… sues for peace in community rocked by kingship tussle
ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government has advised lawyers in the state to properly guide their clients based on the merit or otherwise of the cases at hand to avoid unnecessary litigations.
It also warned individuals and communities to resist the temptation of engaging in subversive activities aimed at dethroning traditional rulers whose chieftaincy stools have been recognised by law.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice when he met with the chiefs, elders and other community representatives of Aghoro II community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state at his office in Yenagoa over the disputed Amananaowei stool of the community.
Ewhrudjakpo, who reminded lawyers of their professional ethics, said law practice was not just to make money, but deserves honour, integrity and respect as a profession that promotes justice, peace and order in society.
He pointed out that in some jurisdictions like Abuja and Lagos, lawyers issue a counselor’s certificate to their clients, which makes them liable to accept responsibility for any inconveniences arising from ill-advising their clients.
Explaining the state Chieftaincy Law, Ewhrudjakpo cited Section 28, which states that no individual or group has the right to either dethrone or install a traditional ruler without following due process as stipulated by law.
He, therefore, directed all the parties involved in the Aghoro 2 community leadership conflict to observe status quo with His Royal Highness Ojunkonsin Ibamughan still serving as Amananaowei pending the final determination of the issues raised at the meeting.
He, however, warned traditional rulers not to see their recognition as a licence to oppress and shortchange their people, as the law also provides a window for their removal.
Presenting his case to the Deputy Governor, a factional leader, Chief Afro Biukeme, alleged that Chief Ibamughan was removed from office as Amananaowei of Aghoro II community due to misappropriation of community funds amounting to about N90 million.
Biukeme insisted that embattled Amananaowei embezzled the funds with his cronies and had since refused to return to the community to give a proper account of the funds as demanded by the people of Aghoro.
In another development, the Bayelsa State government has resolved the face-off that resulted from an error in a land survey map involving some communities in Sagbama and Southern Ijaw LGAs of the state.
Resolving the issue, Ewhrudjakpo urged the people of Akeddei, Isoni, Anyama-Ibeni and Isampou to live in peace as the cartographical error had been corrected.
While thanking the Ibenanaowei of Oyiakiri Kingdom, King Joshua Igbagara for his efforts, the Deputy Governor advised communities in the state not to see carrying of arms over land disputes as the best option but rather seek redress through dialogue or at the law court.
Also, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described the death of Peremokubo Agara as a huge loss not only to his family but also to the state and Nigeria.
Speaking when he condoled with the Agara family at the palace of the Ibedaowei of Kolokuma Kingdom in Kaiama, Diri said the late Agara was a man of love and peace who contributed immensely to the development of his Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA and the state.
The governor in a statement by his Chief press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, recalled how Agara represented the state government in resolution of disputes with oil companies, particularly Shell Petroleum Development Company.
He stated that his administration had concluded plans to engage his services in his area of expertise before his untimely death.