Bayelsa Govt warns against removal of recognized community leaders • Directs Paramount Ruler to beg Epie Monarch

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Bayelsa Govt warns against removal of recognized community leaders • Directs Paramount Ruler to beg Epie Monarch

By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa, Trek Africa Newspaper

Deputy Governor, Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo
Deputy Governor, Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo

 

 

The Bayelsa State Government has warmed against the illegal removal of recognized community leaders from office without the approval of the Governor in accordance with the state chieftaincy law.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the warning during a reconciliation meeting with the two factions in Government House, Yenagoa in the wake of the chieftaincy crisis that engulfed Epie Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement on Friday, emphasized that no individuals or group of individuals can dethrone any occupant of a government recognized chieftaincy stool without the approval of the Governor as prescribed in the state chieftaincy law.

He said, government does not accept the removal of the paramount ruler, Obeniken, of Akenfa-Epie, His Highness Josiah Osom Obadiah and the appointment of the youth president as the Acting ruler of the community.

The Deputy Governor, however, came down very hard on Chief Osom Obadiah, and directed him to tender an unreserved formal apology to the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Malla Sasime, over what he described as “an act of disrespect and insubordination” to the stool and person of the Epie Monarch.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo equally directed that the compound chief, community development committee (CDC) Chairman and members who were illegally removed on the orders of the paramount ruler, Chief Obadiah, should all be immediately restored to serve out their constitutional tenures.

Emphasizing the need for the leaders and people of Akenfa as well as the entire Epie/Atissa communities to always maintain peace as host to the state capital, he appealed to the Epie Monarch to temper justice with mercy by forgiving the Obeniken of Akenfa for his unguarded statements and provocative actions.

His words: “We set up a committee to look into the community dispute in Akenfa, and we have received the report of the committee, and their findings are quite far-reaching.

“The removal of the CDC Chairman and his members is illegal and they are ordered to be restored back to complete their tenure in office.

“The paramount ruler of Akenfa is also directed to go and apologize to the Obenibe, King Mala Sasime, not later than next week.

“We are also appealing to all the parties to sheathe their sword for peace to reign in Akenfa. We want to hear positive reports from our communities. So, all the interested parties should embrace peace to move the community forward.”

In his brief remarks, the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, King Malla Sasime, said he was pleased with the state government for handling the matter in an “objective and mature manner” to achieve lasting peace in the community.

According to King Malla, he has no personal problem with His Highness Obadiah, but added that the paramount ruler of Akenfa had unnecessarily threatened to establish an autonomous or independent Akenfa kingdom.

Responding, the Obeniken of Akenfa Community, Chief Josiah Obadiah, thanked Senator Ewhrudjakpo for his intervention and promised that he would formally apologize to the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom as directed by the Deputy Governor.

It will be recalled that the Deputy Governor set up a 5-member reconciliation committee to look into the Akenfa-Epie Community Chieftaincy crisis on the 19th of June, 2023 and recommend ways of resolving it.

The Committee, which had submitted its report was chaired by the immediate past Technical Adviser to the Deputy Governor on Special Duties, Mr Richard Perekeme, while the state Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr Alaowei Opokumo, served as Secretary.

Members of the Committee included the Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Governor’s
Office, Comrade Gowon Toruyouyei, former Senior Special Assistant (Political) to the Deputy Governor, Mr Engineer-Keme Didi, and the Director, Chieftaincy and Community Development, Ministry of Local Government, Mrs Domo-Spiff Boma.

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