Delta judge escapes kidnap attempt

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By Emma  Amaize

WARRI—THE suit by Itsekiri host communities against Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, over alleged diversion of N1 billion meant for development of oil-bearing areas has been adjourned, following an attempt by suspected kidnappers to kidnap the judge handling the case, Justice Marshall Umukoro

The judge was on his way to Warri from Ughelli to preside over the matter and other cases when gun-totting bandits attacked him. He escaped death by the whiskers, while his SUV was riddled with bullets.

Consequently, the case was adjourned to January 17, 2013.

The plaintiffs, Prince Ikenwoli Emiko and Godwin Omamogho, had, for themselves and on behalf of Itsekiri host communities (oil and gas), dragged the commission to court for allegedly diverting funds meant to develop the oil-bearing communities to execution of private and Federal Government projects in Warri.

Specifically, the oil communities said they were aggrieved that the defendant “recklessly” diverted the funds allocated to Itsekiri ethnic group, which was wallowing in abject poverty as a result of oil exploitation, to build and renovate Warri Club, a privately-owned recreation club, and Nigeria Police Barracks in  Warri.

Chairman of Itsekiri host communities, Prince Ikenwole Emiko, said the commission, by its action, had taken back the little gains of oppressed oil communities, which are  plagued by coastal erosion, oil pollution, spillages and other ecological/environmental challenges.

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