Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared 19 persons, including a commander of a vigilante group, Azubuike Amadi, wanted, for operating illegal crude oil refining sites linked with the black soot incident in the state.
The governor also directed the state head of service, Rufus Godwin’s, to query one Mr Temple Amakiri, a director in the Ministry of Energy, for abetting bunkering activities and hand him over to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.
Wike, who spoke in a statewide broadcast on Sunday night, said the government was resolved to tackle the soot pandemic by destroying and closing down all identified illegal crude oil refining sites and activities in the state.
He said following his 2022 New Year Message outlining measures to tackle the black soot menace, the State Taskforce on Illegal Street Trading raided some illegal crude oil refining sites in Port Harcourt and arrested a number of recalcitrant persons.
Wike said, “Furthermore, the following persons who have been identified as kingpins of bunkering and illegal crude oil refining activities in their communities have been declared wanted and directed to report themselves to the state police command, to whom we have already passed their details to: “Mr Azubike Amadi, OSPAC commander, Ogbogoro community and chairman of Akpor Central OSPAC; Mr India, of Rumuolumeni community and chairman of Oil Bunkering Association in Akpor Kingdom; Mr Okey, who is in charge of oil bunkering in Rumuopareli, Mr Anderson, who is in charge of oil bunkering activities in Ogbogoro community, Amadi Gift of Ogbogoro community, Azeruowa of Ogbogoro community; and Kingsley Egbula, also of Ogbogoro community.
“Also declared wanted are the following persons who are alleged to be in charge of oil bunkering activities in Isiokpo community: Mr. Kemkom Azubike, Mr Mezu Wabali, Mr Chigozi Amadi, Mr Opurum Owhondah, Mr Bakasi Obodo, Mr Opus, Mr Galaxi Mas, Mr Chioma, Mr Ogondah, Mr Soldier, Mr Chefo, and Nkasi.
“We have also identified those behind illegal bunkering activities in Okrika communities, Port Harcourt Township, Rivers South-East and Rivers South-West Senatorial Districts and their names would be soon published and declared wanted, if they fail to voluntarily report to the police,” he said.
The governor urged residents of the state to report those involved in illegal crude oil refineries and other damnable activities to the fask forces set up at the state and local government levels for immediate action.
He also reaffirmed the ban on the use of motorcycles in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils, which was necessitated by the collective threat they posed to the security of life and property.
Wike said, “Any person or corporate entity that requires the use of motorcycle for any lawful purposes must therefore first apply to the office of the governor for permit and proper documentation of the operational details and particulars of both the motorcycle and designated rider(s).
“Against this background, we are hereby issuing the final warning to all those operating motorcycles shuttles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi Street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia Street to immediately leave or be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
The governor accused the traditional leadership, including members of Community Development Committees and youth leaders of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities of collecting money from vendors and allowing street trading activities around and under the flyovers in these communities.