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First Bank re-opens in P/Harcourt after Ogoni picketing

27 January 2014, 09:33

Port Harcourt - First Bank Area office in Port Harcourt on Thursday resumed operations as protesting members of the Ogoni community withdrew from the premises.

 Banking activities at the bank were disrupted on Wednesday as Ogoni people picketed the institution over alleged non-payment of court ordered payment over damages.

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay N80.3 billion damages for an oil spill in the community.

The protesters, numbering more than 1 000 men and women, had vowed to picket all the bank’s branches in Rivers until they were paid.

Simeon Monokpo, leader of the protesters, told NAN that the court had ordered that First Bank warehoused the money pending the determination of SPDC appeal.

“The court order we got on Thursday, Jananuary. 16, directed First Bank to pay us forthwith.

“We are saying that First Bank should wire that money to our counsel, Henry Nwaosu’s, bank account,’’ he said.

He said that SPDC had failed to live up to its corporate social responsibility to the community in spite of its annual profits since it commenced oil exploration.

Monokpo said SPDC did not offer scholarships to their people nor construct roads for the community.

The protesters, who arrived at the bank before 6.00 am, deposited a white coffin, among other items as burial rites at the bank’s entrance.

Monokpo said the coffin signified that numerous Ogoni people had died from hunger they faced over unpaid damages

Efforts by NAN to get the response of the bank area manager on the issue proved abortive.



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