Community leader arrested over disruption of operations at oil wells

Port Harcourt, March 21, 2017 (TNE): Mr Chikeobi Alali, a community leader in Ogba Ndoni Egbema Local Government Area of Rivers has been arrested for allegedly disrupting production at an oilfield operated by Agip.
Mrs Ngozi Alali, Chikeobi’s wife, claimed on Tuesday that her husband was arrested by the Joint Task Force (JTF), “Operation Delta Safe” on Saturday.
“My husband was arrested by soldiers and taken away and when we traced him to the heaquarters in Yenagoa, the soldiers feigned ignorance.
“Efforts by  his family and  lawyer to secure his bail has been fruitless; we were told on Monday to write a letter to the Commander of JTF to allow us to see him; we wrote the letter and we were told that
the commander was  not around.
“My husband is the Chairman of the local government oil and gas landlords’ association; he was arrested with the secretary and one other person, the two others arrested along him have since been released.
She explained that the problem was over the failure to  review an agreement in a Memorandum  of Understanding (MoU) entered into with Agip.
“At the last meeting they held last year, they gave a deadline of  November 2016 and all the parties agreed that if after November 2016, the agreement was not reviewed, the community would shut down the oil wells, that was why they arrested him,” she said.
Spokesman of joint military force deployed in the Niger Delta  region, Maj. Abdulahi Abubakar confirmed the arrest, saying that 11 oil wells belonging to Agip were shut down  by the host community.
The spokesman said that it was wrong for the community to take laws into  their hands and noted that efforts were underway to resolve the crisis as officials of the oil firm had visited the suspect.
In a reaction, Mr Pat Obiene, a social activist, has called for the immediate release of the community leader as his detention had resulted in a protest at Agip’s office in Port Harcourt on Monday.
“From available records, Agip reneged on an arrangement to review the expired MoU in November 2016, and we are already in March 2017.
Officials of Agip declined comments on the development.(TNE)

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