Governor Nyesom Wike has asked the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State to collaborate with the other security agencies, council chairmen and traditional rulers to fish out all those involved in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for prosecution.
In a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor accused persons engaged in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for the black soot environmental menace endangering the health of residents of the state.
He gave the charge on Friday at the dinner and award night of the command that held at the Police Officers’ Mess at the Old Government Residential Area in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Emeka Woke, declared that the state government has resolved to tackle those involved in crude oil theft and refining once and for all.
He stated that the state government was willing to provide the police and other security agencies all that was required to dislodge and end the activities of artisanal refiners in Rivers.
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According to the governor, “the state is prepared to fight them more than ever before.”
He stated that since the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, assumed duty last year, Rivers has witnessed peace and improved policing.
“Little wonder the crime index in the state has reduced drastically,” Governor Wike said. “We thought we are the only people witnessing it, but with the award you got from the wife of the Inspector-General of Police, it is an eloquent testimony that what we are seeing like a state is also being observed from all the nation.”
The governor said policing in Rivers has improved remarkably because the management of the Nigeria Police Force at the Force Headquarters and the State Command respectively distanced themselves from politics.
“As a state, we will continue to support the security agencies in the state. Our support for security agencies is not only centred on the police force. We are also extending similar gesture to the Navy, Air Force, and others,” he hinted.
“For us, we believe the primary function of any responsible government is to protect life and property. So, we have no option but to continue to support in providing logistics and everything that can make the security agencies in the state function very well.
“Because we believe that if our people are safe and the life here is peaceful, there will be an increase in economic activities and the Internally Generated Revenue will also go up.”
Governor Wike commended Mr Eboka, the 42nd Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, for discharging his duty professionally and not joining the league of some of his predecessors allegedly posted to the state to cause turmoil and instability.
He announced N1 million reward for each of the recipients of the Rivers State Police Command award and N10 million to the command for organising the event.
Eboka, on his part, explained that 2021 was a remarkable year for the Command because Rivers State emerged as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.
He thanked God for His grace and Inspector General of Police for choosing Rivers State as the venue for the launching of South-South Operation Restore Peace.
According to him, this came with the deployment of special forces with sophisticated equipment as well as combat helicopter to the state.
He commended Governor Wike for being very phenomenal in the attainment of peace and security in the state.
“Since my assumption of office, the command has received more than 50 patrol vehicles fitted with modern gadgets from the state government,” the police commissioner said. “This gesture alone enhanced visibility policing in the state.
“Recall too, when we lost men to miscreants sometimes in April 2021, the governor did not allow us to suffer alone. He wiped the tears of the deceased families with a total sum N220 million, which means each family received the sum of N20 million.
“Recall the ENDSARS saga; at the end of that saga which led to the burning down of police stations and vehicles across the nation, the state governor did not abandon us to work under the trees. Rather, the governor constructed a storey building each for the Area Command, Oyigbo and the Divisional Police in Oyigbo.”
The highlight of the event was the conferment of Governor Wike with an award for fighting crime in the state.
The founder and General Overseer, Omega Power Ministry, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, was honoured for his unrelenting assistance to the State Police Command.
The recipients of the Rivers State Police Command 2021 awards include G.I.A Godstime Nwuju, best traffic officer; Inspector Winfrey Ini Akpan, best controller; CSP Bako Aghashim, best DPO; CSP Grace Wonwu, best female DPO; and the best visiting tactical team leader went to CSP Adamu.