Port Harcourt - Some members of the Ogoni community in Rivers on Wednesday picketed the First Bank Area Office in Port Harcourt.
No fewer than 1 000 protesters converged on the bank thereby disrupting transactions by other customers.
Simeon Monokpo, the leader of the group, told NAN that ``our protest is in respect of N80.3 billion judgment against Shell and its guarantor, First Bank.
“The money was supposed to be paid by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in connection with the oil spill in the area.
NAN recalls that the oil spill occurred 20 years ago at Ebubu village in Eleme Local Government Area.
Monokpo said the money was expected to be deposited with the bank by SPDC while its appeal went on, but the appeal failed.
“So, we are demanding that the guarantor should pay us the money.
NAN further recalls that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had ordered SPDC to pay N80.3billion to Ogoni community as compensation for damages caused by the oil spill.
“We are saying that First Bank should wire that money into Barrister Henry Nwaosu, our client’s bank account number.
“The court order we got on Thursday directed First Bank to pay us forthwith’’, Monokpo said.
Monokpo emphasised that the picketing would not only continue, but would be extended to all the branches of the bank in Rivers if the money was not paid immediately.
“We shall extend this protest to all First Bank branches in the state if we are not paid; they will not operate until they pay us’’, he said.
NAN reports that the protesters deposited a white coffin bearing live chick and a bottle of Fanta on top, signifying burial.
The locked gates were sealed with fresh palm fronds.
Monokpo said the gods in the community were annoyed with SPDC’s conduct in Ogoni land.