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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has urged the traditional rulers of the state to stop allowing illegal crude oil refining (Kpo-fire) activities in their areas.
Wike gave the charge during a meeting he held with traditional rulers of the state at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt last Friday.
The meeting was also attended by heads of security agencies and chairmen of 23 local government areas in the state.
Wike told traditional leaders that those involved in illegal oil refining activities were sabotaging the economy.
He regretted that the federal government, which controls the oil industry and security agencies, had been indifferent to the soot pandemic and the damage it was inflicting on the health of people in Rivers State.
“I should think that the way the federal government intends to fight the insurgency is the way it should fight illegal oil bunkering, because it’s a sabotage of the national economy. Very big sabotage This affects our own income.
“If we are supposed to produce two million barrels, for example, we are now producing 1.2 million. And that 1.2 million barrels, it affects Rivers State because we’re not producing up to the volume that we’re supposed to produce, and then we can’t get the money to do what you want We do.
The governor also said illegal oil refining activities are an environmental hazard that can cause cancer-related illnesses in the state.
According to him, his main concern was to ensure that the health of the people of the state was not put at risk.
“It’s the responsibility of the feds to see how this thing can be stopped. As I speak to you, no one has called me from the feds to tell me how they can support us. But that’s not my business. My business is the health of my people. I won’t because the feds are not interested in stopping it, therefore, my people should die. If everyone dies, who are you going to govern ?
The Governor therefore urged traditional leaders not to be less concerned about the activities of illegal oil refinery operators, but to frantically mobilize their Community Development Committee (CDC) members and their youth group leaders to work in synergy to dislodge them. of their domains.
Wike reprimanded the Nigerian police for their complicity in the criminal act of illegal oil bunkering hence they did not engage in the fight to stop the illicit trade.
He also described as embarrassing how officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) continued to be complicit in the act and shamelessly involved in the sabotage of the national economy.
“I don’t know how I can be a security guard sent to a place to protect people, to protect everything that belongs to the federal government, at the same time I am involved in sabotaging the national economy. I don’t understand how I can wear a uniform and participate in this. If they don’t want to support us, we have no choice but to speak out against all the atrocities that are happening in this state.
Wike said he had recently received information that an army major was providing exit services for illegally refined petroleum products and had to send security personnel to thwart him.
“I actually had to send my special security to go and intercept a major who was trying to escort some of these illegal products.”
The governor said his administration would not hesitate to expose any security personnel involved in such illegal oil refining activities.
Wike disapproved of the Nigerian police’s inability to arrest Chief WJ Wocha; Fubara Ohaka; and other members of the illegal bunkering cartel operating in the Ibaa community in the Emohua Local Government Area.
He said the names of all those charged would be released soon and they would be declared wanted.