Obio/Akpor Council Insists On War Against Sponsors Of Illegal Refineries

The Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barr George Ariolu, has assured residents and business operators within the LGA that it will not rest on its oars to protect its citizens from the environmental and health hazards accompanied by the operation of illegal crude oil refiners in the State.

He said government at all levels must be guided by the fundamental principles and policies as provided by the constitution which has to do with the safety and security as well as welfare of the people.

The Council Chairman made this known at a meeting with members of the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Environment on Monday at the Council Headquarters, Rumuodomaya.

He said, while commending the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for replicating the fight against Covid-19 in the struggle to end the soot menace in the State, that as leaders, one needs to have the Political Will to take proactive decisions and actions that will benefit the people.

He added that the Governor’s action in tackling the Soot is in line with the provisions of the constitution, describing it as an action in the right direction.

Ariolu, while narrating the activities of the Council in respect of the Governor’s directives to discover and demolish all artisanal refineries, urged residents to partner government in making the best decisions to further save lives and properties.

He further decried the level of damages incurred as a result of the activities of illegal crude oil refining, particularly at Iriebe, Rumuokparali, Eligbam and Ogbogoro communities where he considered as major points for refining and trucking of these products.

Explaining further, the Chairman who criticized illegal crude oil refiners, stated that reports have shown that about a larger percentage of the premises used for the illegal business are always locked in and out which according to him further proves its illegality to the public.

Similarly, he called on the government to review security agency’s involvement in these illicit act as he reiterated desires to have the properties used in carrying out the illegal activities confiscated by government.

Meanwhile, the Council Boss has however alerted the State Government and general public to a recently discovered illegal crude oil trucking point at Elelenwo axis of the LGA, while urging residents to remain calm and report any suspected artisanal refining site or trucking points within their locality to further avert the impending doom of soot in the society.

On his part, Hon. Dumle Maol, the Chairman, house committee on Environment who spoke earlier disclosed that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last week Friday introduced a Bill on Soot to the Rivers State House of Assembly which according to him has passed first reading, while awaiting further reading and implementation thereafter.

He urged the Council Chairman to mobilize residents of Obio/Akpor to partake in a public hearing on the Soot menace which will be taking place on an agreed date by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Dumle, who revealed the Committee’s visit to critical stakeholders as part of measures by the Rivers State House of Assembly to end the soot in the state, particularly the Commissioner of Police and Local Government Chairmen, said the purpose of the visit was to find out efforts taken by his administration towards tackling the soot issues in line with the directives of the State Government.


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