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Police lay siege on Marine yard in Delta community

Police lay siege on Marine yard in Delta community

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Ben Dunno, Warri

The Police, in Delta State, have laid siege on the premises of Peterson Commercial Agency Limited (a marine company) operating in Opete Community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, over an alleged breach of contract agreement.

It was learnt that some staff of the company who were on duty as at time of the invasion were either arrested and beaten thoroughly before being allowed to leave the yard.

Investigations carried out at the company’s location, on Monday, revealed that Marine equipments worth several millions of naira were allegedly damaged and looted.

The Police team led by the Area Commander in Burutu Area, ACP Marvelous Ikugiobe, alongside the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) were fingered in the operation to forcefully occupy the company’s premises.

The invasion which occurred, on Saturday,  left many residents wondering what must have been the motive behind the action that was carried out at the weekend even when a case between the company and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was still going on in court.

But in a swift reaction, the Police Area Commander, ACP Marvellous Ikugiobe, explained that the action carried out was not an invasion but a directive from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to the Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Anthony Michael Ogbizi, for him to provide security to AMCON officials to gain access to the company’s premises.

A resident of the area, identified as Efe Umukoro, said the invasion of the community threw residents into confusion.

He stressed that they never expected that the police would embark on the purported invasion on a weekend adding that the marine company had been very responsible especially in carrying out its corporate social responsibility to the community.

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According to him, “We are yet to recover from the shock of the Police invasion led by the Area Commander to our Community last weekend.

“I want to believe that the way and manner in which the company was invaded is unconstitutional based on the fact that we are very much aware that a competent court of jurisdiction in Udu is still entertaining the matter that led to the invasion.”

Another community leader, Chief Victor Okpubeku, argued that there was no moral justification for the action carried out by the Police and AMCON officials when the court has not granted the right to recover the properties in question.

“We are taken aback by this illegal activities of police and AMCON Officials to the Company’s premises when we are convinced that the legal battle over the issue was still pending and even if AMCON wanted to recover the property, it should be prepared to take responsibility of both assets and liabilities accrued from the taken over.”

Responding, AMCON spokesperson, Jerry Ogbonna, said the corporation’s action was not targeted at Peterson Commercial Agency Limited, but to recover the assets being kept in the premises Wilbros Nigeria Limited, a company that is indebted to AMCON.

Meanwhile, the matter is slated for judgement today, December 18, at the state’s High Court, Otor-Udu in Udu Local Government Area of the state.

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