By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT—Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area, Rivers State, has given a number of conditions to the Federal Government on the move to end oil bunkering in the area, demanding that the government should give the kingdom licence to operate a modular refinery.
Bille Kingdom made the demand, weekend, when the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, visited the area to interface with major stakeholders in Bille on the need to end illegal oil bunkering.
Speaking, Vice Chairman of Amanyanabo-in-Council, Bille, Dr. Ibitamino Minapakama, promised that the community would back the Federal Government to tackle the menace, but demanded that the community should be given licence to operate a modular refinery.
Minapakama said: “We are grateful that the Federal Government has come to see us. Poverty is one of the major problems we have in the Niger Delta. Anything you can do to assist our communities will be satisfactory. We the chiefs will help and assist our son you have appointed to champion this move to succeed.
“We have already applied to the Federal Government to give us a modular refinery to be sited in Bille community due to the facilities we have here. This area deserves a modular refinery. It must be sited in this place. We need reclamations and shore protection to be done for us.”
Meanwhile, Silver, who is the chairman of Oil and Gas Free Zone, said: “Today, I am here on one mission and one mission only. To pass a message. There is a serious problem in our area that has to do with the survival of our people and their future. It has to do with environment.
“God in his mercies gave us oil. We as a people have been complaining and I know it is true that the crude oil has not benefited us enough. But we have created problem with it for ourselves.
“There is what we call illegal bunkering. A lot of the waste that is produced is disposed into our environment and it is affecting the health of our people. We are here to beg you to help us end this problem.”