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Lawyer helping uncertified Chinese nationals rip Cross River forest – Group alleges

By Our Reporter

A group, Coalition Against Illegal Lodging and Mining Activities in Cross River State of Nigeria, CAILAMA-CRS has raised concern over Lawyer’s petition against member, Prince Odey Oyama for questioning the presence of uncertified Chinese Nationals in Effi, Okuni community in Ikom Local Government Area of the state.

In a lawsuit document made available to The Guardian, they also raised alarm that the Lawyer, Ichire Imo Okim, who has petitioned Oyama to the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja over threat to his life.

The group in a petition signed by the Executive Director of PADIC-Africa, Dr Martins Egot, Nigeria Conservation Foundation, NCF, Emmanuel Owan, Prof. Rafael Offiong, University of Calabar, and 18 others said for the sake of transparency and justice, all the accusers of Odey Oyama, “be made to come out of the shadows and meet Prince Odey Oyama FACE-TO-FACE at the proposed Police Headquarters in Abuja.”

They alleged, “We have received information that Prince Odey Oyama has been invited by the Police at FORCE HEADQUARTERS in Abuja for an interview, which is scheduled to be held on Monday, 11th of March 2024. Prince Odey Oyama has been leading an environmental campaign against the incursion of uncertified Chinese foreign nationals into Okuni Community in Cross River State of Nigeria.

“And we are convinced that this setup is being organised by local operators who are being paid to confuse the narrative and cover up the tracks for the unlawful entry of the uncertified Chinese foreign nationals into Okuni Community.

“We expect that the Nigeria Police would not be deceived by the antics of these shadowy agents of the uncertified Chinese foreign nationals who are conducting undisclosed businesses in the Okuni Community,” the group alleged.

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Okim in a suit HMV/11F/2023/ filed on behalf of eight other Chiefs of Okuni community against the environmentalist and the State Police, demanded N5 million damages.

Oyama had earlier alleged that Okim who is the community lawyer was in cohort with some of the Effi traditional rulers to illegally take over part of the Effi forest located in Okuni community for illegal lodging activities with uncertified Chinese nationals.

This was contained in a document made available to The Guardian in Calabar, the environmental activist petitioned the lawyer, demanding that he produce among others “the comprehensive final accounts of all transactions (with all accompanying agreements), conducted between Barr Ichire Imo Okim and his cohort of Effi Traditional Rulers on the one hand, and with the uncertified Chinese foreign nationals on the other hand, be made available publicly and with utmost transparency to the members of the Community.

“Identities and diplomatic certifications of the said Chinese foreign nationals that have been introduced into Effi Community have remained undisclosed to the people of EFFI COMMUNITY.

“The contractual agreements that Barr Ichire Imo Okim and his preferred Traditional Rulers of Effi Community have signed with the Chinese foreign nationals have not been disclosed to the people of Effi Community,” Oyama mentioned.

Source: The Guardian

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