Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has directed the chairmen of local government councils in the State to go after all the illegal crude oil refining sites and shut them down with immediate effect.
He has also directed all council chairmen and community leaders to locate, identify and report to his office all those behind illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities for prosecution.
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Governor Wike said the directive stems from the failure of the federal government and its security agencies to apprehend those behind oil bunkering and artisanal crude oil refining in the State.
Governor Wike’s directives were contained in a press statement issued in Port Harcourt on Saturday by his Special Assistant on Media, Kevin Ebiri.
“As a state government, we have drawn the attention of the federal government to this problem and requested for its intervention to stop the activities of illegal bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners, which have been identified as the main sources of the soot pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the federal government has remained inexplicably silent over our request and even complicit to a large extent with the security agencies actively aiding, encouraging and protecting the artisanal refiners to continue with their harmful activities unabated,” the statement added.
The governor said the State government had equally appealed without success to people engaging in this illegal business to consider its negative effects on the economy, environment, public safety and public health and disengage from it.
Governor Wike assured that his administration would continue to do its best to meet the aspirations of citizens for a more peaceful, safe and secure society throughout the Year 2022.