THIS IS WAR ~Wike declares
Governor NYESOM WIKE of Rivers State on Thursday declared war on the operators of artisanal refineries in the state.
Governor WIKE made the declaration during a raid on Kpofire sites in some forests at Ogbodo community in Ikwerre LGA and Ibaa community in Emohua LGA of the state.
The governor went on the raid in the company of the state Commissioner of Police, CP EBOKA FRIDAY and other security chiefs.
The governor said that no reasonable government would allow the activities of Kpofire, which induces hazardous soot across the state to thrive.
He noted that no blackmail or sentiment would stop his resolve to rid the state of illegal refining activities.
“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.
“Look at how, everyday in your house, you see the soot. I mean, how can you allow that? So, this one that we can solve, we will solve it. We have assured the people of Rivers State, we will fight this issue to the last until I leave office.”
He directed the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. ZACCHAEUS ADANGOR (SAN) to take over the casefiles of illegal crude oil refinery operators already 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 in the Ministry. You have to constitute a legal team. Go and get our friends all over the country, so that we can prosecute those cases.
“It is a serious matter. I’m going to take head on. 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 EZEKWU. You must arrest them.
“It doesn’t matter how highly placed you are, be you a paramount ruler, in fact, any traditional ruler that is involved, pick him for me. Let him understand that the law does not respect anybody.”
The governor directed the Emohua Council Chairman, Dr CHIDI LLOYD to locate residences, where illegally refined products (kpofire) are processed and stored as well as let the people ascertain their sources, adding that confronting this havoc posed by kpofire is to ensure health of Rivers people was not further hampered by such activities.
He further charged the Council Chairman thus: “If not, our people will continue to die. Even you are not safe from related sicknesses like cancer. All the products in the houses, you must go after them, they must tell you where they got the products. Enough is enough.
“Look at what is happening. I want to live. So, we must stop these illegal refinery activities. And I have told the Federal Government, if you’re not willing to do anything, don’t promise people anything.”