Niger Delta

War on illegal refineries: 7 reservoirs, 2 badges of petroleum destroyed in Eleme

By Kote Obe

The Chairman of Eleme Local Government in Rivers State, Chief Obarilomate Ollor, has led an enforcement team to destroy a base of illegal petroleum refinery operators at Onne.

The team left the local government headquarters at Ogale after the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration to the base of the illegal refinery operators. The team included the military, police, paramilitary, and the Eleme Youth Council.

Among the facilities destroyed were 7 huge reservoirs, two barges loaded with oil, stores and cloakroom of the operators.

However, none of the operators of the illegal refinery were found when the enforcement team visited. It appeared that the base was used for evacuation of the refiner’s products after they are moved from deep in the creeks to the mainland.

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had declared an all-out war against artisanal refineries in the state, promising to pay a bounty of N2 million to anyone that can give information on the base of any of the refineries.

Read also: Nigeria, the hotbed of minerals of the future – Minister

The war was a response to outcries by residents of the state about serious air pollution emanating from illegal crude refining of crude oil at the artisanal refineries, which doctors have said could cause serious health issues such as cancer and other lung diseases.

Speaking at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at Ogale, the Chairman of Eleme Local Government, Chief Ollor, said, “The party is over for Kpofire (illegal refinery) and oil bunkering operations in the local government area,” saying illegal refining facility found in the area would be destroyed and their operators handed over for prosecution.

On the welfare of war veterans in the area, Ollor promised to engage the veterans in security committees of the local government and donated N500,000 to their welfare fund.

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