Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
if Nigeria must deal decisively with the recurrent fuel scarcity, unemployment and subsidy-backed importation of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), it must embrace more private refineries, the President, Azikel Refinery, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, has said.Azikel Refinery, a subsidiary of Azikel Group of Companies with Eruani, an indigene of Bayelsa as its group president, is located at Obunagha community in Gbarain Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
The 12,000-barrel refinery is sitting on 19.92 hectares of a swampy land that was reclaimed with over 2.7 million cubic metres of sand, which dredging lasted nine months.
Eruani expressed the hope that the refinery project would mitigate the frequent scarcity of petroleum products and curb youth restiveness in Bayelsa and in the Niger Delta.
He noted that some youths who would work at the facility were undergoing fabrication engineering training in the United States, adding that construction and production phases of the refinery project, which had attained 65 per cent completion, would provide about 1,000 jobs.
He said, “Our journey is one with a lot of interests and challenges. But our commitment to drive the industrialisation of the Niger Delta, and by extension Nigeria, is unwavering. For the first time, we will refine crude oil at home. This is the beginning of reversing the incessant scarcity of petroleum products.
“But more importantly, this will bring several businesses to Bayelsa and in the Niger Delta. We will put youths to work and we will be engaging communities. This will largely curb youth restiveness.”
He said prior to the groundbreaking ceremony of Azikel Refinery, performed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, there was no big signature investment in the region, noting that the refinery would signpost massive industrial activities in the Niger Delta.
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