YOUTHS and Environmental Advocacy Centre has warned artisanal refiners popularly known as illegal oil refiners to desist from activities that were capable of re-polluting the Ogoni environment.
The body which spoke on Friday at Nonwa in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State during a one-day Sensitisation and Training of Ex-Artisanal refiners in Ogoni, stated that the call was to have a successful remediation of Ogoni land.
Executive Director of YEAC, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene, noted that it would not be appropriate for the environment to be re-impacted after the Federal Government had finished the remediation.
Dumnamene said the training was organised to give the ex-artisanal refiners the required skills they need to be able to work effectively in the modular refineries that would be built in the region by the FG.
He said for the project to be carried out, activities that would devastate the environment needed to be tamed, adding that there was need for the success of the project.
He said, “This programme is one of the several moves we have put in place to sensitise our people that the environment should not be polluted again. People and the youths should stop polluting the environment.
“We decided to put up this programme to get our youths who have stopped illegal refining prepared to work in the modular refineries. We are using this training to give them the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to function. We will continue to advocate for the government to reorganise them.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ogoni Ex-Artisanal Refiners’ Forum, Mr. Cassidy Nbeera noted that his group was working out the appropriate disciplinary measure to be taken on any member who returned to refine petroleum product illegally.
Nbeera said, “We realised that our activities are polluting the environment; that was why we decided to stop. We have to follow the government when they asked us to stop because we think they have good plans for us.
“We have not at the moment decided the punishment we will carry out on any person we find refining oil illegally. All we need now is empowerment to be able to sustains these training we have received.”