Rivers Government has flagged off a statewide Consultative meeting with Community Development Committee (CDC) leaders to sentitise people to embrace Modular refineries than engage in illegal refining of petroleum products.
Deputy Governor of Rivers, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, told the meeting on Friday in Port Harcourt, that Gov. Nyesom Wike’s administration was determined to ensure that modular refineries thrived in the state.
Banigo said that the state government was also determined to ensure that operators of illegal refineries or “Kpo fire’’ by the locals embrace modular refineries for safety of lives and environment.
She also told the CDC chairman and chairman of the 23 Local Government areas of the state such measures would foster job creation for indigenes of the state and ensure safe environment.
The deputy governor urged participants at the meeting to encourage people in their respective areas to form cooperative societies for government to meet them group-by-group for a license to actualise the project.
According to her the National Oil Spill Detection & Response Agency (NOSDRA) has a pictorial view of all sites where illegal refineries are located in the state. She said that illegal refining (Kpo fire) and products from such activities were dangerous to environment, health and society with attendant diseases of the lungs among others. Banigo said that a story was told of a community where no fewer than 80 people perished due to explosion caused by kpo fire practitioners in Rivers.
Speakers at the forum, who expressed their pleasure over the state government’s resolve, promised to take the message to their respective communities. They also urged government to provide the enabling environment to drive its decision on modular Refineries in the state.
Participants at the one-day forum included journalists, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, as well as his counterparts in the Ministry of Energy and Environment, Peter Medee and Igbiks Tamuno, respectively.