Port Harcourt, Rivers State – In a heated exchange, the Labour Party and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have clashed over the reported ‘mechanical completion’ and ‘flare start-off’ of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest crude refinery in Nigeria. While the APC cautions against politicizing the issue, the Labour Party claims it is a deceptive move.
Last week, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, declared the near-completion of the Port Harcourt refinery, highlighting its combined refining capacity of 210,000 barrels per day. The refinery consists of a two-unit system, with the old plant producing 60,000 barrels per day and the new plant contributing 150,000 bpd.
However, the Labour Party disputes these claims. Chief Spokesman Yunusa Tanko, in an exclusive chat, alleged that the reported start-off of the plant was stage-managed to mislead the public. Tanko stated, “This particular gas flare in Port Harcourt refinery is a deceit. It is another lie to deceive the Nigerian people. If they are sure about the fact, let them prove us wrong.”
APC Fires Back At Labour Party, Stop Politicizing Every Issue
Reacting to the accusations, Nze Chidi Duru, Deputy National Organising Secretary of the APC, emphasized that the Port Harcourt refinery is a privately funded project led by Indorama Petrochemicals, not the Federal Government. Duru appealed for constructive criticisms from opposition parties and warned against playing politics with every issue.
“It (the refinery) is working and functional. But it has nothing to do with the government because it is a private sector-led initiative,” Duru stated. He added that if the refinery fails, it could damage the brand of those involved, emphasizing the need for responsible discourse.
As the controversy unfolds, the Nigerian public watches closely, hoping for clarity on the status of the Port Harcourt refinery and an end to the political sparring surrounding its rehabilitation.