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THISDAY ONLINE (NIGERIA): FG Sues Shell over Toxic Waste

• SSS cracks hostage-taking ring

From Funso Muraina in Abuja and Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt, 03.26.2007

The Federal Government has filed a law suit against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and three other companies for violation of nuclear safety and radiation law by allegedly dumping radioactive substances in Warri, Delta State.

This comes just as the State Security Services (SSS) in Port Harcourt has cracked the hostage taking ring in the city as they arrested and paraded two men, Ekene Ibebuka (21) and Nnamdi Eme (42) while declaring  their alleged sponsor and former gubernatorial aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Clark Igodo wanted with N5 million price on his head.

Other defendants in the suit are C and E Global Limited and two international companies, Western Atlas and E D Wales, who were all accused of carrying and transporting radioactive substances from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to Warri without authorisation from the regulatory agency.

In the charge cited as FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2007 and filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja last Friday, 17 members of staff of these companies were also listed as defendants.

The accused were said to have conspired between September 9 and October 9, 2006 to carry, transport, handle, stored and transfer the radio active sources to an unauthorised person.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Salihu Aliyu, said the accused failed to obtain requisite clearance from the Department of State Services, an action contravening Section 14(2) of the Nigerian Transportation of Radioactive Sources Regulations 2006.

The charge brought against 21 accused persons in Abuja, stated that Western Atlas among others, transported radioactive sources (namely one neutron source, m – Be with serial No 48474, one density, Cs-137 with serial No 969, one neutron verifier Am-Be with serial No D-311, two density verifier Cs -137 with serial number V- 1008 and v-1031, one Gamma ay-rig, Ra -226 with serial No WA-644) from Port Harcourt to Warri in violation of section 77 of the Nigerian Basic Ionization Radiation regulations 2003 and section 41 of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act 1995.”

The accused, according to the charge, have therefore committed an offence contrary to section 516 of the criminal Code Act Cap 77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The FG stated further that the accused contravened section 5(2)(c) of the Nigerian safety and security of radioactive sources regulatory 2006 and therefore punishable under Section 45(1)(a) of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act 1995.

E D Wayles International was accused of handling radio active materials including towing a barge called Emonina 11 containing radio active bunker from SPDC Ogunnu jetty to Perker rig 73 in Warri, Delta State, without valid licence or authorisation from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile, the State Security Services (SSS) in Port Harcourt has cracked the hostage taking ring in the city as they arrested and paraded two men, Ekene Ibebuka (21) and Nnamdi Eme (42) while declaring  their alleged sponsor and former gubernatorial aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Clark Igodo wanted with N5 million price on his head.

According to the SSS, also declared wanted is one Famous, the Chief Security Adviser to Saipem who gave insider information to hostage takers on potential hostages in the company as well as all the people the duo named as their accomplices in the hostage taking and armed robbery.

Parading the self confessed hostage takers, the State Director of SSS, Alhaji Kola Adesina, said they spread their dragnet which caught the duo while about 13 of their colleagues were still at large and therefore wanted for immediate arrest and prosecution.

Ibebuka, according to the SSS boss, confessed to being a member of the Puper III group under the Degbam cult group led by one Ninger in addition to admitting being a member of the 15 hostage takers who abducted an American and a Briton at Rumuolumeni.

He said the boy confessed that one China who brought him into the deal led the attack while the said Prince Igodo allegedly supplied them with arms and ammunitions used for the operation.

“The suspect was given N2.4 million as his own share from the ransom paid to secure the release of the hostages. He used part of it to purchase one Mercedes Benz 190 padded car and reclaimed his father’s land that was leased out by his father in Umozu, Nwangele LGA Imo State.

“Ibebuka gave the names of others who participated in the operations with him but now on the run as Ammoni, Tonye, Tomi, Nkem (all cocaine dealers in Abonema Wharf) Imo, Belema, Asibike, Anekan (Drug dealers and armed robbers), Adesina said.”

Ibebuka was said to have confessed to armed robbery in various parts of Port Harcourt where sums of money were stolen. They include robbery on Ikwerre road early in 2006 where a man was robbed of N250, 000.00; robbery at Rumuokuta in December 2005 where they robbed their victim of N90, 000.00; robbery at East/West road in 2006 where they stole N170, 000.00 and robbery at SBS Bus stop, Rumuokuta where a woman was robbed of N20, 000.00 and two handsets.
His accomplice Eme alias Jackson, a 2005 graduate of Mass Communication from Rivers State University of Science and Technology from Okpolu, Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State claimed to have been a loyalist of Asari Dokubo.
He is also the head of the Igodo hostage taking group along Rumuolumeni/Iwofe and Ogbogoro axis in the State.

He claimed to have been contemporaries with Prince Igodo and both were known as titans and later, the arrowheads of Degbam cult group in Rivers State.
He confessed having led the Degbam attack on Dewell at Rumuche where five persons were killed.

Eme also told the SSS that he led the group that abducted one Blessing Orlu (AKA Young Chief) who has not been seen since then not been seen, adding that he is also a member of the Kuklus Klan Konfraternity (KKK).

On the abduction of two expatriates, he fingered Prince Igodo as the leader of the group and one that provided the arms and ammunitions used in the operations, adding that Igodo later kept the hostages somewhere in Tombia for 11 days before their release.

He listed those who participated in the abduction as Dube, Daddy Johnson, Escapee, Ibinima (AKA IB), China , Master, Harvest, Toochi Chukwu, Jamin, Adisa, Daddy and KK.

Eme said the money paid by the wife of the Briton whose health was bad for the release was shared on prorate basis among the hostage takers recruited from different communities where participants from Buguma got N17 million; Ogbakiri and Akpor N14 million; Tombia N17 million while he got N2.5 million.

He confessed to using N1.3 million to purchase a Toyota Camry Salon car before participating in the kidnap of another expatriate and his driver at Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt in January 2007 with eight other accomplices.

He gave the names of those who participated in the second kidnap as Daddy Johnson, Dube Lucky, Ibima (IB), Monday, Dady, Famous (Security Adviser to Saipem), Nnamdi and Emma known as “Founder”.

He confessed to collecting N500,000.00 from the N20 million ransom paid while in another abduction of three expatriates in a hotel in Port Harcourt in January 2007, he got N2 million.

He confessed to have been present at meetings in Elegwo in Tombia which later turned to the discussion center of hostage taking issues and at one of such meetings; they decided to purchase 10 AK47 rifles for N300, 000.00 each.

He named Ogwechi Amadi, Nwamoje, Nmalem Amadi, Boss and Attraki as those who participated in the Eagle Cement axis where they were on a reprisal attack over the rape of a lady related to their leader.

When THISDAY asked both of them what led them into the hostage taking business, they both replied that it was due to cash crunch as their businesses were not doing well.

Particularly, Emeh confessed that, “my involvement in hostage taking is not because of furthering the Niger Delta cause; I did it to help my self as my supply business was not doing well”.

They said if they could be left off the hook, they will campaign for other youths to leave the business but appealed for forgiveness as they have realised that it was a bad thing to do.

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