From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Worried about the environmental impact of activities of artisenery refinery also known as ‘Kpo Fire’ on the inhabitants of Rivers State, the state government has declared war against the perpetrators with aim of saving millions of inhabitants of the state from the cancerous substance (Soot) filtering the air.
The Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo had at the weekend solicited the support of the Community Development Committees (CDC) in the 23 local government areas of the state to enlighten and sensitize their People about the dangers inherent in artisanal refining of crude oil.
Dr. Banigo said the appeal became necessary in view of the fact that the issue of black soot (cancerous black substance) concerns everybody because of the negative effect it has on the environment, noting that it is a matter that could kill all of everyone if no necessary actions are taken 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.”
Dr. Banigo further disclosed that “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.
She informed the CDC members that “the state government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is committed to put an end to this problem by providing a better alternative to the People in the form of modular refineries.”
The deputy governor, who said that the issue of artisanal refining and crude oil theft has become a serious menace with glaring impact on the environment and inhabitants, assured that “the government would not victimize anyone who abandons his or her artisanal refining business to embrace the modular refinery programme.”
Dr. Banigo said state government in alliance with security apparatus have deployed necessary actions against the operators of illegal refinery, with laudable campaign programmes put in place.
She stressed that “the state government have refused to relent but to explore more avenues in ending this crisis and save our environment because government is deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the Rivers People.”