Oil spillage: CLO writes IGP, DSS over alleged diversion of N33.5m compensation

oil-spill-in-niger-delta

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has sent a protest letter to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Department of State Security (DSS) over the alleged complicity of Commissioner of Police, Legal ,Force Headquarters, Umar Surejudeen in the alleged disobedience of court order and the alleged diversion of the sum of N33.5million ordered compensation to the indigenes of Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw Area of Bayelsa State over a multiple oil spill in 2013.

According to the CLO, though the alleged accomplices identified within the staff of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NOAC) and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) have been dragged before the Federal High Court over alleged four count charges of conspiracy, fraud, theft, electronic fraud and unlawful diversion of fun, the Civil Society groups led by the Civil Liberties organisation wants the accused Police Personel investigated and dismissed over alleged complicity in the crime against the benefiting community.

The CLO, in the protest letter to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the DSS, claimed that preliminary investigation showed that the unholy alliance and conspiracy of the CP Legal, Force Headquarters, Abuja (Umar Surajudeen) with United Bank of Africa (UBA PLC) against an oil producing community in the Niger Delta (Azuzuama Community in Bayelsa State was evident and as an organization committed in ensuring the rights of the common man, oppressed and voiceless, “we the CLO in strong terms condemn the unpatriotic actions of the CP Legal Force Headquarters, Umar Surejudeen, which is causing tension in the Azuzuama Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and demand for his dismissal from the Nigerian Police Force”.

In the letter, which was signed by its Bayelsa State chapter Chairman, Chief Nengi James, made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the CLO stated that “From our findings, the Federal High Court Yenagoa via its ruling of 1st Dec. 2015, directed UBA PLC as Garnishee to pay the Judgment sum of N33,579,450.00 (which was awarded against AGIP OIL Company) into the Court’s Account within two weeks of which failure to do so, the judgment creditors could take steps to enforce and execute the said order. As UBA PLC (Garnishee) refused to comply with the order of the Court, the judgment creditors (represented by Kelvin Ejelonu (Esq), of Kelvin Ejelonu& Associates) commenced moves to execute the said order and an Application was made to the then commissioner of police, Bayelsa State (P. Ogunshakin) for policemen to go for the execution of the court order on UBA PLC (Swali Branch, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State)”.

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“In the course of the Execution, the Manager of the said UBA PLC Branch pleaded with the Registrar of the FHC to accept Manager’s Cheque to the tune of the judgment sum to offset the said judgment sum as there was not enough cash in the Bank. The said cheques were made out in the name of the Registrar Federal High Court, Yenagoa, of which he immediately on leaving the Bank lodged the said cheques in the account of Federal High Court, Yenagoa domiciled with Fidelity Bank. The Account was credited and an alert was received by the Registrar, Federal High Court.”

“But then UBA PLC was desperate by all fraudulent means to stop the payment and in furtherance to that the next day 10th March, 2016, the Bank through one of its officials, John Iyinbo sent an email to the central clearing group stopping the clearance of the cheques claiming that “there is an order of interlocutory injunction of the Court of Appeal, Port-Harcourt Division retraining UBA from paying” this caused the said alert received by the Federal High Court Registrar to revert. Meanwhile, there is no order of interlocutory injunction of the court of Appeal anywhere restraining UBA PLC from paying the said money because till date, UBA PLC has not been able to produce the alleged order”.

“Subsequently, the judgment creditor’s counsel, Kelvin Ejelonu (Esq) petitioned UBA PLC to the commissioner of police, Bayelsa State who assigned the petition to the monitoring unit of the same command for diligent investigation. UBA PLC and its officials were implicated after the investigation hence the matter was filed on 21/6/2016 as charge No: FHC/YNG/46C/2016 against UBA PLC and some of its officials, so far, the matter has since come up on 14th of September, 2016, 5th of October, 2016, 26th October, 2016, 30th November, 2016 and on 30thJan. 2017”.

‘Our concern is the unethical action of the CP Legal, Force Headquarters who posted or caused to be posted a new O/C Legal to Bayelsa State police command with express instruction to withdraw the criminal matter against UBA PLC and to transfer the case file to Abuja, without the knowledge of the complainant. The implication is that UBA PLC seems to have achieved what they couldn’t achieve with CP OGUNSHAKIN (the then commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State).”

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“We, the CLO identifies with the judgment creditor AZUZUAMA COMMUNITY in Bayelsa State and also watch with interest in this matter to see whether AGIP Oil Company, UBA PLC and Government Agencies would keep on brazenly undermining communities in the Region and also exhibit total lack of respect for Court Orders, when it affects communities in the region and when such community resorts to self-help, the common cry becomes Niger Delta restiveness and militancy.”

“In the light of the above facts, we call for an official investigation of the matter by the appropriate quarters (by i.e the IGP, PSC and even DSS as the said act is a threat to security in the Niger Delta) and if the CP Legal force headquarters is found to be in any way culpable for Abuse of office and corruption he should be dismissed and prosecuted forthwith and if this is not done then we have no option than to assume as follows: That the Government is selective and not serious about the Anti-corruption fight. That the Anti-corruption fight is targeted at certain groups and individuals”.

“That Government wants to perpetuate injustice on the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta, through the said police officer and his collaborators. That the police is quick to punish its lower ranks while protecting its corrupt senior officers. That Acts of corruption, impunity and Abuse of office is very much prevalent in Nigerian Police Force. This is a very serious matter that has serious implications to the quest for peace in the Niger Delta region as Azuzuama Community and Neighbouring communities watch with interest to see how this matter would end up, whether an Oil Producing Community or any community at all in the country would try to be on the side of the law while injustice and corrupt acts of officers like CP Legal, Force Headquarters would keep on forcing them towards self-help”.