The Obonoma Community in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State has declared total support to the State Government, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on the war against illegal bunkering and artisanal refineries majorly responsible for the emission of soot in the State.
In a statement issued by the Secretary, Obonoma Council of Chiefs, Chief Clifford Robert Peika, on behalf of the Obonoma Kingdom, the people commended the State Governor for taking the bull by the horns to address the cause of soot which has posed serious health hazard in the State.
The community also lauded the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Council, Hon. Roland Sekibo for carrying out the directive of the Governor effectively to flush out all artisanal refineries in the local government area.
“But for the effort of Government, we were oblivious of the fact that such illegal oil refining activities were being carried out in some of our remote isolated island forests and swamps.
“No wonder, most parts of our mangrove forests have been destroyed. Fishes and crustaceans which are the main economic stay of our community are being wiped out. There is now abject poverty, hunger and despair in our community.
“However, we wish to, at this point, state categorically that these illegal refineries were not located in the Obonoma mainland but at the remote isolated island forests and swamps belonging to the Obonoma kingdom,” the statement said.
The community advised those behind such illicit activities to desist forthwith and distance themselves from the borders of the Obonoma kingdom or be ready to face severe consequences.
They appealed to the State and the local Governments to sustain the onslaught and provide strategic policies to ensure permanent elimination of illegal oil refining activities to preserve the ecosystems and ensure the health of the people are no longer jeopardized.