Wike orders Rivers LGA chairmen to destroy illegal refineries
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has ordered the 23 Local Government Area chairmen of the state to destroy every identified illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery site in Rivers State.
The governor has also tasked the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday to provide adequate security for the Local Government Area chairmen as they embark on the mass destruction of illegal sites across the 23 LGAs of the state.
Wike gave the order on Wednesday during a meeting with the 23 Local Government Area chairmen, the State Commissioner of Police and the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that the Governor had on Friday, 14th January 2022 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.
Speaking, Wike said with the receipt of the list of identified illegal refinery sites, the State government would provide financial support to the Local Government Area chairmen to hire bulldozers and swamp buggies for the purpose of destroying all the sites.
The governor enjoined the Commissioner of Police to give the Local Government Area chairmen adequate security personnel to go for the destruction, adding that the government would not allow those engaged in illegitimate business to operate in Rivers.
He said, “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.
“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.”
Wike revealed that since the state government intensified the fight against illegal refinery operators, who are primarily responsible for the discharge of impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, the air quality in parts of the Rivers State had improved remarkably.
The Governor said he was aware that while carrying on with the war against illegal refinery activities that the cartel behind the illicit business would make effort to compromise unscrupulous security agents in the State.
He, however, warned that he would personally visit the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant General of the NSCDC and the Chief of Army Staff in Abuja, to report any of their personnel implicated in illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery activities in Rivers State.
“You know in Nigeria, we don’t believe that anything can happen. We don’t take government serious, but in our own case, they have no choice, they will take us serious,” added.