22 ExxonMobil Workers Regain Freedom in Rivers
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has released the 22 Staff of Exxon Mobil who were arrested last weekend for allegedly violating the state executive lockdown order. Wike had quarantined the oil workers, promising to prosecute them.
But the state attorney-general and commissioner of justice, Professor Zaccheus Adangor said that 22 oil workers were released without charges, explaining that the state government would no longer press charges against them.
It will be recalled that shortly after the arrest of the oil workers, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), issued a statement expressing displeasure with Wike’s action, describing it as part of the continuous harassment of its members on essential duty by security operatives.
Wike at a press conference in Port Harcourt, said the ExxonMobil staff were arrested while entering Rivers State from Eket, Akwa Ibom State, through the East-west Road.
“We will fight this fight legally. ExxonMobil cannot bring in 22 people illegally into Rivers State,” he said. According to him, ExxonMobil does not operate in Rivers State. They only make use of the Onne Port. “We are not sure of the health status of the people they brought into the state because they can enter Eleme and Onne communities.
“We cannot leave corporate bodies who are not obeying the laws while akara and groundnut sellers are being charged to court in Lagos. This ExxonMobil matter will expose those in Abuja. I am ready for them. Rivers State is not a pariah state and we will not be.”
The governor insisted that there was a deliberate plot by some persons in Abuja to ensure that people in Rivers State are infected with the Coronavirus. “Some people want the escalation of the virus in Rivers State. People were paid to canvass a negative narrative on Carveton Pilots. We are doing what we can within available resources to fight Coronavirus. You can fly, but as you fly and land, don’t enter our territory.
“People in Abuja are not happy. They want Rivers State to be infected. They want to kill Rivers people and I will not allow it. I was elected to protect Rivers people. Rivers State is not a pariah State.”
However, in the statement, the state attorney general said the oil workers were released following interventions by well-meaning Nigerians.