From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has ruled out reversing himself over the dethronement of the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti community in Ogbia Local Government Area, Chief Cousin Wongo.
According to him despite protest from some quarters, the removal of the paramount ruler is irrevocable.
Diri had shortly after being briefed by the freed Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr Federal Otokito, announced the monarch’s dethronement as well as the removal of the community development committee chairman and its youth president as a result of their complicity in the kidnap incident.
The governor who disclosed the fate of Wongo during his remarks at the commissioning of a Divisional Police Station constructed by the Ogbia council chairman, Ebiyon Turner in Otuokpoti said his action was in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State.
His words: “I did not depose your paramount ruler because I hated him. The circumstances that led to his dethronement are known to me and the commissioner of police. And that deposition stands. Anybody that is protesting, I am very sorry.
“As governor, once I make a pronouncement that is it. Nobody can do anything about it. In the Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa on chieftaincy and traditional rulers, the final authority lies with the governor.”
He also disclosed that the Commissioner of Police had earlier hinted that the state command had its searchlight on the community before the kidnap of his cabinet member.
Diri called on the newly appointed paramount ruler, Chief Rescue Abe, to unite the Otuokpoti people and not allow the community to be used for criminal and illegal oil refining activities.
“This government will not condone crime and criminality. The newly appointed paramount ruler and his cabinet should work to see that there is love in the Otuokpoti community.
“The paramount ruler, community development committee chairman and the youth president were the sacrificial lambs as there were also other people involved. Several others were culpable. If we go down, it would cause trouble for many people. That is why we took the leaders as the sacrificial lambs.”
The governor, who decried oil bunkering activities in the state, highlighted the health hazards arising from such acts to include terminal illness, environmental pollution among others.
“This should be a warning to other traditional rulers not to allow their domains to be used for intra or inter-communal conflicts. Not to allow their domains to be used for criminality and crime.”