BY Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Chairman of Dodo River Regional Development Association in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Mr. Berry Negrese, yesterday, denied claims by some politicians that he was forced to pay N3.450 million as bribe to the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara and the security aide to Governor Seriaka Dickson, Col. Bernard Kenebai, for the rescue operation of the abducted Dutch nationals and bail bonds for the detained Nigerian journalists.
An online news medium had, in a report on Wednesday, alleged that the duo of the Bayelsa Police Commissioner and the Security Adviser to the state governor were involved in the extortion of N3.450 million from the Chairman of Dodo River Development Foundation for security mobilisation to facilitate the release of the abducted Dutch nationals.
Mr. Negresse, who briefed newsmen, yesterday in Yenagoa, said the claims that a bribe was given to the police was false and a calculated attempt to rubbish the professional effort adopted in the rescue operation of the Dutch nationals.
He said: “The report by the online news medium is untrue and a fabricated report targeted at rubbishing the efforts of the police and the state government. The police, the state government and the Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, should be commended for their effort in the rescue operation. The report is a ridiculous lie. I speak as the Chairman of Doddo River Regional Development Association and as a man who followed the rescue exercise from the beginning to the end. At no point time did anybody demand money from us.
“The police only asked me for the phone number which the kidnappers used in contacting me. While I was still trying to negotiate and find a way to pay some ransom to the kidnappers out of fear for the safety of the Dutch nationals, the police called me that they had secured their release. I was surprised at the speed and professionalism they adopted.”