As burnt bodies remain ignored, Kingsley Uju-Chima (APC-Imo) has revived efforts for artisanal refineries to be integrated into the country’s oil and gas refining laws.
Mr. Uju-Chima, who represents the Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru Federal Constituency, said the proposed artisanal refinery might be a long-term solution to the problem of illegal oil bunkering.
Mr Uju-Chima, who expressed concern that several unidentified bodies remained in the region 48 hours after the event, urged the Imo administration to evacuate the bodies and fumigate the surroundings.
“We must, as a matter of urgency, evacuate these corpses so that the people alive will not be affected by the health hazard these decomposing bodies pose,” he added. “I am really pained and do not know why our people should be killed in this form because this is not our traditional means of livelihood. We have always survived through farming and fishing.”
The lawmaker made the call on Sunday following a visit to the site of Friday’s fire incident that killed over 100 people at an illegal bunkering site in his constituency.
“It is a national disaster which has put the entire community, local government area and constituency into a mourning mood. No amount of words will compensate for the situation I have seen here today,” said Mr Uju-Chima. “We have had a lot of bills and motions at the National Assembly in the past, and I have seen reason why we should take this more serious. I have seen reason why as Nigerians and people of oil-producing areas, we should have collaborative efforts to curb this menace of oil bunkering.”
He added, “Some time ago, I proposed artisanal refinery as a possible permanent solution to this menace. I know in the western world, they have grade A, grade B and grade C fuel, so if this illegal business could continue unabated despite security agents within this place, then we will try to see from the legislative sector whether we can have depots and artisanal refineries to put permanent stop to this menace.”
He called for a round table discussion among oil companies, community and religious leaders, youths and other stakeholders on the way forward.