Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has reaffirmed the removal of the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti community in Ogbia Local Government Area, of the state, Chief Cousin Wongo.
The governor, despite protest from some quarters has said that the dethronement of the community monarch is irrevocable.
Recall that on Monday, Diri 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 alleged complicity in the kidnap of the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr. Federal Otokito, from his residence in the community.
Mr. Otokito, has however, regained his freedom after his abductors inflicted severe injuries on him.
Speaking during a reception at Otuokpoti shortly after commissioning a Divisional Police Station constructed by the Ogbia council chairman, Ebiyon Turner, the governor said his action was in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State.
According to him, “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.
He 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 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.”