‘Scholarship fund starvation claim, a ploy to vacate court order’
Rights activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has debunked a publication by a group which claimed that scholarship beneficiaries of Itsekiri extraction were facing untold hardship on the strength of the freezing of the N2.1 billion belonging to the Itsekiri Regional Development Council (IRDC), saying it was a ploy to hurriedly vacate a court injunction.
During a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Lori-Ogbebor noted that the community development fund, contributed by Chevron Nigeria Limited, domiciled in a new generation bank and managed by IRDC, was being shadily run to the detriment of the good of the people and the 23 Itsekiri communities in the Warri council areas of Delta State.
She stated that the Olu of Warri, Ogiamen Ikenwoli II, in his inaugural speech during his ascension two years ago, had ordered the IRDC executives to vacate office for a new crop of officials to run the outfit efficiently and effectively. The Warri chief said she still stands by that position.
According to her, IRDC is a child of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the oil firm and communities where the former contributes certain amount of money under the stewardship of the outfit for the development of the area and its people.
Stressing that the fight was for the good of all and pleading for cooperation, Lori-Ogbebor said herself and the monarch were interested in a reorganised IRDC that should be managed transparently to achieve its mandate of turning around the lives of the people and the communities as a whole.
On this premise, she had approached a Delta State High Court sitting in Warri and presiding over by Justice M. Obi, to obtain an injunction in respect of the aforementioned fund.
Consequently, the court restrained the oil major from releasing more funds to the IRDC as well as barring the council and the bank from accessing the N2.1 billion lodged in six accounts pending the determination of the substantive suit.
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