Wike Urges FG to Fight illegal refineries like terrorism


…Accuses Army Major of escorting illegally refined products

Onyedi Igwe, Port Harcourt

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has called on the Federal Government to crush illegal refineries and oil theft the way it wages the war against terrorism.

The Governor who spoke during a meeting with traditional rulers at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, called on the monarchs to flush out illegal refineries from their domains.

Wike said that the illegal refinery operators are saboteurs of the nation’s economy who should be stopped.

He explained that the activities of the illegal refinery operators was drastically affecting the total amount of crude oil production and the amount of money accruable to the state.

The Governor wondered why the Federal Government which has control over the oil industry has been indifferent to the problem of soot and the health hazards it has caused in the state.

He stated further that his major concern was the protection of the health of Rivers people which had come under threat from the pollution caused by illegal refinery operators.

“I should think that the way Federal Government intends to fight insurgency, is the way they should fight illegal oil bunkering, because it is a sabotage on the national economy. Very big sabotage. It affects our own revenue.

“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to see how this thing can be stopped. As I speak to you, nobody has called me from the Federal Government to say how they can support us. But that is not my business.

“If we are supposed to produce two million barrels for example, we are now producing 1.2 million. And in that 1.2 million barrels, It affects Rivers state because we are not producing up to the number we are supposed to produce, and then we can’t get the money to do whatever you want us to do.”

“My business is the health of my people. I will not because the federal government is not interested to stop it, therefore my people should die. If everybody dies, who are you going to govern.”

We said that he was alarmed when he got intelligence report that a serving major of the Nigerian Army was providing security cover to escort the products of illegal refinery operators.

According to him, he “had to send his special security to go and intercept the major, who was trying to escort some of these illegal products”.

He criticized the police and operatives of the NSCDC for alleged complicity in the criminal act of illegal oil bunkering.

He said that the continuing complicity of officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in such abhorrent act and the sabotage of the nation’s economy was embarrassing.

“I don’t know how I can be a security officer sent to a place to protect people, to protect whatsoever belongs to the Federal Government, at the same time, I’m involved in sabotaging the national economy.

“I don’t understand how I can wear uniform and be involved in that. If they do not want to support us, we have no choice but to expose all the atrocities that is going on in this State.”

He said that his administration would not hesitate to expose any security personnel involved in the destructive illegal refinery activities.

Wike expressed sadness at the inability of the Nigerian Police to arrest Chief W. J. Wocha, Fubara Ohaka and other members of the illegal bunkering cartel operating at Ibaa community in Emoha Local Government Area .

He said the names of all indicted persons would be published soon and the would be declared wanted.


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