THERE are indications that tension has enveloped the Umolo Community in Olomu Kingdom, Ughelli South LGA, as the police under the Ughelli Area Command are likely to arraign the duo of Mr. James Ageren and Chief Josiah Olokpa over the alleged criminal sale of two water tanks installed in the community by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The prosecution is coming on the strength of a historic April 4, 2022 Judgement delivered by T. O. Uloho of the High Court of Justice in Otu-Jeremi, which threw out the cases of Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement separately filed by the two embattled community leaders.
The two spokesmen had filed separate cases with Suit Nos. HCG/M/29/2022 and HCG/M/30/2021 respectively, against the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 5 Edo State, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State, the Area Commander, Ughelli and ASP Pat who is the Investigating Police Officer, IPO alongside Mr. Sheriff Oyibo, Chief Benjamin Ebite, Mr. Benjamin Odumake, Mr. Johnson Mevayogo and Mr. Progress Toweh who are leaders and elders of the community in the attempt to halt investigations into the purported sale of the Community’s water tanks.
Mr. Sheriff Oyibo who is the current President General along with the other community leaders had in May 2021 petitioned the police at the Ughelli Area Command, urging them to investigate the alleged illegal sale of the said NDDC-installed Water Tanks with a view to prosecuting the culprits, but in a swift move, the duo of Mr. James Ageren and Chief Josiah Olokpa went straight to the court seeking stoppage of their investigations including a demand for approximately N100M as damages for alleged infringement on their fundamental rights, which failed to yield the desired results for them.
Giving ruling, the Judge stated that the Applicants failed to establish that their fundamental rights were breached upon which they are supposedly entitled to compensations, stressing that “in the results reliefs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Applicants fails,” and consequently dismissed the two Applications with a cost of N50, 000 each awarded against them in favor of the 5th to 9th respondents who are the community leaders, only, as the police which constitute the 1st to 4th Respondents were not represented by counsel in the case.
With the failure of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Cases, which reaffirmed the powers of the police to interfere in all cases reported to them, the Community Leaders have called on the Ughelli Area Commander to promptly arraign the two suspects in court, especially as they have been arrested and investigations already completed by the police.
Meanwhile, there are already heated agitations by the people of Umolo Community for the immediate replacement of the Senior Spokesman, Mr. James Ageren and his deputy, Chief Josiah Olokpa, with arguments that if they were not removed as Spokesman and Deputy respectively, they wreck more havocs in the community.