Troops of two divisions of the Nigerian Army have uncovered and destroyed a massive illegal refinery in Okoloma, Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State and Umuahale area in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.
The discovery of the refineries was made during an operational visit led by the General Officers Commanding, 6 Division, Major General Jamal Abdussalam and his counterpart in the 82 Division, Major General Hassan Dada.
This was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday, by the Acting Deputy Director, 6 Division Army Public Relations, Lieutenant Colonel Jonah Danjuma and sent to newsmen.Refineries In Rivers, Abia
The statement said the raid was part of efforts by the Army to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta and South East regions of the country.
The statement reads, “The General Officers Commanding 6 and 82 Divisions, Nigerian Army Major General Jamal Abdussalam and Major General Hassan Dada, jointly paid an operational visit to the illegal oil bunkering empire located at Okoloma, Oyigbo Local Government Area and Umuahale area in Ukwa West LGA in Rivers and Abia States respectively.
“The locations are at the fringes of the Imo River, where the two Divisions are jointly conducting clearance operations from Rivers and Abia States.
“The visit was essentially to have an on-the-spot assessment of the illegality perpetrated by criminals and economic saboteurs as well as boost troops’ morale for a job well done. It was a follow-up to the earlier raid on one of the camps last week by troops of the 6 Division.
“While at the fringes of the Imo River, deep into the thickly forested areas, the GOCs were conducted through a tour by the Commander, 6 Division Garrison, Brigadier General Edet Effiong and Commander 14 Brigade, Brigadier General Olusola Diya.
“They saw the hub of illegal oil bunkering, shrouded with cooking pots, boilers, surface reservoirs and huge quantities of illegal products in dug-in reservoirs carefully concealed, under the thick forest with interconnected pipes spanning several kilometers.
“The crime scene points to the fact that it is an organized crime that has been running for a long period, owing to the huge investment made to sabotage the national economy.
“The GOCs who jointly addressed the troops charged them to ensure that all illegal bunkering sites are destroyed.
“They also re-echoed President Bola Tinubu’s directive on zero tolerance for illegal oil bunkering, charging troops to sustain the operational tempo against this mindless criminality.”
The GOCs, the statement continued, said if the illicit activity is allowed to continue, it will affect the Nigerian economy gravely.
“Additionally, it is believed that the proceeds from these illegalities are used to fund other crimes.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to deny the enemies of the state freedom of action and ensure that these streams of funding are completely dismantled.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) said it has in the past weeks uncovered no fewer than 83 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.
The NNPCL disclosed this on its X handle, adding that 15 illegal pipeline connections were also discovered within the same period.
“In the past week, 15 illegal pipeline connections and 83 illegal refineries have been uncovered in the Niger Delta,” the NNPCL said.
According to a video shared with the post, it was disclosed that between January 6 and 12, a total of 211 incidents of oil theft and vandalism were reported.
Seven cases of vandalism were recorded including a wellhead in the Umuajuloke community in Rivers State.
In Owerri, it was said that an active wellhead was found with several illegal connections.
It was also learnt that nine cases of oil spills were recorded in the week, mostly caused by vandalism, adding that Ogboinbiri in Bayelsa State has been ruined by oil spills.
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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