Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) has trained youths involved in acts of oil theft and illegal crude oil refining in Bayela State on alternative means of livelihoods. The event which held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Monday, October 7, 2019 had crude oil refiners and traders including women from communities in Bayelsa State as well as members of civil society organizations and the media in attendance.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Comrade Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface said the program is organized in partnership with Society for Women and Youths Affairs (SWAYA) with funding support from Development and Peace, Canada. Mr. Fyneface further stated that “the project being implemented for which we are here is titled “Youths Training on conflict resolution and alternative livelihood through modular refineries for environmental sustainability in the Niger Delta” adding that the training today would be replicated in Rivers State for youths involved in artisanal refining.

(Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, Executive Director, Advocacy Centre making opening speech at the training workshop)

Mr. Fyneface who is also the facilitator of platform for the coordination of Niger Delta Ex-artisanal Refiners with a view of preparing them to benefit from the modular refineries promised by the Federal Government as well as other alternative livelihood sources for environmental sustainability in the Niger Delta told the participants in his speech that the objective of the training is to “make youths involved in acts of artisanal refining that causes environmental pollution to have alternative means of livelihoods through renewable energy and modular refineries and to prepare the youths for the modular refinery proposed by the federal government through the Acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo during his tour of the Niger Delta region in 2017”. He urged the youths to “stop acts of artisanal refining that contributes to the environmental pollution in the Niger Delta”

(Mr. Bariture Rogers Kanee training the participants on Modular Refinery)

In his presentation, the resource person on Modular Refinery, Mr. Bariture Rogers Kanee trained the artisanal crude oil refiners on “Guidelines for the establishment of Modular Refineries”. Mr. Rogers who was the Special Assistant to the immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Roseline Konya and part of those who carry out the research and produce report on Black Soot in the State trained the students on ways of establishing modular refineries to carry out their chosen businesses in a legal and decent manner without contributing to environmental pollution which he said formed about 40% of the black soot sources in Rivers State and by extension, the Niger Delta according to the 2019 report on Black Soot. Mr. Rogers taught the participants about key concepts in Modular Refinery, the problem of establishing modular refinery in Nigeria, modular refiner establishment processes and approval protocol including license to establish (LTE), approval to construct (ATC) and License to operate (LTO). Mr. Rogers further sensitized the illegal refiners on validity of approving modular refineries, challenges in establishing modular refineries in Nigeria as well as the opportunities that abound in the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta among others.

Similarly, a female lecturer in the department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, University of Port Harcourt and training consultant to Advocacy Centre, Ms. Josephine Ukamadu trained the training the artisanal crude oil refiners on renewable energy as alternative means of livelihood. Ms. Josephine in her presentation acknowledged the fact that Nigeria is rich in high quality natural resources including crude oil, natural gas and coal. However, Josephine said the country’s continuous dependent on these energy sources when there is a worldwide consciousness of the phenomenon of climate change would not take the country anywhere. Ms. Josephine in her training therefore called for Nigeria to develop a more sustainable energy system to cater for development, growth and sustainable energy needs of Nigerians.

(Ms. Josephine Ukamadu training the participants on Renewable Energy)

She therefore recommend, train and create awareness to the artisanal crude oil refiners on renewable energy sources including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric energy, Wave energy, Tidal energy, Biomas energy and Biofuel as possible renewable energy sources that if developed by the government can provide alternative sources of livelihood/jobs for youths involved in oil theft and artisanal refining.

Interacting during the training and sensitization sessions, the artisanal refiners who were all dressed in customized T-Shirts with the inscription “I SUPPORT MODULAR REINERIES FOR ARTISANAL REFINERS” courtesy of training organizers called on the Federal Government to establish modular refineries for them as they are ready to stop illegal activities and embrace legal refining and contribute to the energy needs of the Niger Delta people.

(A female participant sharing experience on how artisanal refining activities affect women)

Sharing experience at the event, a former artisanal refiner who attended from Warri, Delta State said he has started the process of establishing his modular refinery in partnership with others and some foreign funding partners but however said both the local and state government have so far failed to play their roles in the process leading to stagnation in the establishment process.

(A Southern Ijaw Youth Leader Sharing experience on negative impact of artisanal refining in the area)

Other participants especially women called for further training on Biomas and Biofuel to enable them practicalize the construction and usage of these renewable energy source. The women added that in the absence of government supplied kerosene made them depend on kerosene from artisanal refining sources which dangerous and causes fire in their homes thus, would prefer Biogas and Biofuel as alternative. Hence the need for Advocacy Centre to provide practical training for them as soon as possible, a request that the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre granted, subject to funding support. Certificates of participation were presented to participants at the end of the training.

Certificates of participation were presented to participants at the end of the training.

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