It was another tale of woes as a section of the Port Harcourt refinery in Eleme Local Council Area of Rivers State undergoing renovation at an estimated cost of $5 dollars, was on Saturday January 1, 2022 gutted by fire.
The fire, whose source was yet to be ascertained as at press time, started in the early hours but was reportedly put off without having much impact on the main facilities.
A worker who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident; the source said the combined efforts of workers on the ground, helped prevent the fire from spread to other parts of the facility.
The ongoing renovation is due for completion in April 2023. The management is yet to make any statement and efforts to contact the management has proved abortive.
The Port Harcourt refinery which is currently US dollars for mere renovation is the first and largest refinery in the country built in 1965.
Sadly, the refinery like the others is not producing, but there has been complaints of illegal oil bunkering in Port Harcourt and other parts of the state.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in this regard, has directed local council chairmen, particularly that of Port Harcourt City, to go after illegal crude oil refining sites and shut them down with immediate effect in a bid to curb the environmental menace caused by artisanal crude oil refiners in the State.
The governor also directed community leaders to locate, identify and report to his office, all those behind illegal bunkering and crude oil refining sites in their localities for prosecution.
Wike, in his 2022 New Year message, said the directive stemmed from failure of the Federal Government and its security agencies to apprehend those behind illegal oil bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners in the state.
“We have drawn the Federal Government’s attention to this problem, and requested for its intervention to stop illegal bunkering and artisanal crude oil refiners, which have been identified as the main sources of the soot.