Wike storms artisanal refinery sites on war against illegal bunkering

3 days ago 11

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has Thursday took a long tour from the state capital to forests of Ogbodo community in Ikwerre Local Government Area, and Ibaa community in Emohua Local Government Area, in an all-out war against the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the state.

The governor who made the tour in company with the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday and other security Chiefs took a long walk through track roads into the forest to uncover some crude oil illegal refining sites.

Speaking at one of the sites the Governor vowed not to spare anyone involved in the illegal bunkering and artisanal refinery activities that is aggravating the soot pollution in the state.

He stressed that his administration would not succumb to any form of blackmail or sentiment that will be stirred by those perpetrators in an attempt to frustrate efforts at curbing such hazardous business.

“They can’t be doing this and be killing my people. No reasonable government will allow that. And I can tell you with all due respect, we will take this matter very seriously.”

“Look at how, everyday, in your house, you see the soot. I mean, how can you allow that? So, this one that we can solve, we will solve it.

“We have assured the people of Rivers State, we will fight this matter to the last until I leave office.”

Governor Wike noted that confronting the cartels who are behind the business would not be easy saying that he now. considers it as a war-like situation and would fight it from the standpoint of the law.

According to the governor, “no matter how highly placed the perpetrators maybe, they will not be spared, but confronted, apprehended and be made to face the full force of the law”.

Wike therefore directed the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, to take over the case files of illegal crude oil refinery operators arrested by the police.

He stated “Attorney General, all these matters with the police, you have to retrieve the files so that you can prosecute the matters on our own. I don’t want any compromise anywhere.

“And then too, it will not be on the ministry. You have to constitute a legal team. Go and get our friends all over the country. So that we can execute this prosecution to the last.

“It is a serious matter. And I’m going to take it head-on. In fact, it is a war. It is not poor people doing this, they’re a cartel. You must go and arrest these people; Chief W. J. Wocha, you must arrest Fubara Ohaka, and chief Promise Ezekwe. You must arrest them.

“It doesn’t matter how highly placed you are. If you like to be the paramount ruler. In fact, any traditional ruler that is involved, pick him for me. Let him understand that the law does not respect anybody.”

He also directed the Emohua Council chairman, Dr Chidi Lloyd to locate residences where processed crude oil products are stored and let the people ascertain their sources stressing that the purpose of confronting this havoc is to ensure the health of Rivers people was not further hampered by those illegal refining activities.

“If not, our people will continue to die. Even you, you’re not safe from related sicknesses like cancer. All those products in the houses; You must go after them, they must tell you where they got the products. Enough is enough.

“Look at what is happening, they are dying. I want to live. So, we must stop these illegal refinery activities.

“And I have said to the Federal Government, if you’re not willing to do anything, don’t promise people anything. You told them that you will do something, how can you promise a modular refinery.

“What I’m talking about is the safety of Rivers people. That is more important to me.”

Explaining the ugly experience community people had suffered, the chairman of Emohua Local government area, Dr Chidi Lloyd noted that the problem of illegal refining activities in the area is beyond the capacity of the council to handle.

He wondered why the Federal Government which once promised to establish modular refineries in the Niger Delta region has reneged on that promise.

“Thank God for your boldness. Rivers people are now aware. On a daily basis, people roast and burn here. The whole Ibaa community has been taken over by this trade.

“And when you talk, they say look, if they don’t do this, they’ll go to the roads and begin to carry arms. And I say to them, you don’t dig a hole to cover another hole. Your business shouldn’t kill me.”

Earlier, the Ikwerre Local Government Chairman Hon. Samuel Nwanosike conducted the Governor around an illegal oil refining site at Ogbodo-Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area.

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