From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers Government has called for citizens and security agencies collaboration to end activities of illegal refiners of crude oil in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, made the call during the presentation of prizes to winners of the Ministry’s #OurStateOurResponsibility Theme Song competition in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said activities of the illegal refiners of crude oil, popularly known as kpofire, have caused incessant fire outbreaks and environmental pollution in the state.
Nsirim also called on the media to engage in aggressive public campaign against kpofire activities in Rivers State.
The commissioner expressed concern over the activities of illegal refiners of crude oil which have caused incessant fire outbreaks and pollution of the atmosphere through the emission of soot.
“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 as 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 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.
Nsirim condemned the activities of some security personnel, collecting gratification from operators of the illegal petroleum products businesses and allow them free passage on the roads.
“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 syndrome should concern you and I think the time has come for us to put an end to this menace,” he said.
He said the idea behind the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign was to mobilise cross spectrum of the Rivers society to be part of the NEW Rivers vision.
Nsirim said governance cannot be complete if citizens do not play active role in the development process hence the advocacy campaign.
“It is a vision that will engineer our collective understanding that Rivers State belongs to all of us, whether you are an indigene or not, as long as you live and do business here, Rivers State belongs to you.”