Oil surveillance payment: Bayelsa community drags Gov. Diri’s aide, three others to court over N5.1m fraud
Paramount ruler and the indigenes of the Adiegbe community in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa State have dragged a member of the State Centre for Youths Development, Constituency 1, Barr. Morris Sanuku and three others to court over alleged illegal diversion of N5.1million being paid by the Nigerian Ap Oil Company (NAOC) for the payment of oil pipeline surveillance jobs.
Also included in the suit are one Otike Ogodo, Godbless Berekpede, Darlon Security Limited and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The Adiegbe community, led by the paramount ruler, HRH Benedict Thompson, in a suit filed at the State High Court, Ekeremor Judicial Division with suit number EHC/21/2021, allege that three out of the five defendants impersonate the traditional head and collected the four months payment for 32 job slots of N40,000 per slot a month amounting to N5.1million and divert it for personal use.
The Adiegbe community is seeking the order of interlocutory injunction from the court to restrain the 4th and 5th defendants from further paying to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, their privies, representatives, assigns or howsoever described, any money(s) in respect of the 32 jobs slots for surveillance of the 5th defendants pipeline in Adiegbe community in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa State pending hearing and determination of substantive suit.
According to the notice of summon filed before the court and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the three claimants, HRH Benedict Thompson, the welfare Chairman of the community, Mr. Owoufinine Sele and the immediate past Chairman of the community, Mr. Samuel Subi, the allege illegal collection of the payment from NAOC is contrary to the resolution of the community the paramount Ruler, CDC Chairman and the Welfare Chairman shall be in charge of such collection of payments and pay beneficiaries of the jobs.
According to the suit, ”The paramount ruler of the community saddled with the responsibility of the safety of the pipeline was kept in the dark and completely excluded from signing of the purported MOU and that the defendants have succeeded by the fraudulent scheme to collect four months payment and have converted the money to their personal use and benefits without ploughing it to the purpose it was paid. The 1st,2nd and 3rd defendants refused to show the community a copy of the MOU in spite of the repeated demands.”
Authorities of the Department of Security Service (DSS) and the State Police Command had invited the aide to the State Governor, Hon. Morris Sanuku and two others over allege impersonation and diversion of the sum of N5.1 million paid to them on behalf of the Adiegbe community of Ekeremor Local Government Area by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company(NAOC).
The controversy over the alleged diversion of the money is already generating tension in the local government and has led to the removal of Morris Sanuku as the PDP Leader in the community and replaced by Frank Olotu. The PDP family in the area expressed disappointment over the alleged involvement of the governor’s aide.
Sources within the Adiegbe community, confirmed to our correspondent that Morris Sanuku, who they accused of impersonating the Paramount Ruler of the Adiegbe Community, HRH Benedict Thompson, in connivance with one Godbless Berekpebede, who was alleged to have impersonated the Adiegbe Community Youth President and one Rose Sanuku who is also allege to have impersonated the Woman Leader of the community, collected the money and disappear into thin air.
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