The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, YEAC Nigeria has proffered solutions to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP on the re-pollution of Ogoniland through illegal oil bunkering activities and artisanal refineries.

YEAC Nigeria advised HYPREP to create a database for those involved in artisanal refining activities with the aim of providing them alternative livelihoods opportunities, partner with development agencies for modular refineries, support establishment of PACORDI, provide of electricity for entrepreneurship, empowerment, skills acquisition and scholarships.

Executive Director of YEAC Nigeria, Comrade Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, gave the advise during the sensitization of ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoniland against re-pollution organised by HYPREP in Mogho, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Fyneface in a presentation titled, ‘Alternative Livelihood Opportunities for ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoniland’ urged HYPREP to adopt, support, scale down and join to facilitate for ex-artisanal refiners and youths of Ogoni to prevent re-pollution and guarantee a sustainable clean-up process for the environmental restoration of Ogoniland.

He said the aimed was to sensitize artisanal and ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoni against involvement in acts of illegal refining that contributes to pollution and re-pollution as the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoni 2011 is ongoing.

The solutions are;

1. DATABASE CREATION: HYPREP needs to commence the process of providing sustainable alternative livelihood opportunities for artisanal and ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoni by having a database of those involved. To achieve this, HYPREP needs to partner with YEAC-Nigeria that created database of artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta including Ogoni area as flagged-off in Port Harcourt on December 10, 2019 as part of the process of recruiting volunteers using the short code: 33811 and the physical forms circulated in communities across the Niger Delta including Ogoni in 2020 for Modular Refineries. YEAC-Nigeria will work with HYPREP to extract records of artisanal refiners in Ogoni, update it and present for use to ease planning and implementation of opportunities for ex-artisanal refiners.

2. MODULAR REFINERY: In February 2017, the Federal Government through former Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo announced plans to establish modular refineries for artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta as alternative livelihood opportunities. As such, YEAC-Nigeria, registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CACc) on November 7, 2017 “to campaign against oil theft, artisanal refining and pollution” among others became the first organization to be so mandated by the government and on November 28, 2017, the organization and its Executive Director, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface were inaugurated by the Federal Government through the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme office at an event held at City of Linus Hotel, Tai LGA on November 28, 2017 as the
“National Facilitators of Project with Artisanal Crude Oil Refiners for Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta”. The Director who was also in Abuja-FCT demanding for the Modular Refineries Licenses for Artisanal Refineries has been working hard on this since 2017 as a frontline advocate, demanded and achieved the approval for three Modular Refinery licenses each for six states in the Niger Delta based on Senatorial Districts including Rivers State but except Imo and Abia States where artisanal refineries also happens aimed at serving as alternative livelihood opportunities. YEAC-Nigeria has also created and established three “Modular Refineries Multi-Purpose Corporative Ltd” in four States in the Niger Delta including Rivers State so far with that of Rivers South East Senatorial District that covers Ogoni area having its head office in Kpor, here in Gokana LGA with Mr. Charles Mbea as the President and I believe that some of you here do not only know about this but are members.

Between 2018 and 2019, many of you also attended capacity building training organized by YEAC-Nigeria in Rivers and Bayelsa States on “Guidelines for the establishment of Modular Refineries’ and were certificated for participation. So, HYPREP can key into this process for ex-artisanal refiners and youths of Ogoni by further training them, acquiring a modular refinery license, partner with local and international development partners of YEAC-Nigeria as well and, establish a Modular Refinery for Artisanal and Ex-Artisanal Refiners in Ogoniland as alternative livelihood opportunity within 24 months

3. PRESIDENTIAL ARTISANAL CRUDE OIL REFINING DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (PACORD): On July 27, 2020, the Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface conceived and publicized about PACORDI which proposes the innovation,
modernization, standardization, legalization and integration of artisanal refineries into the national economy as a corresponding organized crime mitigation mechanism for artisanal crude oil refiners in the Niger Delta like the illegal gold miners in parts of the North and Western Nigeria that the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) is established for them to mitigate organized crime in gold mining. Many of you have participated in the training on PACORDI and PAGMI including the one organized at City of Linus Hotel on November 16, 2020 and in YEAC-Nigeria’s office in Port Harcourt on December 20, 2020. Thus, HYPREP can key into this initiative and support its establishment to also benefit artisanal and ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoniland as an oil theft, artisanal refinery and re-pollution mitigation mechanism. This proposal is on the table of Mr. President (Bola Tinubu, GCFR) and it is part of what the YEAC-Nigeria’s Executive Director is in Abuja-FCT since Monday, September 18 till date, September 22, pushing after the National Conference on Organised Crime in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea of April 28, 2023 and Mr. President’s partial approval of PACORDI and a committee headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Gabriel Aduda set up on August 16, 2023 to review it and propose the way forward. HYPREP can work through its parent Ministry of Environment for the Honourable Minister to present this proposal to Mr. President in a memo to the Executive Council for establishment of PACORDI as alternative livelihood opportunity for artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta and Nigeria including Ogoni to prevent re-pollution for HYPREP’s ongoing Clean-Up started in Ogoni as a model for other communities in the Niger Delta to succeed.

4. BOOSTING OGONI LOCAL ECONOMY WITH SUSTAINABLE, STABLE AND UNINTERRUPTED ELECTRICITY: The provision of steady and uninterrupted electricity in Ogoniland can serve as an avenue to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for artisanal refiners in Ogoniland. With electricity in place, artisanal refiners chased by security operatives from the creeks would join their ex-artisanal counterpart to use the available and stable electricity to engage in alternative business opportunities that HYPREP can facilitate and fund for business start ups and entrepreneurships. Needless of stressing this point as HYPREP has commenced the process of powering Ogoni communities through the ongoing electrification project.

5. IDENTIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH SKILLS AND EMPOWERMENT FOR SELF EMPLOYMENT AND JOB CREATION: Through the database created, the skills and areas of competences of artisanal refiners can be identified, further developed and empowered by HYPREP for self-employment and job creation for other members of the Ogoni community to also benefit. This will boost the local economy through the value chains and disabuse the minds of the ex-artisanal refiners from returning to their old ways to re-pollute the Ogoni environment as the clean-up gathers more momentum with contracts awarded for some complex sites’ remediation.

6. FISH AND LIVESTOCK FARMING: With needs assessment carried out also following the created database of artisanal refiners in Ogoniland, some ex-artisanal refiners would prefer going into fish and livestock farming businesses. This has been experimented by CEHRD for artisanal refiners in Ogoni in 2020 with the setting up ofa model fish farm in Mogho community here and some of you in this hall benefitted from that project but which could not continue due some challenges. HYPREP can be guided to empower interested ex-artisanal refiners in fish and livestock farming business as alternative livelihood opportunities for ex-artisanal refiners in Ogoniland.

7. NATIONAL AND OVERSEAS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EX-ARTISANAL REFINERS WILLING TO RETURN TO CLASSROOM: Both artisanal and ex- artisanal refiners in Ogoni can be selected and given both national and overseas scholarships by HYPREP to study, improve their lives and stop artisanal refineries that contributes to re-pollution. YEAC-Nigeria believes that the intervention of HYPREP to stop re- pollution in Ogoni through alternative livelihood opportunities as recommended by UNEP Report is a form of amnesty for artisanal refiners and should be given priority attention for the Ogoni cleanup to succeed.

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