Members of The 13-member disbursement committee of Ejamah-Ebubu, Eleme Local Government Area(LGA), of Rivers state (aka C-13), including its 80 year old chairman, Chief Augustus Alalina Nyonwi WERE allegedly subjected to intensive interrogation that lasted for several hours by the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID of the rivers state Police Command recently. The interrogation which started at about 12 noon, ended at about 5 pm when the people were allowed to go home.
However, the committee members said it was better than being dragged to Abuja as has been the practice in the past.
They thanked the Inspector General(IG), of Police, Usman Baba for getting the officers to obey court judgement in a case bothering on disbursement of oil spill compensation funds, which they handled.
The members also expressed the gratitude to the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Effiong Okon for his interventions which they suspected was the reason they were not arrested and detained by the Police yesterday after their invitation at the state criminal Investigation Department (SCID), in Port Harcourt, the state capital yesterday.
The C-13 who spoke through their Lawyer, Ayodele Salami expressed satisfaction in the outcome of the Police invitation to his clients, saying that it was within the provisions of the court order in an ongoing court case on the matter.
Salami said, “I can confirm to you that the meeting between my clients C-13 and the Police yesterday went very well, my clients said statements were taken from them and aftershock they were asked to go home and come back in a date in January.
“I am grateful to the IGP and the CP here in the state for their quick intervention, after the media outburst last time, what transpired yesterday was contrary to what had been going on, so we’re happy that the Police hierarchy has done swift and great job here.
“Again contrary to the feelers we got before the C-13 got to the Police that already some officers from Force headquarters in Abuja were already around to take them down to Abuja as usual, it was confirmed again that there was no such thing.
“What is happening now is what the court judgement said that the police should do, invite the men from time to time to get statements from them to facilitate their investigations and let them go afterwards, but they were not doing it untill the step we took recently to involve the media.
“Even in the ongoing case, there is also a court order restraining the Police from harassing, arresting, and detaining them either in the state or taking them outside the state in respect of the case intill judgement is delivered.”
The C-13 Spokesman reiterated the usual corporation of the members with the Police and the court throughout the matter to ensure smooth and successful resolution of all issues to the satisfaction of parties involved.
He noted the appeal by the members that the matter be handled by the police in the State, adding that journeying to Abuja from time to time is too hectic for them, particularly the community paramount Ruler, HRH, Chief Augustus Nyonwii who is 80 years of age and Chairman of the disbursement committee.
Recall that Ejamah-Ebubu is hosting Oil Mining Lease(OML)-11 operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), which won the famous ever multibillion oil spill Court judgement against Shell.
The case lasted for 30 years. The compensation was finally paid in 2020, and 13-man disbursement committee led by the paramount Ruler of the community, HRH Chf. Augustus Nyonwi was appointed to see to the peaceful disbursement of the sum.
The Chief and his team reportedly distributed the sum of N5million to every member of the community, including babies delivered and about to be delivered within the period of the capturing for the disbursement.
Part of the fund was also said to be used in building the 8.5 Kilometer road which apparently is the only accessible link road to the Fedeal government major investments in Onne oil and Gas Free Zone, following the dilapidated portions of Eleme-Ogoni axis of East-West road have become nearly impossible by heavy duty trucks and smaller vehicles.
The matter was filed, handled and won by late Lucious Nwosu, Senior Advocate Of Nigetia(SAN).
However, some persons in the community are trying to use the police to cow the dully appointed committee members to sign out the management of the community account to them, the media learnt.