A leader in Aghoro ll community, Chief Alex Toweizei had dismissed the separate 72 hours ultimatums issued to Bayelsa State governor senator Douye Diri and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, over alleged complicity in the freezing of Afrotex account and delay in creating a separate account the state governor had promised to open to enable SPDC to pay any money belonging to the community pending when the community conflict would be addressed.
This was made available to Congress correspondent in Asaba, Delta state on Tuesday afternoon.
The community leader in a rejoinder titled: “BAYELSA COMMUNITY ISSUES 72 HOURS ULTIMATUM TO GOVERNOR DIRI TO SHUT DOWN SPDC OPERATIONS OVER INSINCERITY: A COUNTER, dated 24th May, 2022 said: “The attention of AGHORO II COMMUNITY has been drawn to a publication of Congress newspaper, an online news outfit with the above title and dated the 23rd May, 2022. In the said publication, one self-styled Emma Igetei purportedly speak on behalf of Aghoro II community in which the fellow accused Bayelsa State Governor, His Excellency Sen. Douye Diri of insincerity in the handling of the Aghoro II Community crisis and issued a laughable 72 hours ultimatum to Gov Douye Diri to shut down the ongoing SPDC operations in Aghoro II Community.
Ordinarily we would not have dignify such thoughtless and disjointed piece of publication with a counter but on a second thought we have decided to do a counter so as to tell the general public the truth and equally dismiss the falsehood contained in it.
The community leader, stated that the issues raised in the said two publications were not true, noting that such publications were meant to mislead the general public.
“First and foremost, none of the issues formulated in the said publications were true. All were imaginary and only exists in the figment of imagination of the author. Mr. Emma Igetei who purportedly claimed to speak on behalf of Aghoro II community had no locus standi to speak on behalf of Aghoro II community. He (Mr. Emma Igetei) does not hold any executive position in Aghoro II community, nor authorized to speak on behalf of the community on any issue.
Chief Toweizei further argued that the ultimatum issued by the alleged community leader Mr Emma did not come from Aghoro community, narrating that Aghoro II community had no issues with the Bayelsa State Government or SPDC that would warrant issuing a 72 hours ultimatum.
“We wish to inform the general public that the 72 hours ultimatum purportedly issued by Mr. Emma Igetei to His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri, Executive Governor of Bayelsa State and SPDC Nigeria Limited do not emanate from Aghoro II community. We want to state unequivocally that Aghoro II community has no issues with the Bayelsa State Government or SPDC that will warrant issuing a 72 hours ultimatum. In fact, our community is highly grateful to the Bayelsa State Government for restoring peace in the community after weeks of turbulence.
The statement read partly: “Again, we want to state clearly that SPDC is not owing Aghoro II community any dime, therefore the allegation of pending payments owed Aghoro II Community by SPDC as alleged in the publications of 22nd and 23rd May, 2022 is a day dream. Furthermore, it is a lie from the pit of hell that SPDC has frozen Afrotex Private Company Bank account as alleged by the author Mr. Emma Igetei who is a known foot-soldier to Chief Afro Biukeme. We therefore use this medium to advise Chief Afro Biukeme, the owner of the said Private Company account known as Afrotex Marine Limited to go and settle with his banks, in case he is indebted.
The statement urged Afrotex limited to go and settle its differences with his banks, maintaining that SPDC did not closed his account.
“How can SPDC that does not own or operate a commercial bank or CBN the regulator of the commercial banking sector has the power to freeze a bank account. This is illogical and unreasonable. In the same vein, we also want to inform the general public that for the past couple of months, Chief Afro Biukeme and his cohorts have tried fruitlessly to tarnish the names of distinguished SPDC staff in his bid to achieve selfish objectives. These publications of 22nd and 23rd May 2022 are another failed attempt. The names of the SPDC staff members namely: Ewos Saniyo, Oluyemi Ogunluwa, Tony Ahotu, Ningi Brown, Ovie Dominion, and Cyprana Willy accused of complicity in our community crisis are all innocent of the allegations. These are some of SPDC’s finest staff members who carry out their duties with high level integrity, honesty and accountability.
The rejoinder also debunked allegation that SPDC was importing foreigners to work in the oil manifold in the community.
“It is also not true as alleged in the said publication that SPDC imported strangers to take the jobs meant for indigenes. Right from the inception of SPDC operations in our domain, SPDC always hire indigenous labour in line with the Local Content laws to carry out its operations. Finally, it is simply a cheap blackmail when the author, Mr. Emma Igetei carelessly accused His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri of insincerity in the handling of Aghoro II community crisis. The prevailing peace in Aghoro II community is the handiwork of His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri and we are really grateful to him.
Chief Toweizei reiterated that Mr Igetei and others were making misleading publications because they were not allow to enter the community to ferment trouble following the security men presence in the community.
“Evidence abound that it is because Chief Afro Biukeme and his cohorts could not enter the community to foment further troubles due to the presence of the security operatives deployed to maintain peace in the community by His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri, he has resorted to making frivolous publications. It is a truth that achieving lasting peace in a conflict situation requires the mediator to follow due process which His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri has been observing being a true democrat. Therefore, they cannot coax or blackmail His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri to jump the gun and engage in act that will be inimical to the peace process that is ongoing.
“We urge the Bayelsa State Government, SPDC and the general public to ignore and disregard the publications of 22nd and 23rd May, 2022 in Congress news online authored by one Mr. Emma Igetei.”, he asserted.