Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the 23 Local Government Chairmen to provide a comprehensive list of illegal refineries and their operators within their jurisdiction.
Governor Wike gave the ultimatum at a meeting with the council chairmen and heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police, the Directorate of State Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at Government House on Friday.
Wike challenged the council chairmen to prove that they are not complicit in the noxious business that has continued to threaten the health of Rivers people and the national economy.
The Governor stated that as a responsible government, it will be unwise for them to fold their hands and do nothing to safeguard residents of the state from the death that is forced upon them by criminal minded operators of artisanal refineries.
“Now, every council chairman must go and identify where illegal refineries are taking place. If you identify one, you get N2m (Two million Naira). So, go and identify as many as you can. I will pay N2m for each one. And I am going to fight against this. Our people are dying and we owe our people the responsibility to protect them, to save them from death they never caused.
“So, you must, and you’re given 48 hours to go and identify all illegal refineries sites, and those who are in charge of them.
Governor Wike emphasised that any of the council chairmen who is afraid to join in the fight against these criminals operating the illegal refineries should be ready to resign.
According to the governor, part of their social contract with their people is also to protect them and stop any illegal economy practices in their domains.
“I’ve called you here to tell you that it’s a total war. It is either we do it or we don’t do it. We cannot allow what is going on to continue. Two things; our people are dying, two, it’s shortening our own revenue.
“You check from Federation Account, Akwa Ibom and Delta States are getting more, why? Because, these boys of the cartel have caused so much problems for us. So we will not allow it.”
The Rivers State governor also frown at security agencies for the role some of their personnel have played in aiding and providing cover to the operators of the illegal refineries in the State.
The governor urged the State Police Commissioner, Eboka Friday, to redeploy out of the state a particular DPO in Emohua Local