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Activist trial: Nigeria, Netherlands, Shell authorities play safe


OCTOBER 16, 2011

By Emma Amaize in The Netherlands

NIGERIAN Embassy in The Netherlands,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, avoided taking a risk, weekend,   when the  prosecution of  a Nigerian-Dutch activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe, by the Netherlands government for alleged pipeline bombing in Nigeria reverberated at an international conference on the Niger-Delta in Rotterdam.

But Ofehe’s  lawyer, Mr. Ed Manders of Manders Advocaten, who spoke to journalists 24 hours earlier in his office in Rotterdam, said the case of terrorism by The Netherlands police against his client, who is the founder/president of the Hope for Niger-Delta Campaign, HNDC, was not provable, as the prosecution was merely relying on a phone conversation in which the activist requested for an opportunity to videotape an oil bunkering activity in Nigeria.

Nigerian Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dr. (Mrs.) Nimota Akanbi, who was reacting to the allegation that the Federal Government kept mute while its citizen was being prosecuted abroad in what the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta and Chief Executive Officer of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Hon Kingsley Kuku described as “persecution”, said “the Embassy is monitoring the case”.

The Head Horn of Africa, East and West Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands, Mr. Michiel Beirkins, and Strategic Business Manager, SPDC, Mr. Barnabas Briggs, who spoke at a conference, organized by HNDC, on “Success and Challenges of Nigeria Government Amnesty Programme: Role of International Community”, said since the case was already in court, it would be groundless to comment on it.

Akanbi, who was represented by a minister in the embassy, Mr. Mustapha Kida, received some bashing from the former national president of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, and other Nigerians who attended the conference for not personally attending the event. She was supposed to have delivered a lecture, “Nigeria-Dutch Bilateral Relations: Impact on the Niger-Delta”, but she stayed away when she learnt that  Kuku rushed back to Nigeria.

However, Kida maintained, “As an embassy, part of our functions is to take care of all Nigerians in The Netherlands. We were concerned when we read that he (Ofehe) was charged before the Dutch court”.

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