BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, Port Harcourt –
Prominent member of Abonnema Council of Chiefs, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs at the weekend escaped assassination when unidentified hoodlums attacked his convoy at Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru local government area of Rivers State.
This is as the council denied the suspension of the paramount ruler of the community, King Disrael Gbobo Bobmanuel, as the chairman of the Abonnema Council of Chiefs, saying that those who announced the suspension of the paramount ruler were renegades.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Lulu-Briggs had visited Abonnema for a peace and reconciliation meeting between chiefs, opinion leaders and elders of the area in respect of the crisis rocking the chairmanship position of Abonnema Council of Chiefs when the incident occurred.
It was further gathered that the octogenarian’s visit to the community followed his appointment as acting chairman of the Chiefs Council, following the alleged suspension of Bobmanuel by some chiefs under the argues of the United Founding Fathers of Abonnema.
An eyewitness, Chief Kingsley Young-Jack, told newsmen that over 200 youths stormed the community’s square immediately Lulu-Brigg’s convoy arrived and started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons at the elder statesman.
Young-Jack said, “Some youths we do not know attempted to kill High Chief Lulu-Briggs, when he came to Abonnema for a peace and reconciliation meeting.
They gathered his car, destroyed cars in his convoy but he was saved because his car is bullet proof. They were shooting guns. We do not know what their annoyance is, but we know they were hired to carry out that act.”
Meanwhile, the Abonnema Council of Chiefs has announced the suspension of five members of the council, including former minister of Aviation, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, following their involvement in the alleged suspension of King Bobmanuel.
The suspended five chiefs, had in a suspension letter, dated November 20, 2017, served on Bobmanuel, accused the paramount ruler of refusing to adhere to the directives of the Council of Chiefs and the Ekine Sekiapu Society of Abonnema, to embark on self-cleansing to prove his innocence on allegation of witchcraft levelled against him.
But reacting to the alleged suspension of the monarch, the Abonnema Council of Chiefs during an emergency meeting at the Abonnema Town Hall, dissociated themselves from the purported letter of suspension sent to the monarch and advertorials to that effect.
They maintained that the Abonnmema Council of Chiefs is the apex customary administrative and adjudicatory body in the area and also the custodian and enforcer of native law and custom in the community, adding that it is only the council that is vested with the power under Kalabari custom to suspend its chairman.
In a statement signed by the paramount ruler and 52 other chiefs, the council stated that there was no group or body known in Abonnema as “United Founding Fathers of Abonnema.”
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