Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Crisis broke out at the weekend in Aboto, a community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State over the upgrade of Chief Behiah Idiogbe to the status of Alaboto of Aboto by the state government.
Some youths in the town had earlier protested against the elevation of Idiogbe to the status of a traditional ruler.
The protesters alleged that the traditional ruler is not a bonafide indigene of the town and threatened to break the bridge linking the community to other parts of the state if the decision is not reversed by the state government.
The State Executive Council had effected the upgrading of Chief Idiogbe from Oloja of Aboto to the position of Alaboto of Aboto at its meeting held on Thursday.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, said the request for the upgrade had been approved by the State Executive Council 12 years ago but was not effected until the state government took the decision.
It was learnt that the announcement spur crisis in the town as houses, cars and other valuables were burnt during a violent protest by some aggrieved members of the community.
Counsel to Aboto community, Mr Idowu Mafimisebi, who confirmed the breakdown of law and order said the former administration of Governor Olusegun Agagu had in 2007 erroneously announced the approval of Idiogbe as the Alaboto which led to a bloody crises leading to the death of some persons and burning of houses in the community.
The lawyer alleged that many indigenes of the town have fled the town for safety since Thursday when the announcement was made.
He appealed to the state government to call its foot soldiers to order and allow peace to reign in Aboto community.
Mafimisebi said Agagu’s administration immediately reversed the decision then, having discovered it was wrong.
He said the community already has an approved monarch who was selected by the kingmakers.
In a petition signed by the lawyer, he said “it is an anathema that a government led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria had to tow the line of wrongful decision of a previous government made 12 years ago which was reversed consequently after loss of lives and properties.
“Although correspondences have been sent to the present government through a letter dated July 8, 2019 and another one on August 14, 2019 to the effect that selection has been done for our client, while the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney-General and Ilaje Local Government chairman affirmed that the selection of Prince Oyetayo Ofoaye was done in accordance with the Chieftaincy law of Ondo State.
“The Amapetu of Mahin who has been restrained by Ilaje District Council and a court of competent jurisdiction since 1957 from meddling with Aboto land not being a community under him can not make a person an Oloja over such a community, and it is therefore impossible to upgrade a person made an Oloja through an incompetent authority.”
Mafimisebi urged President Muhammadu Buhari, Security Chiefs, Inspector General of Police and tradional rulers to warn Police and Naval Officers in the state who were being allegedly used to cause unrest in Aboto to stop destabilising the peace of the community.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Ojogo, insisted that Alaboto’s elevation had been approved almost 12 years ago, emphasising that some encumbrances had delayed the pronouncement.
Ojogo said “The process is what we met on ground and government felt justice must be served. It is not a fresh process. The State Executive Council gave approval for Alaboto’s elevation since 2007, but was not effected by previous administration.”