Imo explosion: Lawmaker makes case for modular refineries

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Uju Kingsley Chima, the member representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency has advocated for modular refineries as a panacea to the illegal refining of crude in the Niger Delta.

He disclosed this on Sunday at the scene of the explosion caused by operators of an illegal refinery, at Abaezi Forest, in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State.

Uju described the explosion as a National disaster which calls for mourning.

Speaking to newsmen, he said no business is worth the soul of anyone not to talk of over 100 persons, adding that it is time to access, look at the mistakes and work on them to avoid such a National tragedy.

“In the National Assembly, I have been an advocate of better welfare for the people of the oil-producing areas, I have moved bills and motions to that effect.

“There must be an end to this kind of disaster and this is not for National Assembly alone, there must be a collaborative effort from the 3 arms of the government; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

“I’m calling on stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and everyone, there must be a round table discussion to see to the end of such disaster,” he said.

Uju also called on the people of Ohaji/Egbema to always do a background check in whatever business they want to venture into.

According to him: “there are people who may not know the implications of what they are doing, they only saw a source of living in an illegal business.

“These people should be enlightened, we are not known for this, we are agrarian in nature, enterprising men and women.

“We shall come together and look for a way to reform the mindset of our youths, such act can’t define who we are….. We shall start looking for genuine sources of livelihood in Agriculture, commerce, SMEs and even in the oil and gas industry”.

On Modular Refineries, he said: “I have proposed for a modular refinery in time past, in my view, the best time for the modular refinery is now, we can engage those in charge of oil and gas in the up and downstream sectors to train our youths on this modular refinery in line with best global practices, it can go a long way in curbing such avoidable disaster”.

The lawmaker also extended his condolences to the people of Abaezi, Abacheke, Etekwuru and neighbouring communities in Rivers State like Okwizi, Agah, Mgbede, and all those whose families died in the explosion.