19 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has announced plans to sue the Federal Government and International Oil Companies operating in the state over the hydrocarbon soot plaguing the state.
Wike alleged that the APC Federal Government deliberately plans to eliminate a greater percentage of the state’s population by her failure to act on the soot and its primary causes.
Addressing a delegation of the United Nations at the Government House in Port Harcourt, during a high-profile meeting to tackle the soot, Wike said the State Government has taken all necessary steps to end the soot, pointing out that the remaining steps were domiciled with the Federal Government.
He wondered why the Federal Government would withdraw $1 billion for security challenge and not withdraw the same amount for the environmental challenge in the Niger Delta. He said the $1billion withdrawn by the Federal Government was mainly for election purposes and not for security.
The governor further disclosed that the Attorney General of Rivers State has been directed to brief an environmental lawyer, to sue the Federal Government and International Oil Companies operating in the state over the soot.
According to him, “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.
“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 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 further said that the refusal of the Federal Government to act on all data supplied on the soot was 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 politicizing very serious issues and focus on governance, we will head nowhere”, he said.
For his part, Leader of the United Nations Delegation to Rivers State, Dr. Charles Ekong, said that the mission of the delegation was investigative, so as to determine a lasting solution to the soot challenge in the state.
“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.”