The paramount ruler of Ikebiri Kingdom, in Bayelsa State, His Royal Highness Francis Ododo Timi, Ike IIX, has debunked report making the rounds that military personnel invaded his community.
According to the traditional ruler, the report is not only false, baseless and misleading, but “an attempt by some unscrupulous persons to instigate crisis between youths in the Niger Delta region and the military high command, with a view to resuming fresh crisis in the area.”
Ododo said Ikebiri Kingdom, comprising Ikebiri 1, 2 and 3 communities, has been very peaceful and at no time was it attacked by military personnel as contained in the said publication.
“On December 15, 2017, being my late father’s Remembrance Day, we hosted a military patrol team that was on routine patrol duties, while an inter-denominational swimming competition and canoe race which were part of the Remembrance Day event in the Kingdom was going on,” he said.
The traditional ruler, a retired school principal, who expressed shock at the publication, narrated how he pleaded with the military patrol team to spend some time in the community while his late father’s Remembrance Day activities lasted, explaining that he also briefed the patrol team of a Community
Development Committee (CDC) chairmanship election in the community.
The CDC chairmanship position, he said, being rotated among the different families which made up the community under a zoning system, had been earlier zoned to the Usaku-wari family during a general meeting of the entire kingdom, pending the selection and official presentation of the family’s candidate to the community, to be sworn-in at the expiration of the current tenure of the CDC.
The royal father lamented that the reporter, never bothered to hear from him or any of the family chiefs, before going to press, pointing out that neither the military spokesperson nor the police was contacted for confirmation of such a very sensitive report which could trigger violent reactions from stakeholders in the region.
“To the best of my knowledge, that fateful day, December 15, 2017, I hosted some military personnel. Thank God the day coincided with the remembrance of my late father.
“I personally informed the military personnel that a family was trying to hold a family and that it would be good to have them around. The military personnel agreed and stayed and, at the end, there was no violence in the community.
“Even after the meeting, there was a football match among the churches that took place from 4 to 6pm,” the royal father added.
He wondered how a community invaded by the military would still come together to carry out those water-sporting events in the community.
“What that fellow wrote is a complete lie. He just wants to trigger or incite youths, not only in our community, but in the Niger Delta region, to go against the military. I think he has his own agenda, because the community was never invaded as was claimed by the publication. Infact, nothing of such happened. If he has any hidden agenda against the military, let him do it without involving the community.
Ododo went on to ask the writer of the said report to apologise publicly to the Federal Government, the Bayelsa State government and the people of Ikebiri Kingdom, because he is trying to give them a bad name they are not ready to bear.
“There was no problem, just family meeting which was the major event in the community and, thereafter, it was my late dad’s remembrance. My father’s remembrance is to tell everybody that there was no problem whatsoever in the community, even in the entire kingdom.
It would be recalled that a national daily recently reported that there was tension in Ikebiri 1 Community in Southern Ijaw local government council area of Bayelsa State, following alleged invasion by armed soldiers’ and forceful installation of an individual, Comrade Abiola Ayakoroama, as chairman of the Community Development Council (CDC).
An aggrieved applicant for the chairmanship position, Saint Mienpamo, had told Leadership Newspapers that “the soldiers were hired to invade the meeting which held at Usaku-wari in Tamakuno compound. They asked those who protested their invasion to kneel and presided over a family meeting, declaring that a candidate sponsored by an ex-militant must prevail. These soldiers were led into the community by two gun boats.
“Youths were flogged with horse-whip by the soldiers. I call on the military high command to hold the soldiers attached to Azuzuama oil pipeline route responsible for any breach of peace and violence in the area.”
In his swift reaction to the said false publication, the acting secretary of Usaku-wari, Mr. Alpheaus Femene, said the family was mulling taking legal action against the national daily which published the false story against the family and the community and called for immediate retraction of the misleading publication.
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