Lagos - A former Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Mr Chris Omeben, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the clampdown on illegal refineries in the Niger Delta and harness the talents of the refinery operators to the benefit of the nation.
Omeben made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos as he commemorated his 80th birthday.
"I want President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the destruction of illegal refineries in the riverine states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta.
"Burning these refineries is not adding to the growth of the economy. The technological blueprint could be adopted to solve the problems of our refineries.
"The situation is similar to the civil war days. The Biafran engineers were able to set up a refinery from which they had their supply of petroleum products to power their vehicles.
"The Biafran engineers were also able to improvise weapons locally with which they prosecuted the civil war.
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"Although these fizzled out after the war but the Bafiarans utilised them effectively,’’ the former police chief said, explaining that the skills of the people who refined crude during the war could still be exploited for nation growth.
Omeben, who is now Archbishop of the Jesus Families Ministries Church in Iyana Ipaja, near Lagos, also advised the president to assemble the best brains in all the sectors to drive the efforts at diversifying the economy.
"Gather them together and make use of them for the country’s technological growth to be well grounded.
"The Buhari-led government should ensure that it diversifies from oil to other mineral deposits, particularly agriculture,’’ he told NAN.
The former top cop also canvassed the development of the health sector to cut down on the number of people, embarking on medical tourism to other climes.
He argued that doing so would not only save the country a huge foreign exchange but would also increase revenue accruing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by attracting foreign medical tourists.
Omeben, similarly, advised the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, to review the recruitment process into the police to watch the characters being engaged.
He said that deviants recruited into the police were those giving the force bad image through their misconduct.
"The I-G must know that how one gets into an office determines how he or she will perform.
"If, for instance, politicians spend money to win elections, they must surely want to recoup it,’’ he said.
Omeben said that the I-G should also ensure that no police officer stayed for more that 18 months in an area if the war against crime in the country would be won.
"I want to also advise the Lagos State government to fix the roads within its jurisdiction and to stop hawking on the highways to curb incessant robbery in gridlocks,’’ he said.