ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The police arrest of the acclaimed Paramount Ruler of Azuzuama Kingdom in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State, Dr Selky Torughedi, aka Young Shall Grow, has triggered heavy protest.
The protesters, made up of indigenes of the Azuzuama community, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), thronged to the Bayelsa State Police Command on Sunday to ventilate their grievances.
The protesters described the arrest and detention of the monarch as “politically motivated and an attempt to instigate violence in the area.”
It was learnt that Torughedi was allegedly selected by the community’s kingmakers because of philanthropic nature involving his mass empowerment scheme, employment of nurses in community clinic and mass feeding scheme for the residents and indigenes.
He is also said to be the most popular candidate elected to occupy the throne. But those against his ascension as the monarch, allegedly led by the State Commissioner for Energy, Collins Ebite, had petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Echeng Eworo Echeng, on why he should not be the king.
One of the protesters, Comrade Robinson Avoke, argued that the continued detention of Torughedi was inimical to the peace of the area.
He called on those involved to stop forthwith as the paramount ruler remained the authentic one chosen by the community.
Also speaking, an Ijaw elder, Victor Eyororokumo, said that a few persons had met with the detained traditional ruler and assured the protesters that the matter at hand was civil and not a criminal issue.
He called on the Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs to resolve the issue before it deteriorated beyond control.
Counsel for the arrested monarch, Ebikebuna Aluzu Esq, confirmed his client’s arrest and said there had been no charges leveled against him by the police.
He said: “The Commissioner of Police Invited my client on Saturday and as a man of peaceful disposition, he honoured the invitation. Upon meeting with the CP, he was asked to make a statement at the Operation Puff Adder’s office which he did.
“And ever since he made the statement, the police have been holding him against his will. I went there on Saturday to intercede and ensure my client have bail. As at today (Sunday) no charge has been levelled against him. The police have not said anything. And his subjects from Azuzuama are here protesting peacefully against the detention of their new paramount ruler.”
Aluzu also confirmed that his client, Torughedi, was duly elected as paramount ruler of the Azuzuama community by his people to succeed the late paramount ruler, King N.T. Mathew.
He called on those against his ascension to the throne to go to court instead of dragging a civil matter before the Nigeria Police.
Spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, said he had yet to get the full details of the matter.