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Bribery scandal rocks Belemaoil’s planned exploration in Ogoni’s OML 11

At a time there are insinuations that the pace of ongoing environmental cleanup scheme in Ogoniland is too slow, another crisis of confidence is brewing in the embattled community of River State.

Trouble started when the Ogoni Community Development Network (OCDN) and Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates (KSWA), two leading community based association started war of words over the sum of N139million allegedly provided by Belemaoil Producing Limited as operator of OML 11 to brighten chances of resuming exploration activities in Ogoniland.

President of OCDN, Mr. Johnson Kuele accused  Chief. Gani Topba, President of KSWA of planning to sponsor youths and violence against those opposed to Belema Oil and to launch a media campaign against the interests of another interested company, Robo Michael Limited.

However, additional confusion emerged as Kuele, claimed that his group, OCDN is rejecting both Belemaoil and Robo Michael, describing both as real enemies of Ogoniland.

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Kuele averred that “The Ogoni Community Development Network has uncovered huge sum of money paid to Chief Gani Topba by Belema Oil Producing Limited to push the company’s interest in Ogoniland and persuade the people to accept Belema Oil as the preferred operator of OML 11.

“As at December 2017, the sum of N139million had been paid to Gani Topba to execute this mandate in the interest of Belema Oil.

“The money is paid in cash through one Tobin, an aide to the Managing Director of Belema Oil Producing Nig. Limited.

“The Ogoni Community Development Network is informed that Chief Gani Topba intends to hold a meeting with Ogoni elites as soon as possible to induce them to back Belema Oil against Robo Michael and we are concerned about an attempt to diminish the value of our elites who will allow themselves under the control and coordination of Gani Topba,” Kuele stated.

Bugt in a swift response, National Coordinator of KSWA, Chief Topba, described the allegation by Kuele group as baseless and cheap blackmail from a faceless none existing body in Ogoniland.