By CrossRiverWatch admin
CrossRiverWatch can confirm that Mr. Odigha Odigha, Chairman NGO Coalition for Environment was Thursday arrested in Calabar by men of the Nigeria Police Force, from the Cross River State Police Headquarters following a petition against him from some individuals (unknown to CrossRiverWatch) in relationship to a dispute over an undisclosed amount of money.
Speaking to this reporter, the State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo confirmed his arrest and linked it to a petition involving money but did not disclose the amount as she said “it’s a huge amount”.
She further disclosed that Odigha was later released on Friday after the necessary police routine questioning.
Before now, colleagues and associates of Odigha circulated messages on social media that his arrest had to do with his advocacy against the super highway project of the Ayade’s government.
But in a reaction from the Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Mr. Christian Ita, he described as ludicrous, attempts to link the governor to the arrest and detention of the former Chairman of the state Forestry Commission, Dr. Odigha Odigha by the police.
Debunking insinuations that Odigha detention was due to his opposition to the construction of a 260km superhighway, Ita said it was mischievous and preposterous for any right thinking person to make such an inference.
According to him, “Odigha was arrested by the police on the strength of a petition that alleged fraud and embezzlement whilst the self-styled environmental activist held sway as chairman of the state’s forestry commission.
“Dr. Odigha is in detention based on a petition to the police about his activities when he was chairman of the state’s forestry commission. So it is rather sad and unfortunate that Odigha and his cohorts would want to deflect attention from the grave criminal allegation by alleging vendetta.
“There was an audit panel set up in 2015 which indicted Odigha of fraud and sundry malfeasances. It was based on the findings of the audit panel report that a petition was sent to the police leading to his arrest and detention. He should be man enough to answer to his deeds while in office as chairman of the state’s forestry commission.”
Continuing, Ita said: “Odigha is not the only one who has embarked on a destructive and self-serving campaign to frustrate the superhighway project, so why should he be the only one to be singled out for arrest and detention? He should be honest and courageous enough to tell the public the truth and await his time in court to establish his innocence or otherwise.”
Ita noted said “the governor was too preoccupied with issues of development to be distracted by those whose sins while in office are beginning to find them out.”
Efforts to reach Dr. Odigha were not yet successful at the tme of filing this report.
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