Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on Thursday made an extensive tour from the state capital to Ogbodo Community Forests in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Ibaa Community in the Emohua Local Government Area, in an all-out war against the threat of illegal oil bunkering in the state.
The governor who made the tour along with Rivers State Police Commissioner, Eboka Friday and other security chiefs took a long walk through forest tracks to discover refinery sites illegal crude oil.
Speaking at one of the sites, the governor pledged not to spare anyone involved in the illegal bunkering and artisanal refining activities that are worsening soot pollution in the state.
He stressed that his administration would not succumb to any form of blackmail or sentiment that would be stirred up by these perpetrators in an attempt to thwart efforts to curb these dangerous activities.
“They can’t do this and kill my people. No reasonable government will allow it. And I can tell you with all due respect, we will take this matter very seriously.
“Look how, every day, in your house, you see the soot. I mean, how can you allow this? So whatever we can solve, we will solve.
“We have assured the people of Rivers State that we will fight this case to the end until I leave office.”
Gov. Wike noted that taking on the cartels that are behind the company would not be easy saying he is now. regards it as a warlike situation and would fight it from the point of view of the law.
According to the governor, “no matter how high the level of the perpetrators, they will not be spared, but confronted, apprehended and subjected to the full force of the law”.
Wike therefore ordered State Attorney General and Attorney General Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN to take over the files of the illegal crude oil refinery operators arrested by the police.
He said: “Attorney General, all these cases with the police, you have to get the files back so you can pursue the cases on our own. I don’t want any compromise anywhere.
“And then also, it will not be about the ministry. You need to build a legal team. Go get our friends all over the country. So that we can execute this pursuit to the last.
“It’s a serious matter. And I’m going to take it head-on. In fact, it’s a war. It’s not the poor doing this, it’s a cartel. You have to go and arrest these people; Chief WJ Wocha, you have to stop Fubara Ohaka and Chief Promise Ezekwe. You have to stop them.
“It doesn’t matter how well placed you are. If you like being the Supreme Ruler. In fact, any traditional ruler involved, choose him for me. Let him understand that the law respects no one.
He also ordered Emohua Council Chairman Dr. Chidi Lloyd to locate residences where processed crude oil products are stored and let people verify their sources, stressing that the purpose of dealing with this havoc is to to ensure that the health of the people of Rivers was not further harmed by these illegal refining activities.
“Otherwise our people will continue to die. Even you are not immune to related diseases like cancer. All these products in homes; You have to go after them, they have to tell you where they got the products. Enough is enough.
“Look what is happening, they are dying. I want to live. So we have to stop these illegal refining activities.
“And I said to the federal government, if you’re not prepared to do anything, don’t promise people anything. You told them you would do something, how can you promise a modular refinery.
“What I’m talking about is the safety of the people of Rivers. It’s more important to me.”
Explaining the ugly experience people in the community have endured, Emohua Local Government Area Chairman Dr. Chidi Lloyd noted that the problem of illegal refining activities in the area is beyond the council’s ability to to manage.
He wondered why the federal government that had once promised to establish modular refineries in the Niger Delta region reneged on that promise.
“Thank God for your boldness. Residents now know. On a daily basis, people roast and burn here. The entire Ibaa community has been invaded by this trade.
“And when you talk, they say look, if they don’t do that, they’ll go out on the roads and start carrying guns. And I tell them, you don’t dig a hole to cover another one. Your business shouldn’t kill me.
Earlier, the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike led the Governor around an illegal oil refining site at Ogbodo-Isiokpo in the Ikwerre Local Government Area.
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