Port Harcourt Refinery: Nigerians Need Explanation

portharcourt refinery

The lack of trust between citizens and the government of Nigeria has again been widened following the failure of the government to deliver on its promise concerning the Port Harcourt refinery.

Development Diaries reports that President Bola Tinubu, in August 2023 , promised that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operations by December 2023.

This was reiterated by the Minister of State Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, and also by the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari.


The federal government further announced that the facility commenced operations on Wednesday, 20 December, 2023, as the first phase of work at the plant had been completed.

Now, it is important that citizens are given an explanation on the recent update of the NNPCL seeking private companies for the operation and maintenance of the Port Harcourt refinery.

In December 2023, the government announced the ‘mechanical completion’ of the refinery, and many Nigerians are still wondering what that meant.

Lokpobiri raised the hopes of many when he said the Port Harcourt refinery would be ready by the end of 2023.

What Nigerians were not informed of from the onset was that the reopening of the refinery would be in phases or that refining would not commence in December, as was made to believe.

The lack of transparent and inclusive governance processes continues to contribute to citizens feeling excluded from decision-making, deepening the divide between the government and the people.

The government had an opportunity to rebuild citizens’ trust once more, but alas, it missed another ‘golden’ opportunity.

When this happens consistently, citizens will become less interested in participating in governance, and with this, Nigeria’s drive to attain sustainable development will continue to be slippery.

Rebuilding trust will require sustained efforts to address corruption, promote transparency and accountability, and implement policies that genuinely prioritise the well-being of the population, fostering a sense of unity and shared progress.

Development Diaries calls on President Tinubu, minister Lokpobiri, and also the NNPCL GMD, Kyari, to explain to Nigerians in clear terms when the Port Harcourt refinery would actually resume oil refining.

Photo source: Heineken Lokpobiri


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