Wike intensifies action against errant refiners, visits sites
• Council boss intercepts illegal refinery in Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has intensified fight against illegal refiners in the state. Aside from directing council chairmen to fish out operators, Wike has started visiting illegal refining sites.
The governor, yesterday, made a long walk through track roads into the forest of Ogbodo community in Ikwerre council and the forest of Ibaa community in Emohua council to uncover some crude oil sites.
He said his administration would not succumb to any form of blackmail or sentiment that would attempt to frustrate efforts at curbing the illegal business.
A statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, quoted Wike as saying: “They can’t be doing this and be killing my people. No reasonable government will allow that. And I can tell you with all due respect; we will take this matter very seriously.”
According to the governor, no matter how highly placed the perpetrators may be, they will not be spared, but apprehended and be made to face the full force of the law.
He directed the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor SAN, to take over the case files of illegal crude oil refinery operators arrested by the police.
“Attorney General, all these matters with the police, you have to retrieve the files so that you can prosecute the matters on our own. I don’t want any compromise anywhere.
“And then too, it will not be on the ministry. You have to constitute a legal team. Go and get our friends all over the country.
“It is a serious matter. And I’m going to take it head on. In fact, it is a war. It is not poor people doing this, they’re a cartel. You must go and arrest these people: Chief W. J. Wocha, you must arrest Fubara Ohaka, and Chief Promise Ezekwe. You must arrest them,” he said.
Wike said the purpose of confronting the illicit business is to ensure good health for Rivers people.
MEANWHILE, chairman of Emohua council of the state, Chidi Lloyd, has intercepted a newly constructed illegal artisanal petroleum refining site in Rumuji town.
A statement by Lloyd’s media aide, Bright Jossy Elendu, yesterday, disclosed that the chairman, following a tip-off on illegal oil bunkering activities in Emohua council on Wednesday, led a combined team of security operatives and members of the local government task force into a forest in Rumuji town, where construction work was being concluded for the take-off of a new illegal artisanal petroleum refinery with over 15 tanks and receivers already fabricated and installed in the site.
The statement noted that Lloyd regretted the involvement of highly placed individuals and security officers in illegal oil bunkering activities, which have brought health-related challenges and economic damages to the people of Emohua and Rivers State in general.
He called for the intervention of the Federal Government to ensure the menace is brought to an end.
The council boss thanked Wike for championing the fight against soot, caused by illegal oil bunkering activities in the state, stressing that the success of the fight against soot depends on the sincerity of the Federal Government-controlled security agencies, which are empowered to fight oil theft and other criminal activities in the country.