Governor Wike gave the charge at a meeting with traditional rulers in the state on Friday at Government House’s Banquet Hall in Port Harcourt.
Heads of security agencies and chairmen of the twenty-three Local Government Areas in the state also attended the conference.
He expressed disappointment that the Federal Government, which controls the oil industry and security agencies, has been unconcerned about the soot pandemic and the harm it is causing to Rivers State residents’ health.
“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. If we are supposed to produce 2 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,” he said.
Illegal oil crude refinery activities, according to the governor, are an environmental threat that could lead to cancer-related disorders in the state.
His main concern, he claims, is to ensure that the health of State people is not jeopardised.
“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. 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,” Wike said.
The governor asked traditional rulers not to be complacent about illegal oil refinery operators’ activities, but to mobilise members of their Community Development Committees (CDC) and the leadership of their youth organisations to work together to drive them out of their domain.
Governor Wike chastised the Nigerian Police for being complicit in the illicit oil bunkering crime, claiming that this is why they are not fully committed to stopping the operations.
He further highlighted how officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have continued to be complicit in the crime and openly participate in damaging the country’s economy as shameful.
“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,” the governor said.
Governor Wike said he recently obtained intelligence that an Army major was providing exist services to illegally refined petroleum products and that he had to dispatch security officers to stop it.
“In fact, I had to send my special security to go and intercept a major who was trying to escort some of these illegal products,” he said.
The governor stated that his administration will not hesitate to reveal security officers who are participating in unlawful refinery operations.
Governor Wike is angry that the Nigerian police have been unable to apprehend Chief W. J. Wocha, Fubara Ohaka, and other members of the illicit bunkering gang operating in the Emohua Local Government Area’s Ibaa community.
He stated that the identities of all those who have been charged will be made public soon, and they will be declared wanted.
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