A female petitioner and buiding material contractor, Mrs Saviour Mercy Ihejiere, has told the Rivers State Commission of Inquiry Investigating Alleged Police Brutality, Tourture, Killing and Human Rights Violations committed by police officers in the state how she lost her two months’ old pregnacy from complications arising from an alleged torture and assault by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Eleme Division, Mr Adamu Manaseh Jessi in his office in 2019.
Ihejiere made the allegation when she appeared before the panel to give evidence and defend her petition during the ongoing sitting of the commission at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, over the weekend.
She alleged that the DPO, alongside his orderly, assualted and beat her up when she went to demand her N70,000 debt, being the balance of contract sum owed her by Adamu Maneseh Jessi in 2017.
According to her, she supplied building materials to the DPO in 2017, 2018 and 2019, while the accused was in Okirika Police Division for the construction of the divisional police headquarters, adding that efforts made to get Adamu Maneseh to pay the balance of the money since 2017 have proved abortive as he blocked her mobile calls from gaining access to his lines.
She further told the commission that, prescisely, on October 15, 2020, a friend informed her that the DPO had been transferred to Eleme division through a friend after two years of not having any contact with the accused.
“On that fateful day, I went to see him in his office, and after waiting for several hours, one of the admin officers asked me to enter the DPO’s Office, which I did.
“On sighting me in his office, his countenances changed, and he became furious, and wanted to know who permitted me into his office.
“Immediately, he summoned all the personnel working in the admin to know who brought me in, and after that, he ordered two female officers, including his orderly, to push me out of his office, which I ressisted, and insisted that I must collect my money before leaving.
“It was at this point that he got up from his chair, and told his ordely to go and bring his teargas”.
The female witness and mother of two, told the panel that after beating her, the DPO seized her phone and teargased her in the office, adding that she screamed and was wailing, shouting and was then taken out to be detained without any access to her family members.
She explained that her screaming attracted many officers into the DPO’s office, adding that the DPO, on seeing the seriousness of the situation, informed the Area Commander in Eleme, ACP Yaya Hassan, who invited her, alongside the DPO to his office.
Ihejiere added that the area commander, after listening to explanations from both sides, blamed the DPO for his conduct, and ordered him to pay the balance sum of N70,000 owed to her.
“Later, my husband and brothers came to the Area Command’s Office in Eleme, and rushed me to a hospital in Okrika, where I was admitted, and after some days, I lost the pregnancy as a result of the teargas, and merciless beating.
“I had earlier told the DPO that I was pregnant, and that he should pay me my money so that I can take care of my pregnancy”, she stated.
Ihejiere, however, demanded the sum of N3million as compensation to carter for the expenses the family incurred during her ordeal, just as she also that the DPO should be made to face justice for misconduct and apologise to his husband and her family members.
The Presiding Chairman of the commission, Justice Chukwunoye Uriri (rtd), relying on the rules of the panel, adjourned the matter to December 9, 2020, for continuation and cross-examination of the witness by the police.
NCWS Hails RSG’s Steps Against Illegal Refining
The President of the Rivers State Branch of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Princess Mariam Tolofari, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for taking decisive steps against illegal oil refining, air pollution and environmental degradation in the state.
Speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt, state president of NCWS maintained that Wike’s physical visit to some sites of the illegal refineries, mandating and supporting the state security agencies, local government chairmen and chiefs to swiftly end illegal refining has significantly reduced the menace of soot and its attendant environmental degradation and health hazard in the state.
Tolofari said that the governor’s resolve to end the soot in the state was heroic and valiant, while also backing the governor’s call on the Federal Government to respond to the issues giving rise to the soot epidemic in the state.
“We appreciate the governor for taking the bold initiative against operators of illegal refineries and the hydra-headed monster of black soot in Rivers State. We pledge to sustain and support a Green State that is healthy and beneficial to us all”, she said.
She further urged women to restrain their children and wards from joining persons engaged in ‘Kpo fire’ activities and ensure they stay focused in the pursuit of academic excellence and genuine business goals not associated to crime.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Join War Against ‘Kpo Fire’, Monarchs Tell Rivers People
Some traditional rulers in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area have called on Rivers people to support the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on the war against illegal oil bunkering.
The traditional rulers include the Paramount Ruler of Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, the EzeRisi/Ohia Mbam Abali, Eze Christopher Wonodi, and the Paramount Ruler of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu.
The monarchs, who spoke in their palaces on the issue, said the war against ‘Kpofire’was a collective one as the situation has reached a dangerous point.
They also dismissed the claim that unemployment was responsible for the menace, adding that there was no society in the world where government employs everybody.
They also noted that the stealing of crude oil did not start today.
Speaking, Paramount Ruler of Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, said the situation has taken a serious pitch, adding that a lot of lives were being lost as a result of the soot.
Ihunwo also described the action of the governor as timely.
According to the Woji monarch, those in the business of illegal oil bunkering do not know the health hazard they were causing to the people.
Ihunwo said that, in 2018,he invited the youths to his palace and mobilise them against operators of illegal refineries using Woji as conduit channel for evacuation of illegally refined products, and stressed that because of the collective understanding and collaboration of all stakeholders, Woji has not recorded any such criminal act within the community.
He, therefore, challenged other monarchs to emulate the Woji example.
The monarch also acknowledged a reduction in soot in the atmosphere in the state capital, while the amount of oil spill on surfaces of water has also reduced.
Also speaking, the Eze Risi/Ohia Mbam Abali, Eze Christopher Wonodi, said the intervention of the governor has saved the people of the state from series of health challenges.
Wonodi said it behooves the people of Rivers State to give their maximum support to the governor to succeed in eliminating the scourge of the soot pandemic in the state.
He also advised the youths to desist from the nefarious act and find other legitimate means of eking out aliving.
Wonodi also said that his kingdom has started sensitising the people against involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu said Wike has shown that he has the capacity to solve societal problems.
Worenwu said that Iriebe community would comply fully with the governor’s directive to stop illegal oil bunkering, and warned those who may want to delve into the illegal business to stay away from the community.
While describing the governor’s action as welcome, the Iriebe monarch said the war against ‘Kpo fire’ needs the support of all members of the society, including the security agencies.
By: John Bibor, Oribim Ibama
ABOLGA Boss Declares Zero Tolerance On Oil Bunkering Activities
The Chairman of Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Hon. Daniel Daniel has thrown his weight behind the ongoing war against soot in Rivers State, assuring that his administration would do everything humanly possible to smoke out the criminal cartels involved in the illicit business.
The chairman, who declared that his administration would not condone activities of artisanal crude oil refineries in Abua/Odual, said he would demolish all illegal oil refining sites in the LGA, as directed by the state governor.
Speaking after visiting one of the uncovered artisanal crude oil bunkering sites in Odau Community, Daniel commended the efforts of the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his relentless pursuit towards bringing to an end the menace called soot, which was threatening the very existence of the people in Rivers State.
He added that the practical steps taken by the governor within the last few weeks was yielding results.
Daniel used the opportunity to caution those who play politics with the fight against soot in the state to desist forthwith.
He further added that it was not proper to politicise this all important issue, which was causing harm to the environment and killing the people slowly.
The chairman called on all indigenes and residents of Abua/Odual Local Government Area to join forces to nip the danger posed by the soot the bud.
The ABOLGA chief executive alsosaid that anyone with useful information onthe locationsof the sites and names of operators where illegal oil bunkering activities are taking place within the area should report with immediate effect, to him or the DPO of the Abua/Odual Divisional Police Command for necessary action.
He disclosed that as the chairman of council, he has knowledge of all forests/communities in the LGA, adding that his administration would leave no stone unturned in implementing the directives of the state governor.
The site visited in Odau Community has over 15 boiling pots and occupies an estimated geographical area of over one hectare of land.
The Tide learnt that the site is bounded by communities from Ahoada-West LGA of Rivers State and Ogbia LGA in Bayelsa State.
Those who accompanied the chairman on the enforcement visit are the DPO of the Divisional Police Command and his men; the C4i LGA commander and his team of gallant men.
Others are the Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Hon. Okpokipoiy Peters; Supervisor for Environment, Hon Vincent Reuben Obu; and his works counterpart, Hon. Zinami Fyneroad Iwariso; Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs to the Chairman, Hon Alex Walters who is an indigene of the Odau Community, among others.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
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