Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has vowed not to spare anyone involved in the illegal bunkering and artisanal refinery activities that have caused the soot pandemic in the State.
Governor Wike maintained that his administration would not succumb to any form of blackmail or sentiment that will be stirred by those perpetrators in an attempt to frustrate efforts at curbing such hazardous business.
The governor made the remarks when he took a long walk through the track roads into the forest of Ogbodo community in Ikwerre Local Government Area, and the forest of Ibaa community in Emohua Local Government Area, with the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday and other security Chiefs, to uncover some crude oil illegal refining sites.
According to Wike, “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, every day, 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 matter to the last until I leave office.”
Governor Wike also directed the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor 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 your own. I don’t want any compromise anywhere.
“It will not be on the ministry. You have to constitute a legal team. Go and get our friends all over the country to execute this prosecution to the last.
“It is a serious matter. And I’m going to take it head-on. In fact, it is 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. It would be best if you arrested them.
“It doesn’t matter how highly placed you are. If you like be the paramount ruler. In fact, any traditional ruler involved, pick him for me. Let him understand that the law does not respect anybody.”