N2.1bn Itsekiri Devt Funds: Lawyer Files Appeal in Supreme Court


Sunday Okobi

A legal practitioner, Mr. Peter lyhiokhai, has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Benin-city which vacated an order of a High Court in Warri restraining Itsekiri Regional Development Council (IRDC) from assessing N2.1 billion community funds domiciled in Keystone Bank.

The appeal which also seeks to restrain Chevron from having any financial dealing with IRDC, came on the heels of a motion for a stay of execution order filed in Court of Appeal in Benin-city by the legal practitioner.

Iyhiokhai, who disclosed these to journalists yesterday, said the failure to judiciously manage funds meant for the development of Itsekiri communities informed the filing of the suit.

According to him, “The suit was instituted against IRDC, Chevron and Keystone Bank in September 2017 by activists and veteran journalist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, at the Warri High Court. The court restrained IRDC led by Austin Oniyesan from collecting N2.1 billion belonging to Itsekiri oil producing communities in Delta State. The court further restrained Chevron from paying any sum of money to IRDC.

“After the court orders, we discovered that the IRDC led by Oniyesan and Omare went ahead and signed another agreement.

“It is a breach of court order that led to the institution of committal proceedings against Chevron, Oniyesan and Omare. “The contemnors swiftly filed appeal to the Court of Appeal to stay the order of the High Court. We have successfully appealed to the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Court of Appeal.”