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Rivers seeks collaboration against artisanal refiners, soot, fire outbreak

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
30 December 2021   |   3:48 am
Rivers State Governmenthas called on citizens and security agencies to collaborate to end activities of artisanal refiners of crude oil, popularly known as kpofire, which has caused fire outbreaks ....

Illegal oil mining in Niger Delta Region

Rivers State Government has called on citizens and security agencies to collaborate to end activities of artisanal refiners of crude oil, popularly known as kpofire, which has caused fire outbreaks and environmental pollution in the state. 

The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, made the call during the presentation of prizes to winners of the Ministry’s OurStateOurResponsibility theme song competition in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Nsirim, in a statement by his media aide, Amieyeofori Ibim, also called on the media to engage in an aggressive public campaign against kpofire activities in Rivers State.

He expressed concern over the activities of illegal refiners noting that such activities have caused fire outbreaks and pollution of the atmosphere with the emission of soot.

“Hardly any day passes that you will not get reports of incidents of fire outbreak and investigations have revealed that most of the fire incidents are a result of stockpiling of adulterated petroleum products.

“Government cannot stop this trend without the cooperation of citizens and the law enforcement agencies. We are appealing that we need to do something that as we enter the new year, let us have a collective resolve as a people to ensure that our environment is not polluted any more.

“It should concern everyone. Apart from the fire hazards that we are experiencing, the health implication of what we are seeing in Port Harcourt today is something that should worry anyone living and doing business here in Rivers State,” he said. 

Nsirim condemned the activities of some security personnel, who collect gratification from operators of the illegal petroleum products businesses and allow them free passage on the roads. 

“We cannot be our enemies. We must collectively fight this syndrome. The hazard we are facing is becoming worrisome. If you live and do business here in Rivers State, this kpofire syndrome should concern you and I think the time has come for us to put an end to this menace,” he said. 

He emphasised that the idea behind the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign is to mobilise the Rivers society to be part of the new Rivers vision. 

He noted that governance could not be complete if citizens failed to play active role in the development process, hence the advocacy campaign.

“It is a vision that will engineer our collective understanding that Rivers State belongs to all of us, whether you are an indigene or not, as long as you live and do business here, Rivers State belongs to you,” he said. 

The theme song competition awards coming after the essay competition, according to him, is a milestone in the quest to strengthen citizens’ participation in governance in Rivers State. 

The commissioner commended the three-man panel of judges for service rendered without asking for professional fees.
The first position winner, Mr. Barnabas Baridam, thanked the commissioner for the programme that gave him the platform to showcase his talent. He promised to represent the ministry and the government positively as its ambassador.