Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the black soot damaging the state’s environment is mainly caused by the activities of federal security agencies destroying illegal refineries across the state.
Mr. Wike stated that the Rivers State Government has formally approached the Federal Government to help resolve the challenge, but received no assistance.
A statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, said the governor made the remarks during a special appearance on Channels Television Sunrise Daily at the Government House Port Harcourt on Friday.
Mr. Wike, the statement said, urged Nigerian security agencies to find alternative ways of destroying illegal refineries in the state.
Last year, Rivers State capital was covered with black soot, a black substance formed by combustion or separated from fuel during combustion, rising in fine particles, and adhering to the sides of the chimney or pipe conveying the smoke.
On Friday, Mr. Wike said, “We set up a technical committee to investigate the black soot problem. The committee’s report indicated that the black soot was largely a product of the destruction of illegal refineries by security agencies.
“It is not within the purview of the state government to tackle (or) control the security agencies. Therefore, we met with them and appealed that they find alternative ways to destroy the illegal refineries.
“We also appealed to the Federal Government to intervene, but so far they are yet to do anything.”
The governor noted that the state government prioritised the issue but could not stop the security agencies, adding that there must be a refined way of stopping the oil criminals without damaging the environment.
He said that politics must be separated from governance in respect of issues that affect the people.
“We should separate politics from governance. This issue of environmental challenge posed by the black soot requires the direct intervention of the Federal Government,” he said.
“We are working with all major stakeholders to address this challenge. We are working with international oil companies to provide needed solutions. The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency intervene, because the solution is within her purview,” Governor Wike said.
The governor explained that the Rivers State Government’s Committee has taken the fundamental steps of checking the indiscriminate burning of tyres, but the major challenge is the manner the security agencies destroy illegal refineries.