Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on those planning to demonstrate against the presence of soot to channel their protest to the Federal Government.
He said the federal government is strictly responsible for the degradation and pollution of the Rivers’ environment.
Speaking in Government House, Port Harcourt, on Monday, during the inauguration of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency, Wike urged the campaigners to demonstrate against the federal government, in the interest of justice.
He said the Rivers State government has done its part, including advocacy and enlightenment campaigns, with no action from the federal government.
He said: “I hear people want to demonstrate because of soot in the state. Help us demonstrate against the federal government, and we will all be happy.
“We have no control over the sources of soot. Do I go to shutdown the refinery? Will they not say that it is economic sabotage?
“Do I even have the security? Do I control the police or the army, to go and stop oil production at the refinery?”
Wike added that the state government cannot stop the Nigerian Navy from destroying illegal refineries that release dangerous substances to pollute the environment. He said all entreaties have fallen on deaf ears.
The governor said nobody is happy about the presence of soot in the state, as its effect is non-discriminatory.
He said it is necessary to properly situate those with the responsibility of stopping the soot, rather than protesting for the sake of creating social tension.
He assured the people of Rivers that the administration will continue to prevail on the security agencies and regulatory institutions to take the right step to stop the soot.