Wike says he will not spare the perpetrators no matter how highly placed they may be.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has vowed to prosecute operators of illegal refineries whose activities pollute the state with soot.
Wike said this when he visited the sites of illegal refineries in Ogbodo community forest in Ikwerre LGA and Ibaa community forest in Emohua LGA of the state on Thursday, January 13, 2022.
The governor said that his administration would no longer tolerate the illegal act which has caused death and diseases for residents of the state.
He said, “They can’t be doing this and killing my people. No reasonable government will allow that. And I can tell you with all due respect that we will take this matter very seriously.
“Look at how every day in your house, you see 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 that we will fight this matter to the last until I leave office.”
Wike reckoned that the fight against operators of illegal refineries won’t be easy. He, however, assured residents of the state that his administration would approach the fight like a war using every legal backing.
He said he would not spare the perpetrators no matter how highly placed the perpetrators may be.
Wike also directed the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Zacchaeus Adangor to set up a legal prosecution team and take over the case files of the 19 illegal crude oil refinery operators recently arrested in the state.
He said, “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 so that we can execute this prosecution to the last.
“It is a serious matter. And I’m going to take it head on. In fact, it is a 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. You must arrest them.
“It doesn’t matter how highly placed you are. If you like, be the paramount ruler. In fact, any traditional ruler that is involved, pick him for me. Let him understand that the law does not respect anybody.”
The governor, however, blamed the Federal Government for failing on its promise of setting up modular refineries.
He said the FG should not have promised the people of the state if it is not willing to do anything.