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Edo government, palace flay installation of Ijaw as monarch in Benin


Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

The Edo State government has condemned the installation of an Ijaw as a monarch in Benin City.

A statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, described
the action as “sacrilegious, abominable and criminal.”

The Guardian learnt that one Godwin Oguyenbo, was installed as the “Pere of Olodiama Kingdom,” an Ijaw community in Ovia North East Local Council Area of the state.

The statement said Governor Godwin Obaseki, had directed the law enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute all persons involved in the said coronation.


Ogie said: “The pronouncement constitutes an unprecedented affront to the long-settled culture, traditions and norms of our people.

“Government is of the view that the claim of such a non-existent title in a non-existent community under any guise. It is a clear and pre-meditated breach of our laws, particularly the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law of Edo State, which sets out the list of all recognised traditional rulers and chiefs in Edo State.”

He said the state government would not tolerate actions and pronouncements, which seek to abuse the hospitality offered by the land.

The SGF urged all citizens and residents of the state to remain peaceful and law-abiding and report all actual and potential breaches of the peace to the nearest law enforcement agencies.

Also, the Benin Traditional Council, (BTC) condemned the act, adding that the Ijaw communities are tenants in the state, who have no right to foist a monarch on the community.

The Iyase of Benin, Sam Igbe, who addressed a press conference on behalf of the palace, said the title of “Pere of Olodiama kingdom” does not exist.

According to the chiefs, Gelegele is under the Oba of Benin and there cannot be two monarchs in Benin.

“We want to state categorically that Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State is under the authority of the Oba of Benin, who is the prescribed authority. We only have one monarch in the whole of Edo South Senatorial District, and that is the Oba.

“We would advise that anyone who recognises, purports to install or present himself to be installed as the traditional ruler outside the provision of the Edo State Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, is in violation of the law, and would be arrested and prosecuted,” the palace warned.

The Iyase urged the Pere of Gbaramatu in Delta State to caution the “meddlesome interloper” over laying claim to any territory in the said local government area.

“The Ijaw people of Gelegele are free to live in the area, just like any other ethnic group that lives in that axis. Any attempt to lay claim to the non-existent title and community or village under any guise would be resisted.

“We call on all the law enforcement agencies to fully investigate and arrest those that are behind this abominable act,” he added.

Other palace chiefs who attended the conference were the Esogban of Benin, David Edebiri, the Oliha of Benin, Edionwe Oliha, Esere of Benin, S.O. Obamwonyi and the Eribo of Benin, Ekhorovbiye Oviasogie.

Others were the Eguezigbon of Benin, O. Obamwonyi, Ine of Benin, U. Ufumwen and the Secretary of the BTC, Frank Irabor.

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