From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Deputy Governor of Edo State Philip Shaibu has said the dissolution of the Uzanu Clan and the subsequent dethronement of the Clan Head was aimed at restoring peace to the community.
Shaibu claimed that the Uzanu Clan was wrongly created, accusing the former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, and his then Commissioner for Environment, Clem Agba, of exhibiting executive recklessness to controversially create the clan.
The Edo State Government had on Monday dissolved Uzanu Clan in Etsako East and dethroned the Clan Head, citing incessant and flagrant disregard to peace agreement and government’s directives as reasons.
Responding to questions from reporters in Asaba, Shaibu said Uzanu was not qualified to be a clan, explaining that it was a just village, and that a clan is made up of several villages.
Shaibu was in Asaba for a two-day interactive session of the National Boundary Commission with boundary committees of the states in the South-South zone.
He alleged that Agba, who is the present Minister of State for Budget and Planning, disregarded the state government when he was invited on three occasions for a meeting following crisis in his community, Uzanu.
According to Shaibu, Agba had allegedly acquired half of the village, and was extending his tentacles to Igiode when another crisis erupted.
He said initially when the boundary issue between Igiode and Uzanu came up, the state government took deliberate steps to ensure peace by properly making a demarcation.
‘At the end of the day, government took that decision because lives were being lost, property were being destroyed.
‘We took that decision to now demarcate using all the necessary coordinates and archival documents.
‘And when we demarcated, some parts that were not in dispute were ceded to Uzanu even though they didn’t ask for it.
‘We followed proper mapping to arrive at that decision, and immediately we did that, there was peace until the Minister of State and the Clan Head started bulldozing areas we had gazetted to Igiode.
‘And we called for three different meetings but the minister in his disregard for constituted authority refused to come, the Clan Head refused to come until we have to arrest some of those that were involved in the earlier dispute three years ago when six people were killed, and he was declared wanted before he surfaced.
‘As a result, government did not have any choice but to first look at the issue of clan. One village cannot be a clan, a clan is a combination of villages.
‘It was sheer government rascality of former governor Oshiomhole and the then Commissioner for Environment, Clem Agba, in their normal parley, decided to just create that clan.
‘So, we have to revoke the clan, and when the clan is revoked, the implication is that there is no Clan Head.
‘Apart from revoking the clan, we withdrew the appointment of the supposed Clan Head that does not exist.
“He was not dethroned because there was a cl6an Head, he was dethroned first because he had consistently generated crisis, and lives were being lost, and refused to maintain peace,’ he stated.
Shaibu said everyone was happy with the decision, except for the minister, saying the decision has put an end to his unbridled desire to acquire the entire village.
The deputy governor said the Edo State Government under Governor Godwin Obaseki would ‘never do anything that is not backed by law, we will never do anything that would be seen as oppressive or unconstitutional.
‘We will follow the rule of law to sustain the peace in the state. It is by the grace of God that we are still there as governor and deputy, and we will not betray that confidence.’