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Soot: Wike orders LG chairman to shutdown illegal crude refining sites

In his New Year live broadcast on Saturday, Mr Wike accused federal security agencies of involvement in the illegal refining of crude.

• January 1, 2022

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has ordered the chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area to shut down all illegal crude oil refining sites in the state.

The governor’s directive comes less than two weeks after Peoples Gazette reported on the effect of soot in Port Harcourt, which is caused by constant illegal refining of crude.

The Gazette report detailed how more residents suffer from cancer and kidney failure from the soot, and how federal security personnel from the Police, Navy, NSCDC, and Army aid the activities of illegal crude refining through the taking of bribe from perpetrators.

Mr Wike in a New Year live broadcast on Saturday, reiterated that the federal security agencies are fully involved in the illegal refining of crude that is affecting lives and causing health complications for residents.

He noted that the state government is troubled over the soot disaster that has continued for years despite several appeal to the federal government to intervene and stop the activities of illegal bunkering.

“Since the federal security agencies have largely refused to stop the illegal crude oil refining activities in the State, we have no option than to take necessary measures to tackle this particular and direct challenge to our collective health and survival by ourselves.

“Unfortunately, the Federal Government has remained inexplicably silent over our request and even complicit to a large extent with the security agencies actively aiding, encouraging and protecting the artisanal refiners to continue with their harmful activities unabated.

“Consequently, I have directed the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council to go after all the illegal crude oil refining sites along Creek road and adjourning areas of the city and shut them down with immediate effect,” the governor added.

Mr Wike also directed all LG chairmen in the state to work with community leaders to locate and identify all illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities and report to his office for further action.

“We have equally appealed without success to our people engaging in this illegal business to consider its negative effects on our economy, environment, public safety and public health and disengage from it,” Mr Wike added.

Residents in the state have since signed an online petition, calling for urgent attention to solve the black soot in the state.

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