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Ordinarily, this shouldnt have been something to write about considering that we have government with a pool of aides and advisers. However, it is clear that this type of commonsense advice has eluded them over the years. Previous governments have demonstrated nothing but weakness in this regard. This has to do with the indigenous technology called ‘illegal refineries’ in the Niger Delta region.

I have observed with regret that almost every report about this indigenous technology has been to demonize this innovation which is a home grown concept of reducing the shame we face as an oil producing nation that spend greater proportion of its budget on importing a product it has in abundance. I have read stories by foreign and local analysts on this issue of these refineries. It is interesting to say that these analysts have rather focus on the environmental and economic implications of illegal activities. None could dwell on the implication to national development, should government fully adopt this technology.

Most pathetic is that these analysts and reporters do not channel such energy to inform the world concerning the damages that have been caused by the activities of Multinational Oil Companies (MNOC), who have neglected their responsibilities in the region. These international news networks have failed to report these damages of oil spillages which have destroyed the biodiversity of the Niger Delta region. They have not done this because it is in their interest that we continue to import refined petroleum products. Therefore, they have only concentrated on demonizing this indigenous technology. That draws attention to the question of national interest and the economic conspiracy against the Nigerian state. These conspirators who have local collaborators in the oil sectors and even in government can be defeated.

I do not wish to use this platform to celebrate the illegal activities of those who engage in oil theft, but to celebrate the brains behind the discovery of the indigenous technology which the Nigerian government is yet to take control and ownership. Yet we have fuel scarcity all over the country as a result of the fact that the existing four refineries are not operating in full capacity. Yet we budget and pay hugely on subsidy for imported petroleum products. When to build an indigenous technology refinery will only cost nothing.

In 2013, it was reported that the Nigerian Army’s Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta destroyed 1951 illegal oil refineries. That was only in 2013, then what 2014. And now we are already being told the hundreds that have so far been destroyed in 2015. These were built by artisans with little resources and within few months. So you would ask; what stops the government from adopting the idea of indigenous refineries that are rampant in the Niger Delta region.

This also affects other areas of mining sectors in the country. From the north to the south, we have local technologies that are being used explore resources such as coal, tin, lead, columbites, gold etc. And if these indigenous innovations are properly harnessed, they can leverage our economy.

Therefore, if other governments have failed, this is one task before the incoming government of President Muhammadu Buhari who has promised creates million of jobs. He should take this seriously. Although, I know he is not new to establishing refinery, but then let him critically look into this. Surely with this, we can resolve the embarrassment called fuel scarcity. Let Buhari build them and let them be called Buharefinery.

Jefia Dede is a columnist for Secrets Reporters

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