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Black Soot: Wike Declares 19 Illegal Refinery Operators Wanted

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black soot

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Rivers State Government has declared 19 persons wanted for operating illegal crude oil refining sites allegedly responsible for the carcinogenic hydrocarbon soot prevalent in the state.

The state’s governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, in a statewide broadcast on Sunday reiterated the government’s resolve to tackle the soot pandemic by destroying and closing down operations of all identified illegal refinery operators in the state.

He also directed the Rivers State Head of Service to query one Mr Temple Amakiri, a Director in the Ministry of Energy, for abetting bunkering activities and hand him over to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.

He stated that following his 2022 New Year Message outlining measures to tackle the black soot menace, the state Task Force on Illegal Street Trading raided some illegal crude oil refining sites in Port Harcourt and arrested a number of recalcitrant persons.

“Furthermore, the following persons who have been identified as kingpins of bunkering and illegal crude oil refining activities in their communities have been declared wanted and directed to report themselves to the State Police Command, to whom we have already passed their details to:

“Mr Azubike Amadi, OSPAC Commander, Ogbogoro community and Chairman of Akpor Central OSPAC; Mr India, of Rumuolumeni community and Chairman of oil bunkering association in Akpor kingdom; Mr Okey who is in charge of oil bunkering in Rumupareli; Mr Anderson, who is in charge of oil bunkering activities in Ogbogoro community; Amadi Gift of Ogbogoro community; Azeruowa of Ogbogoro community; and Kingsley Egbula, also of Ogbogoro community.

“Also declared wanted are the following persons who are alleged to be in charge of oil bunkering activities in Isiokpo community: Mr Kemkom Azubike, Mr Mezu Wabali, Mr Chigozi Amadi, Mr Opurum Owhondah, Mr Bakasi Obodo, Mr Opus, Mr Galaxi Mas, Mr Chioma, Mr Ogondah, Mr Soldier, Mr Chefo, and Nkasi.

“We have also identified those behind illegal bunkering activities in Okrika communities, Port Harcourt Township, Rivers South-East and Rivers South-West Senatorial Districts and their names would be soon published and declared wanted if they fail to voluntarily report to the police,” he declared.

He urged residents of the state to report those involved in illegal crude oil refineries and other damnable activities to the Task Forces already set up at the state and local government levels for immediate action.

Governor Wike also reaffirmed the total ban on the use of motorcycles in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt councils, which was necessitated by the collective threat they posed to the security of lives and property.

“Any person or corporate entity that requires the use of motorcycle for any lawful purposes must therefore first apply to the office of the Governor for permit and proper documentation of the operational details and particulars of both the motorcycle and designated rider(s).

“Against this background, we are hereby issuing the final warning to all those operation motorcycles shuttles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi Street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia Street to immediately leave or be arrested and prosecuted,” the Governor said.

The governor then accused the traditional leadership, including members of Community Development Committees and youth leaders of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities of collecting money from vendors and allowing street trading activities around and under the flyovers in these communities.

“Consequently, I hereby direct the traditional leadership of Rumuola, Rumuogba and Okoro-nu-odo communities to immediately stop all street trading activities around, in or under the flyovers in their respective domains or be deposed, arrested and prosecuted.

“Similarly, the traditional leadership of Rumuwoji Mgbuduku, Obiekwe, Nkpolu-Oroworokwo, Abali, Rebisi, Rumukalagbor-Oroworokwo and Ezimgbu communities are hereby directed to enforce the ban and ensure that no form of trading takes place around and under the flyovers located in their communities,” Mr Wike stated.

He also placed a total ban on the use of umbrella and table trading stands in the entire old and new GRAs of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City, Eleme councils.

According to him, the government has credible evidence that most of these purported traders in front of houses are informants who monitor and pass on vital details and information on the daily movement of very important persons to their criminal collaborators.

Governor Wike frowned at the failure of the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership to honour the terms of their undertaking not to allow any form of street trading on the Rumuokurushe market.

“Unfortunately, the Rumuokurushe traditional leadership has apparently failed to comply with or enforce this condition in that market and the government will not hesitate to again shut it down if the ongoing breach continues unabated,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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BEDC Promises to Restore Electricity to Delta Community

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benin electricity distribution company BEDC

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has promised to restore electricity to the Agbarho community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

This was disclosed by the Head of the Community Relations of BEDC, Mr Simple Ugherakpoteri, at a meeting between the company and leaders of the community.

He explained that the prolonged power outage in the community was caused by a heavy downpour that destroyed electric poles.

He stated that BEDC’s men were already working and power will be restored immediately they are through.

Mr Ugherakpoteri also promised to look into the issue of overbilling and estimated bills complained about by the community.

Responding on behalf of the community, President General of Agbarho Urhobo Improvement Union, Mr Monday Igho-Odiphri, described the meeting as fruitful and expressed hope that power will be restored to the community as soon as possible.

He urged BEDC officials to keep to their own part of the agreement and promised to give all necessary assistance, assuring that the BEDC office will not be relocated from the community.

Recently, members of the Delta community took to the streets to protest against the incessant power outage in the area and outrageous estimated bills being imposed on them by the company.

BEDC is responsible for the retail distribution of electricity in Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo States with geographical coverage of 55,770 square kilometres.

The company operates from 25 business districts with approximately 350 offices located across the four states with about 13 million people and about 4 million households.

The DisCo is the 4th largest in distribution capacity and 3rd largest in the number of households among the Distribution Companies (Discos) in Nigeria.

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Apprehension Over AMCON MD’s Visit to EFCC

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AMCON Ahmed Kuru

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The visit of the Managing Director of Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Ahmed Kuru, to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is already causing apprehension.

Mr Kuru was reportedly grilled by the anti-graft agency on Wednesday after he was invited by the organisation for questioning.

Already, it is being speculated that his ordeal with the EFCC may be connected with the plans by AMCON to name and shame chronic debtors, who took loans from commercial banks but refused to repay as promised.

Yesterday, the AMCON MD was grilled by the agency over allegations bordering on the diversion of assets and the sale of the properties to his associates at ridiculous prices.

According to reports, Mr Kuru allegedly sold properties valued at billions of naira belonging to Atlantic to another despite a court case on the assets.

Atlantic was accused of loan default with Skye Bank and the properties in collateral were seized and allegedly sold below the prevailing market value while the action was instituted in court.

Amid these accusations, the EFCC is yet to comment at the time of filing this report.

AMCON is an agency set up by the federal government to acquire all toxic loans of commercial banks, with the aim of recovering them.

In November 2021, the agency submitted a list containing its top 1,000 obligors owing N4.4 trillion to the National Assembly.

Mr Kuru had said with the support of the parliament and the Judiciary, recovering the total current exposure on all Eligible Bank Asset (EBAs), which stands at N4.4 trillion, may be possible before the sunset period.

He had lamented that more recently, due to the socio-economic downturn, the market values of assets have significantly reduced, lower than the valuation at the point of EBAs purchase, making it extremely difficult to consummate sales transactions.

“To enable AMCON to succeed in its national call to duty, AMCON solicits the continued support of this Distinguished Committee. The Judiciary must be encouraged to respect the provisions of the law that require them to fast-track cases before them, issue certificates of judgement on properties, which the Corporation has no collateral and demand debtors to deposit Judgment sum before proceeding to appeal any judgement,” he had stated.

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NSCDC Denies Operating Illegal Oil Bunkering Site

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Illegal Oil Bunkering Site

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has debunked the rumour that its marine exhibits yard in Ogbogoro jetty, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, was an illegal oil bunkering site.

This was made known by the Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Aliyu Bature, who explained that the Ogbogoro jetty has remained its marine exhibits yard for over 10 years.

He added that every marine exhibit like boats, vessels, barges drums, arrested by or handed over to the Corps by sister agencies for oil theft are usually detained at the yard, pending investigation and court prosecution.

This follows claims made by Obio/Akpor LGA Chairman, Mr George Ariolu, that the NSCDC marine exhibits yard in Ogbogoro was being used for illegal bunkering activities.

In the reaction to the allegation, Mr Bature disclosed that the NSCDC Commandant General, Mr Abubakar Audi, in December 2021 visited the said yard, maintaining that it was a known fact that the yard has been the Corps’ marine exhibits yard.

The agency said some of the exhibits, including 220 drums of AGO and eight Cotonou boats in the yard were seized by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the NSCDC last week, while other vessels were taken by operatives of the Corps.

He disclosed that the agency has got an intelligence report that hoodlums were planning to attack the yard, by setting it ablaze in order to destroy the exhibits, assuring that such plans will be strongly resisted.

“This place is our marine exhibits yard and not an illegal dump. Most of the exhibits here were arrested by the Navy and handed over to us, while some of the arrests too were made by us.

“The commandant general was here in December and he’s aware that this place is our exhibits yard.

“The Commandant General has deployed personnel to ensure the place is secured, Ogbogoro jetty is a no-go area for anybody because destroying this place means destroying the exhibits to prove that these products were all stolen.

“We had it on good authority that hoodlums were planning to attack this place in order to destroy the exhibits and we will not allow that,” the statement said.

The NSCDC also urged members of the public to report any personnel of the organisation who is involved in the business of aiding and abetting oil theft, illegal bunkering and vandalism, warning that the agency will not hesitate to show such person the way out.

“If any of our personnel is caught, please report the person to us and we will discipline the person accordingly.

“The NSCDC leadership does not in any way condone acts of indiscipline. We are charged to protect critical national assets and if any of our personnel is involved, we will not take it likely.

“That is why those who were in charge of the anti-vandal unit have been disbanded, and are being investigated currently by the committee set up by the Commandant General,” the statement said.

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