Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has commended President Muhammad Buhari for the award of operational licences to twenty-two firms for the construction of modular refineries in the country.
The Precision reports that the ex-president gave the commendation while performimg the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Azikel Refinery, the first private modular refinery in the oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region.
Though Dr Obasanjo has been critical of the president’s performance of late, he admitted that unlike the present administration, 18 of such licences were approved under his administration but they failed to actulise it.
“I have been told that President Buhari and his government gave 22 licences and Azikel Petroleum is the only license out of the 22 that is really actualized.
“Before then, we gave 18 and not one was actialized.They gave all manners of excuses including insecurity and oil prices. But those excuses they give are still there. But they were not genuine entrepreneurs. They were after collecting licenses to get crude oil. And that is why in an occasion like this we should pay special tribute to people like Eruani.
“I join you all in thanking President Buhari for giving four licences more than we gave. And he (Buhari) is lucky that he has a man like Eruani to be the only one to actualize”, he said.
He noted that out of the 22 licenced operators, Azikel Petroleum is the only company that had actualized its dream of establishing a modular refinery.
He also commended the Bayelsa State government under Governor Seriake Dickson for creating the enabling environment for the take-off of the modular refunery project.
The proposed Modular Refinery, which would be built and known as Azikel Refinery is owned by Azikel Petroleum, a subsidiary of Azikel Group of Companies with Azibapu Eruani, an indigene of Bayelsa as its Group President, is located at Obunagha community in Gbarain Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
The 12,000-barrels refinery is sitting on a 19.92 hectares of a swampy land that was reclaimed with over 2.7million cubic metres of sand, which dredging lasted nine months and It is expected that Azikel Refinery would come on stream in 2019.