Youths in the Niger Delta have criticised the concession of the Port Harcourt refinery, saying that stakeholders from the area were deprived ownership stakes.
The youths accused the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu of having concluded the concession exercise in such a way that the people of the area were excluded.
President of Pan Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum, PANDLEAF, Famous Daunemigha, and the Secretary, Michael Ekpo, said though the youths were not against privatization of the refinery as the only way to revive it, the refinery should not be sold without the involvement of the host communities.
In a statement issued Monday during a press briefing, the youths accused of Minister of State for Petroleum of double speaking on the issue.
He said, “Dr. Kachukwu came out to say they are not planning to concession the refinery but that they are looking for third party financier for re-building of the refinery to the tune of $1.2 billion. “We were shocked to hear him announcing sale of same refinery in disguise, playing on the semantics of concession to financiers, apparent euphemism for selling the refinery to Agip and Oando, which names have been favoured in an unpopular private bidding. It’s very unfortunate that our leaders speaks from both sides.”
“We shall resist any attempt at bringing any company (Oando and Agip inclusive) in the name of concessioning or third party financier in the business of rebuilding the Port-Harcourt Refinery without the inclusion of companies owned by persons from the Niger Delta.
“We have submitted a memorandum to the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on concessioning of refineries. We have put together a consortium of indigenous investors and corporations with necessary capacity and created a special purpose vehicle for putting together the $1.2 billion stated by Kachukwu and willing to present all relevant details if requested. “At this moment, people of the Niger Delta are more than capable of managing the refineries optimally. No external back-up, investor or financier is necessary. In the pursuit of peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta, these refineries should be given to our people to finance and run.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has suspended the concession of the Port Harcourt refinery.