Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed doubts about the efficient operation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State, Nigeria, if it remains under government ownership.
He made these remarks during an interview with TheCable, emphasizing that the refineries would not function optimally under government control. Obasanjo also referred to a statement by Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who expressed optimism that the refineries would be operational by December.
President Tinubu’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Tope Ajayi, responded by stating that Obasanjo is not an engineer and therefore cannot make definitive statements about the refineries’ functionality.
Ajayi cited reports from engineers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) that suggest the Port Harcourt refinery will be operational by December 2023, following a contract agreement with the Italian firm Maire Tecnimont SpA.
The revival of the Port Harcourt refinery is expected to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on oil imports and foreign refineries, contributing to the nation’s energy independence.