Federal Government deliberately using Soot to depopulate Rivers State— Governor Wike

Governor Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has made a disquieting declaration that the APC-led Federal Government deliberately plans to eliminate a large percentage of the state’s population by her failure to resolve the menance of the soot condensation of the atmosphere in major parts of the state.

The governor announced that the Attorney General of Rivers State has been directed to sue the federal government and International oil companies operating in the state over the soot.

Addressing a delegation of the United Nations at the Government House Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike called on the United Nations to prevail on the federal government to act on the soot.

The governor said: “Thank God that the United Nations has come in view of the issues we have raised. We thank the United Nations for their concern on the Rivers Environment as it relates to the soot. “If we must move on, we must situate the cause of the soot and the fact that the Federal Government has decided to make sure that a greater percentage of the state dies.

“The Federal Government wants to eliminate a greater percentage of the state. The problem of soot is not caused by the Rivers State Government. It is caused by Federal Agencies. ” The governor said that the Federal Government and her agencies are practically damaging the environment by their illegal activities.

“The Rivers State Government do not own companies that refine crude. We have made representations to the Federal Government and her agencies on the issue of soot, to no avail . “We have called on the security agencies to find more refined ways of destroying the illegal refineries. We have informed the National Council of Environment, the military and all Federal Regulatory Agencies, but they are not interested in intervening “, Governor Wike said.

The governor said that the refusal of the Federal Government to act on all data supplied on the soot is a deliberate ploy to make Rivers people suffer health hazards which will lead to untimely deaths. “We want the international community to come to our aid and pressure the Federal Government not to politicise environmental issues. We are ready to work with the international community to address this challenge. “All the Federal Government is doing is to chase shadows , organising people to protest. Until they stop politicising very serious issues and focus on governance, we will head nowhere”, he said.

He reiterated that the soot is non discriminatory as it affects everyone irrespective of status and political affiliation. He said that the Rivers State Government has taken all necessary steps, pointing out that the remaining steps rest with the Federal Government.

Wike said: “The federal government is using the soot as a political strategy, not knowing that it will fail woefully. “I have directed the Honourable Attorney General to brief an environmental lawyer to sue the Federal Government and the international oil companies over the issue of soot”.

He wondered why the Federal Government would withdraw $1billion for security challenge and not withdraw same amount for environmental challenge in the Niger Delta. He said the $1 billion withdrawn by the Federal Government is mainly for election purposes and not for security.

Leader of the United Nations Delegation to Rivers State, Charles Ekong appreciated the steps already taken by the Rivers State Government . He said that the mission of the delegation is investigative in nature, so as to determine a lasting solution to the soot challenge in the state.

In his remarks, Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Adebayo Durojaiye said that the United Nations Delegation met with officials of the Rivers State Government on the soot challenge.

He said: “We have met with the Rivers State Commissioner of Environment and Commissioner of Health on the soot challenge. They have briefed us on the efforts of the Rivers State Government to address the soot and to
checkmate this menace

The United Nations Delegation to Rivers State include: Charles Ekong (Leader, World Health Organisation, Brazaville, Congo), BR Ravishankar (United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, Environmental Expert), Or Luka Mangreep Ibrahim (World Health Organisation, Nigeria), Pier Mudu (World Health Organisation Headquarters).

Simeon Nwakaudu,                                  Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media. 18th April, 2018

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