June 23, 2024
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Nigeria and Illegal Refineries, Experts Suggest Ways to Tackle Menace

For decades, Nigeria has suffered revenue losses as a result of illegal refineries. In view of this, experts have suggested the need to amend the Petroleum Industry Act to include provisions such as the criminalization of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism with severe punishments as ways to reduce the problem.

The recommendations were made in a recently published research work in MDPI, publisher of peer-reviewed articles based in Basel, Switzerland by energy and legal experts at the Afe Babalola University in Ekiti State, Southwest Nigeria.

According to the experts who are Olusola Joshua Olujobi, Elizabeta Smaranda Olarinde, and Tunde Ebenezer Yebisi of the Department of Public and International Law of the university, illegal refineries have not only harmed the nation’s economy, but also its environment.

“Since illegal refining activities in the oil-bearing areas are challenging and represent a threat to Nigeria’s economy and ecosystem, there is an urgent need for robust legal reform to guarantee energy security and sustainability,” the authors said.

According to reports, over 25 people died last Sunday as a result of an explosion in one illegal refinery in Rivers state. This is just one of the many explosions that the country has recorded in different states across the Niger Delta.Many families and communities have been left in pain as a result of explosions.

The security forces of the country are reported to have destroyed hundreds of illegal refineries.Millions of barrels of crude oil have been destroyed in the process.

In November 2023, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said that the country lost N16.25 trillion to a combination of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and some other underhand tactics by players in the oil and gas sector.

There is a need for a provision in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), to criminalise illegal refineries, pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in Nigeria. There is need to review the penalties for this offence, the experts say.






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