 2020 trained by Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YAEC) on guidelines for the establishment of Modular Refineries as alternative means of livelihoods to disabuse their minds from re-pollution during Ogoni cleanup project being undertaken by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
The training workshop which held at City of Linus Hotel in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State was supported by supported by Global Greengrants Fund. It had artisanal refiners and those engaged in the illegal business value chain including women from the four Local Government Areas in Ogoni such as Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme as well of those from Ogu/Bolo, Andoni and Oyigbo Local Government Areas and surrounding communities trained and exposed to alternative means of livelihoods.
Earlier on October 31, 2020, the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface made a live appearance on a most-widely listened radio program in south-South Nigeria; Viewpoint on Silverbirds’ Rhythm, 93.7FM anchored by Segun Owolabi “to sensitize millions of people in Rivers and nearby States on the problems and environmental impacts of artisanal crude oil refining, propose alternative means of livelihoods for artisanal refiners in the Ogoni area and Rivers State that would disabuse their minds from re-pollution during the Ogoni/Niger Delta Clean-Up project to Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), the government and policymakers”.
In his address presented during the training workshop for artisanal refiners in Ogoni and surrounding communities, Fyneface Dumnamene thanked its partner, Global Greengrants fund for supporting the training workshops in 2017 and again in 2020. He also expressed appreciation to the teaming volunteers of Advocacy Centre under the auspices of one of its flagship projects, the “One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta” launched in 2019. According to him, the Youth Volunteers Network cuts across the nine States in the Niger Delta such as Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States of which many of those present are part of and working with Advocacy Centre in their communities and areas of residences as Human Rights Defenders; Environmental Justice Activists; Climate Change Campaigners; Peace and Community Development Advocates as well as Health Issues and Reporters of Corrupt Practices that impede development in the Niger Delta despite available and accruable resources.Mr. Fyneface recalled a November 28, 2017 training of artisanal crude oil refiners in Ogoni under the auspices of “Ogoni Ex-Artisanal Refiners Forum” with support from same GGF to sensitize Ogoni youths, men and women against environmental pollution as the Ogoni Cleanup project was about to start and how the training workshop gave birth to the “Platform for the Coordination of Niger Delta Artisanal Refiners for Modular Refineries” with the inauguration of Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface as the Regional Coordinator by a team from the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme led by Mr. Piriye Kyaramo with Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre as the coordinating organization.
Speaking further, Mr. Fyneface said “Today’s training of artisanal refiners in Ogoni and surrounding communities on guidelines for the establishment of modular refineries as alternative means of livelihood is conceived by Advocacy Centre and supported by Global Greengrants Fund, USA to achieve environment and communities free of pollution and to mobilize support for the smooth implementation of the Ogoni Cleanup Project being carried out by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) from stakeholders engagement perspectives to stop re-pollution from youths who are involved in acts of oil theft and artisanal refining during the Ogoni clean-up project. This training is also aimed at achieving environmental sustainability where the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers will thrive again in Ogoni by exposing artisanal refiners in the four local government areas: Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme as well as those in surrounding communities including Bolo, Ogu, Andoni, Oyigbo, etc to alternative means of livelihoods with focus on Modular Refineries being what the Federal Government has proposed as ways of addressing the problem of environmental pollution, oil theft and youth unemployment among others in the Niger Delta region. As organization that prioritizes youth empowerment and environmental sustainability among others we have been driving this process of achieving Modular Refineries for youths in the Niger Delta while mainstreaming renewable energy and other alternative means of livelihoods but this particular training is focused on guidelines for the establishment of Modular Refineries as a follow up to similar bigger trainings already organized in Bayelsa and Rivers State as a whole in October and December 2019 respectively”.
Speaking further, Mr. Fyneface also said “This project has three components. The first was the live appearance on radio program, Viewpoint on Rhythm, 93.7FM on Saturday, 13st October, 2020 “to sensitize millions of people in Rivers and nearby States on the problems and environmental impacts of artisanal crude oil refining, propose alternative means of livelihoods for artisanal refiners in the Ogoni area and Rivers State that would disabuse their minds from re-pollution during the Ogoni/Niger Delta Clean-Up project by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), the government and policymakers”. The second is the “Training of artisanal refiners in Ogoni and surrounding communities on guidelines for the establishment of Modular Refineries as alternative means of livelihoods to disabuse their minds from re-pollution during the Clean-up Project” held today, November 16 and next month of December we will carry out yet another program in this direction which would be the “Sensitization of artisanal refiners in Rivers State on “Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative–(PAGMI)” and press conference to demand for the establishment of “Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative-PACORDI” as a corresponding initiative for artisanal crude oil refiners in the Niger Delta for environmental sustainability”.
Furthermore, Advocacy Centre expressed appreciation to the interest being indicated by the Rivers State Government to provide alternative livelihoods for artisanal refiners in the State through Modular Refineries and urge the government to publish its roadmap and policy document on how it intends to actualize its aspirations on Modular Refineries for the youths. Adding that “as we push for alternative means of livelihoods for artisanal refiners in Ogoni and surrounding communities through Modular Refineries to disabuse their minds from re-pollution during Ogoni Cleanup project, we call on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to use part of the $10million in its coffers as budgeted in UNEP Report and provided by Joint Venture Partners prepare artisanal refiners in Ogoni and surrounding communities for Modular Refineries and provide them with other alternative employment opportunities to prevent re-pollution after cleanup. We also called on the Federal Government to keep faith with youths who are involved in artisanal refining in the Niger Delta by ensuring the actualization of its police on Modular Refineries for the youths in the region”. Finally, he urged the artisanal refiners “to continue staying out of the creeks for artisanal refining activities that contribute to environmental pollution while we work with you, the Federal and Rivers State Governments as well as other local and international development partners to bring you both Modular Refineries and other empowerment opportunities”.
In their various presentations at the event, coordinators of artisanal refiners for modular refineries as alternative means of livelihoods for environmental sustainability in communities gave updates on their registration progress while those who were yet to receive application forms for Cooperative Society formation and Membership requested for same from Advocacy Centre. In her presentation at the program, the Chairperson of Board of Trustees of Advocacy Centre, Roseline Omoji led participants through the organization’s background, social media handles and contact details to report issues as well as website where more information about the organization can be found.
The Executive Director of Advocacy Centre who also served as the resource person and trained the artisanal refiners on guidelines on the establishment of modular refineries exposed the participants to details of what it takes to establish a modular refiner. Issues about the types of licenses required, land mass required, cost of construction of a modular refinery, capacity, challenges of establishing a modular refinery, profit margin for the various modular refinery capacities and many others were explained.
The training workshop concluded with the presentation of certificate of participation to participants who expressed job for participation in the program and thanked GGF for the sponsorship. Media report about the program can be found https://sweetcrudereports.com/subsidize-modular-refinery-licenses-for-artisanal-refiners-yeac-tells-f/