Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has urged traditional rulers in the State to be part of the fight against oil theft by not allowing oil bunkerers to carry out their illegal oil refining activities in their domains. Wike, who gave the charge yesterday at a meeting with traditional rulers, heads of security agencies and chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt, told the tradition-al rulers that those involved in illegal refinery activities are sabotaging the national economy. The governor also said illegal crude oil refinery activities constitute environmental hazard capable of causing cancer related illnesses in the state.
According to him, his primary concern is to ensure that the health of residents of the state is not jeopardised He regretted that the Federal Government which controls the oil industry and the security agencies has been indifferent to the soot pandemic and the damage it is inflicting on the health of the residents of Rivers State.
“I should think that the way Federal Government intends to fight insurgency, is the way they should fight illegal oil bunkering, because it is sabotage on the national economy. Very big sabotage. It affects our own revenue,’’ he said. Adding that: “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.”