RIVERS State State Governor, Nyesom Wike has charged the state Commissioner of Police to collaborate with other security agencies, council chairmen and traditional rulers to fish out all those involved in illegal bunkering and artisanal refining for prosecution.

The governor accused those engaged in the illicit acts of being responsible for the environmental pollution endangering the health of residents of the state.

He gave the directive Rivers State Police Command dinner and award night which was held at the Police Officers Mess in Port Harcourt on Friday.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri and made available to newsmen.

The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, declared that the state government had resolved to tackle those involved in crude oil theft and refining once and for all.

Wike stated that the government was willing to provide the police and other security agencies all that was required to dislodge and end the activities of artisanal refiners in Rivers State.

According to him, “The state is prepared to fight them more than ever before.”

The governor said since the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka assumed duty last year, Rivers State has witnessed peace and improved policing.

“Little wonder the crime index in the state has reduced drastically. We thought we are the only people witnessing it, but with the award you got from the wife of the Inspector General of Police, it is an eloquent testimony that what we are seeing as a state is also being observed from all the nation,” Wike stated.

The governor said policing in Rivers State has improved remarkably because the management of the Nigeria Police Force at the Force Headquarters and the state command, respectively, distanced themselves from politics.

“As a state, we will continue to support the security agencies in the State. Our support for security agencies is not only centered on the police force. We are also extending similar gesture to the  Navy, Air force and others.  For us, we believe the primary function of any responsible government is to protect life and property. So, we have no option  than to continue to support in providing logistics and everything that can make the security agencies in the state function very well.

“Because we believe that if our people are safe and life here is peaceful, there will be an increase in economic activities and the Internally Generated Revenue will also go up,” the governor added.

He commended Eboka, the 42nd CP in Rivers State for discharging his duty professionally and not joining the league of some of his predecessors, ‘’who were posted to the state to cause turmoil and instability.’’

The governor announced a N1 million reward for each of the recipients of the Rivers State Police Command award and N10mn for the command for organizing the event.

Eboka explained that  2021 was a remarkable year because Rivers State emerged as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the award recipients include: Godstime Nwuju, (best traffic officer); Insp Winfrey Akpan, (best controller); CSP Bako Aghashim, (best Divisional Police Officer); CSP Grace Wonwu, (best female DPO) while CSP Adamu was awarded the best visiting tactical team leader.