Illegal Oil-Refining Site in Niger Delta Region

Wealth Vs. Public Health: Governor directs Council Chairmen to destroy illegal refineries in Rivers

*Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State gives a marching order to the Chairmen of Local Government Councils to hire bulldozers and destroy illegal crude oil refinery sites emitting black soot adversely affecting the health of over five million consumers in the state

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

With over five million consumers already suffering from ill-health, deaths, and other socio-economic challenges resulting from the black soot through illegal activities, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has directed all the 23 Local Government Area (LGA) Chairmen to hire bulldozers and destroy every identified illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery site in Rivers State of Nigeria.

ConsumerConnect reports Governor Wike, issued this directive Wednesday, January 19, 2022, in Port Harcourt, the state capital, at a meeting with the local council Chairmen, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, and the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

Wike also asked Mr. Eboka Friday, Commissioner of Police (CP) in Rivers State, to provide adequate security for the local council Chairmen as they activate mass destruction of illegal refinery sites across the state in the Niger Delta region.

The governor lamented over the apparent failure of the Federal Government to take any concrete action to end the soot crisis in the oil-producing states saying that his administration cannot fold its arms and watch some deviant persons destroy the environment and health of the citizens.

Recall that the Rivers State Governor Friday, January 14 this year had issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the 23 Local Government Area Chairmen to provide him with a comprehensive list of all illegal refinery sites and their operators within their respective jurisdiction.

Following the governor’s receipt of the list of identified illegal refinery sites, the Rivers State Government stated that it would provide financial support to the Council Chairmen to hire bulldozers and swamp buggies for the purpose of destroying all the illegal sites.

“I will not relent in this fight. And all of you should hire bulldozers. All those areas where the illegal refinery sites are in the bush, in the creek, clear the place.

“The government will give you some money to go and hire bulldozers to go and clear the sites so that they will know we are serious,” said Wike.

Police protection for LGA Chairmen executing the order on illegal refineries

The governor, therefore, urged the State Commissioner of Police to give the LGA Chairmen adequate security personnel, head for the forests, and  destroy all illegal refinery sites.

According to him, the state government will not allow those engaged in illegitimate business to operate in Rivers State.

Wike also said: “One thing I want to say and which is very clear, and like everybody knows, I am not against anybody making money. But, we cannot allow people to make money, while others are dying.”

The governor as well observed that he was mindful that as the Rivers State Government intensifies the war against illegal refinery activities, the cartel behind illicit oil business would make an effort at compromising unscrupulous security agents.

However, he acknowledged that since the state government intensified the fight against illegal refinery operators responsible for the discharge of impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, the air quality has improved remarkably in some parts of the state.

Wike warned that he would personally visit the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Commandant General of NSCDC, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), in Abuja, FCT, to report any of their personnel implicated in the illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery activities in Rivers State.

He added: “You know in Nigeria, we don’t believe that anything can happen. We don’t take government seriously, but in our own case, they have no choice; they’ll take us seriously.”

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