Niger Delta

Bayelsa Govt Vows to Deal with Errant Traditional Rulers, Community Leaders

By Kuwekuzi Aigbe

The Bayelsa State Government on Wednesday reiterated its resolve to wield the big stick on any paramount ruler and community leaders who fail to accept responsibility for communal actions that threaten peaceful coexistence in their domains.

This is coming two days after the Governor, Senator Douye Diri, deposed a traditional ruler and two other community leaders for their complicity in the kidnap of the State Commissioner of Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito.

The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the latest warning while receiving a report from the Ad-hoc Committee on the Investigation and Resolution of the dispute between Korokorosei and Ondewari communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area at his office in Yenagoa.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo insisted that government would not hesitate to take disciplinary action against community leaders and rulers that refuse to live above board, citing the recent case of the deposed paramount ruler of Otuokpoti community in the Ogbia area.

He made it clear that government would not tolerate any instance of community leaders making themselves canon fodder to fuel and exacerbate inter-communal crisis.

The Deputy Governor specifically called on the Amananaowei of Ondewari community and his Korokorosei counterpart to demonstrate sincerity by upholding the truth to enable government resolve their differences amicably for the sake of peace.

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Commenting on the seized chainsaw and missing pieces of timber, which is alleged to be the immediate cause of crisis, Senator Ewhrudjakpo declared that government would not pay a dime to none of the two communities to avoid setting a bad precedent.

While noting that there is always a price to pay for not doing what is right, Senator Ewhrudjakpo directed that the Korokorosei community should replace the chainsaw, while Ondewari should pay for the planks.

Submitting the report on behalf of the Ad-hoc Committee, the Chairman, Chief Macdonald Igbadiwe, observed that the alleged acts were carried out by people from both communities as reprisal actions over a disputed land.

Chief Igbadiwe, who is the Honourable member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency Four (4) in the State House of Assembly, disclosed that the Committee, among other things, had recommended the signing of a peace pact between Korokorosei and Ondewari communities to restore lasting peace in the area.

According to him, the Committee submitted that government should take very drastic action against any person or group of persons from any of the two sister communities who use weapons to threaten the other over the disputed land.

The 3-member Ad-hoc conflict investigation and resolution Committee had the Chairman of Southern Ijaw Area, Chief Nigeria Ebidoughabofa Kia and a Technical Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Dr Moses Areprekumor.

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