Wike charges military to move against illegal oil refining
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has charged the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, to support the war against illegal crude oil refining activities, saying the proceeds from the oil and gas sector sustain the country. Wike made the call when he received Gen. Irabor, yesterday, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The governor noted that illegal crude oil refinery operators are causing great health hazard to residents of the state and destroying the national economy.
“You and I know that one product we have today that has kept this country going is oil and gas. I will say it is the main source of our revenue.
“And so, we must, as a people, as a government, not allow it, it doesn’t matter which faction you may be or which divide you may be, or you may find yourself. What is important is that you must defend any of our national assets,” the governor said.
He assured Gen. Irabor that his administration would not spare any meaningful measure that can be deployed to stem illegal crude oil refining activities in the state.
To him, those engaging in the criminal activities need to ask themselves about the kind of money they are making by sabotaging the national economy.
“I will do anything within my powers to see that it is put to stop. I owe it as a duty, first by making sure that government is not losing revenue. Whenever we lose national revenue, it trickles down. It affects us at the state and local government levels.”
On the health hazards caused by soot resulting from illegal refining, the governor said: “I am willing to fight it and will continue to fight it. Some people are trying to politicise it. They say that you are doing it against certain ethnic group. That can’t change me, it doesn’t matter.”
He urged the CDS to give his officers and men final directives to join hands with the Rivers State government in the fight against illegal oil bunkering to stem further destruction of the environment and the national economy.
Gen. Irabor said he was in Port Harcourt as part of tour of military formations in the Niger Delta to assess security strategies and motivate officers for greater efficiency.
He expressed delight over the audacity shown by Governor Wike in championing the fight against illegal crude oil refining activities that have been a great threat to the oil and gas Industry.