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RIVERS: Illegal Refining Activities Operate In 14 LGAs …As Deputy Gov Begs CDCs For Support To End Black Soot

The Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has solicited the support of the Community Development Committees (CDC) in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State to enlighten and sensitise their People about the dangers inherent in Artisanal Refining of Crude Oil.

Dr. Banigo expressed this during a consultative meeting on Modular Refineries with the CDC Chairmen and Secretaries from the 23 Local Government Areas at the Delta Hotels Port Harcourt, weekend.

She said the appeal became necessary in view of the fact that the issue of black soot concerns everybody because of the negative effect it has on the environment, noting that it was a matter that could kill all everybody if stakeholders do not take necessary actions to stop it.

According to the Deputy Governor, “when scientists examined the particles of the soot, they discovered that those particles are very dangerous to human health, plants and animals.

“It can cause cancer and damage to virtually all the organs of the body like the lungs, heart, the kidneys and the skin, stressing that one of the major causes of soot is artisanal refining of crude oil which is popularly known as “Kpo Fire”.

Dr. Banigo informed the CDC members that the State Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike was committed to put an end to the problem by providing a better alternative to the People in the form of modular refineries.

She assured them that “Government would not victimise anyone who abandons his or her artisanal refining business to embrace the modular refinery programme”.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Environment Dr. Igbiks Tamuno said Rivers State with a population of over seven million people has the Kpo fire activities spread across 14 Local Government Areas with some LGAs having as much as ten locations.

Dr Igbiks, who said the effects of the soot were seen everywhere expressed worry that “while some artisanal refinery operators smile to the banks, majority of the people were suffering from the illegal activities of a few, stressing that the State Government was therefore determined to put an end to the menace”.

Also Speaking Dr. Peter Medee , the State Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, informed the CDC members that they were not invited to be accused but to partner with the State Government to proffer a lasting solution to the soot problem plaguing the State.

“Nobody is going to intimidate you. What we want is your corporation so that we can collectively end the danger that black soot is posing to us as a people as a result of the kpo fire activities”.

SOURCE: DailyIndependent