Pollution: Rivers blames security operatives, illegal refiners

Governor Wike of Rivers State

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Government has accused security personnel of contributing to pollution in Port Harcourt by collecting bribes from operators of the illegal petroleum products businesses to allow them free passage on the roads.

Speaking during the presentation of prizes to winners of the Ministry of Information’s #OurStateOurResponsibility Theme Song competition in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, Rivers Commissioner for Information, Paulinus Nsirim, urged the security operatives to change their ways.

He said, “We cannot be our own enemies. We must collectively fight this syndrome. The hazard we are facing is becoming worrisome. If you live and do business here in Rivers State, this “kpofire” (illegal refining of petroleum products) syndrome should concern you and I think the time has come for us to put an end to this menace,” he said.

The Commissioner called for citizens and security agencies collaboration to end activities of illegal refiners of crude oil, popularly known as kpofire, which has caused incessant fire outbreaks and environmental pollution of the atmosphere through the emission of soot in the State.

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Nsirim also called on the media to engage in aggressive public campaign against ‘kpofire’ activities in Rivers State.

“Hardly any day passes that you will not get reports of incidents of fire outbreak and investigations have revealed that most of this fire incidents are a result of stockpiling of adulterated petroleum products”.

“Government cannot stop this trend without the cooperation of the citizens and the law enforcement agencies. We are appealing that we need to do something that as we enter into the new year let us have a collective resolve as a people to ensure that our environment is not polluted anymore”.

“It should concern everyone. Apart from the fire hazards that we are experiencing, the health implication of what we are seeing in Port Harcourt today is something that should worry anyone living and doing business here in Rivers State,” he said.

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