The All Progressives Congress, APC in Rivers State has accused construction giant, Julius Berger of encouraging illegal bunkering activities in the state by allegedly patronizing AGO sourced from the operators at prices below market standard price.
This is as it alleged the Governor Nyesom Wike administration is complicit as it is allegedly shielding the company from public scrutiny even though it’s activities are now threatening the health of Rivers people.
Publicity Secretary of the party in Rivers State, Chris Finebone in a statement in Port Harcourt alleged Julius Berger sources it’s entire 300,000 litres of AGO it uses per day at various construction sites from illegal refiners as they sell between N220 and N240 per liter as against the official ex-depot price of AGO from NIPCO and other major importers range from N315 to N350 per litre.
Finebone said the alleged action of the construction giant allegedly created a huge demand for the kpofire (illegally refined) products.
Part of the statement read: “From 2015 to date, most major projects by the Rivers State Government since its inauguration are being executed by Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd. At the present peak of Julius Berger activities in Rivers State, the company consumes on the average about 300,000 litres of AGO per day.
“This has undeniably become one single biggest AGO consumption volume in Rivers State. Sadly, the entire volume of AGO is sourced from illegal refiners of the product locally called ‘kpofire’ and the reason is that Julius Berger in Rivers State buys AGO at between N220 and N240 per litre, whereas, the official ex-depot price of AGO from NIPCO and other major importers range from N315 to N350 per litre. With Julius Berger buying the product from illegal refiners below market minimum prices, a huge demand has been created for the kpofire (illegally refined) products.
“This naturally has encouraged so many people (young and old) to join the illegal refining business because of a thriving and ready market. The result is a burgeoning illegal refining business which has, in turn, heightened the level of soot descending on residents of Port Harcourt and environs, causing all manner of health problems for both the young and old, in the present and for the future.
“Rivers APC is deeply worried that the hurried action of the governor in declaring some persons wanted and and leaving out others, is typical of the kneejerk style of Gov Wike and will only scratch the problem on the surface without getting to its very roots with a view to stamping it out. The picture this action of the governor portrays is that of someone who is either not ready to act effectively and holistically or protecting some persons due to fear or self-interest. Who is the governor afraid of in declaring all suspects involved in the illegal business wanted in all the LGAs particularly those contiguous to Port Harcourt?”
The APC called on Governor Wike to choose the protection of lives of residents of Port Harcourt and Rivers State over his alleged interests in Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd and simply do the needful to end the menace of the spot in the state.
In a related development, W.J Wocha, Fubara Ohaka and Promise Ezeku, were on Thursday named as the most prominent illegal oil bunkering kingpins in Emohua local government area, as Governor Wike visited the area to inspect some illegal refining camps recently discovered in the area.