By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
A community leader in oil rich Odidi community, Chief Johnny Arigbogha has been arrested as the State branch of the Committee For The Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) battles oil firm, NECONDE Energy Ltd, operators of OML 42 in Odidi community, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Aribogha who is the chairman of Odidi community was arrested at his office complex, Aribogha Close, Refinery Road, Effurun Delta State following a petition by the state CDHR chairman, Comrade Keinde Taiger to the Inspector General of Police, IGP on alleged embezzlement of Odidi community fund, diversion of finds to personal accounts and conspiracy with one of the oil company, Neconde Energy Limited to retain ghost workers, job hijacking, illegal contracts in exchange for community development and threat of life.
He was arrested by the Special Tactical Squad attached to the Inspector General of police, Force Headquarters office Abuja.
The right body also reiterated calls on the Federal Government to revoke the operational licence of NECONDE Energy over company’s conspiracy with selected group in the community to substitute the community development with contracts and ghost workers job slots.
The Delta CDHR Boss said “before we called for the arrest of Chief Arigbogha, we wrote to Neconde Energy Limited through our Legal department, telling the oil company to stop paying money meant for the community into individuals private accounts. The company is encouraging unbridled corruption with their divide and rule system of dealing with few community leaders and depriving the community of their legitimate benefit of being an oil producing and host community”.
However, before Arigbogha’s arrest he disclosed that the use of his private account to handle community funds was a unanimous decision reached between him and executives of the community, adding that there is arrangement with the community to have a community account from January. 2019.
The rights body, has previously written a petition to the federal government through the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, over what it described as divide and rule conduct of NECONDE management, cause disunity and confusion in the community by recognising and dealing with few interest group against the general wellbeing of the people and also called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC to Investigate Chief Johnny Arigbogha who is the chairman of the oil rich Odidi community for diverting community funds to his businesses private bank account.
Though Chief Johnny Arigbogha was petitioned before the former Inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, over embezzlement of community fund, using his personal account to manage community funds, he refused to honor invitation by IG of police before he instituted a court action seeking to deprive the police from acting on the petition against him.
CDHR boss also noted that was also that the process of employment by the company is shrouded in secrecy for few elders and community executives to hijack the process, thereby allowing provisions for ghost workers slots that are often being shared between community and company representatives.
Every efforts to reach the management of NECONDE Energy company proved abortive as the representatives of the company declined comments.