•Petroleum Resources Minister, Dr Ibe Kachikwu
The Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said on Thursday the ministry had received applications to operate seven modular refineries in Edo.
He said three of the applications were already in approval stage.
The minister disclosed this at the Stakeholders Engagement and Enlightenment Campaign in Niger Delta states, organised by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in collaboration with the Edo Government in Benin.
Kachikwu said the Federal Government was working to bring development to the Niger Delta region through establishment of modular refineries initiative, gas flare commercialisation programmes and collaborations with the Niger Delta region in the Amnesty programme.
He said establishment of the refineries was private sector driven and the designs, analysis and engineering work for three of the refineries had been done.
Kachikwu commended the oil producing communities in Edo for being peaceful and urged them to continue to tow the line of peace to allow for development in the communities.
He announced the setting up of a committee, to be headed by the Secretary to the Edo Government Mr Osarodion Ogie, to identify development needs and work to address them within a specific timeline in the state.
He said the committee was made up of representatives of the federal and state governments, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and security agencies
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo called on the NDDC, established by the Federal Government to fast track development in the Niger Delta region, to live up to its responsibilities in the state.
Obaseki expressed displeasure that the commission had, over the years, failed to fulfill its mandate in the state, adding that it had also failed to sign an MoU with the state to reconstruct the Benin-Abraka Express Road.
The governor called for extension of the Amnesty programme to the state and a yearly stakeholders’ meeting, to encourage development in the state.
“Oil is located in 33 communities in three local government councils in the state namely, Ovia North East, Orhionmwon and Ikpoba Okha.
“We want to organise the oil producing LGAs into clusters and work with Federal Government to help us with the physical planning and gap analysis to evaluate progress of development in the councils,” the governor said.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Usani Uguru Usani, said the meeting was to sensitise and create awareness of the on-going Federal Government’s initiative in the region.
Usani said the Federal Government was reviewing the Amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region to capture those who were left out of the scheme.
Present at the meeting were delegates from the three oil producing local councils in the state, who called for provisions of health care centres, modular refineries, road construction and infrastructure needs. (NAN)