Gentle of the press distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is with great sense of responsibility and sadness that we the chiefs of Agrisaba addressed you today.
It necessary to inform the general public on the true pictures of the events that are unfolding in our community.
The community is known for peace and epitomes serenity, however the peace of the community was shattered after some group of persons opted to use their closeness to power within the state of Bayelsa to harassed and intimidate the chiefs and the youths leadership in their quest to foist a new leadership on the community.
The chiefs wish to inform the general public and human right community the real picture of the happening in the community.
The community leadership was under the leadership of a regent after the demise of the king and after the burial based on the laid down age long tradition and the constitution of the council. This was the state of the affairs in the community before the turn of events. The community peace was thrown into the wind by the deployment of state apparatus. The deployment of the state apparatus was facilitated and made possible by the SSA to deputy the governor on chieftaincy affairs and the Dr john Idumangi SSA on research and social media to the Governor of Bayelsa state.
We wish to also state that the SSA to the governor on social media and strategy has deployed all the tools of his office to embark on campaign of calumny against the chiefs using the media of the state and the social network. The SSA Dr Idumangi as a son of the land opted to circumvent the laid down procedure for the choice and election of a king in the community by desecrating the traditional procedure for the emergence of a king.
The office of the SSA to the deputy and SSA to Governor deployed the state apparatus to bear to purportedly install a king. This was done using the Nigeria army with gunboat and mobile policemen to invade the community in a commando style. The purported installation of the king was presided and done in the full glare of the military and representative of the council of traditional rulers as an observer. The deployment of the military and the police was to demonstrate that they are in power and the presence of the secretary of the Bayelsa state traditional rulers council was to give credence and legality to the illegality.
We did not cave in to the antics and the purported election of a new king without due regard to our custom, tradition and the constitution. Our stand and decision not to discard our cherished tradition is now a source of pain to us as custodian of the tradition of the community.
The tradition as laid down is very clear on the procedure and the powers to elect the king is vested with the king makers the chiefs and the elders of community after the nomination of the aspirants by the various royal houses of the community. We stand to defend the ancient and democratic process of the election of a king as the king makers and we refuse to bow to their arrogant display of power.
Gentlemen of the press, our decision not to recognised the purported election has made life unbearable for us the chiefs and the youth leadership. They have resorted to all forms of blackmail to ensure that we submit to the naked use of state power. In our desire for justice we approach the High court in the state to determine the matter as law abiding citizens. Our decision to uphold our laid down principle for the choice and the election procedure for new king is now the source of all forms of intimidation and harassment and blackmail.
They have deployed the state police command of Bayelsa state to effect the arrest of the chief Awudul the Regent of the community based on spurious allegation of sponsoring militant leader in the community just to give a dog a bed name to hang it. The petition was acted upon even without any scintilla of evidence .He was arrested and detained and it took the intervention of the some individuals to effect his release. The use of the tactics was to break the rank and file of the council members and instil fear on the rest members.
This group of men using their contact in corridors of power have resorted to politicised the issue by accusing them of antiparty activity just to weep up sentiment to curry favour from the office of the Deputy Governor and Governor of Bayelsa state. They have one objective which they intend to achieve the regent who is control of the leadership of the chiefs as a member of the PDP EXCO must be blackmail with antiparty activities to pave the way for his removal in his official capacity as the assistant publicity secretary in the state.
The chiefs’ council constitution and tradition required the holding of meeting quarterly by members in the community.
It was based on this fact we the members of the council of chiefs wrote a letter to the commissioner of police for permission and protection during the meeting based on our desire to maintained law and order. The fact remain that we have the right to assembly and association as citizens of Nigeria but deem it necessary to informed the police based on the state we find ourselves. The commissioner of police gave graciously granted the approval of the meeting and deployed 15mobile police men to the community. The JTF commandant in charge of Nembe was also notified and deployed his men to the community. It is sad and worrisome that the police men ran away with the speedboat abandoning their responsibility to maintain law and order. The chiefs were attacked in the presence of the police without them intervening. The chiefs and some of the youths were injured and to specific chief (Barr) Denis Otiotio Odoni and chief William Beredugo Ginah were injured during the attack.
The role of the police is questionable and raised the issue of conspiracy on the part of the police, why the police commissioner did deploy the police to the community when the motive was to provide protection to the factional group of men in government to commit such despicable crime.
Is the Bayelsa state police command meant to be used to settle traditional and political difference in the state?
Gentle of the press, we the council of chiefs wish to inform the general public that the same police commissioner that deployed the policemen and also gave approval has arrested Chief Odoni a victim of the attack, he has been detained based on spurious allegation that he and the chiefs were setting up a new PDP. This is part of the orchestrated effort to pitch the chiefs against the president and the Governor. Let us state for record purpose that the Chief Awudul is the assistant publicity secretary of the party in the state and participated actively in the press briefing by the party EXECO held on the 12th of September 2013 to dispel the story making round that there is a splinter group of PDP in the state of Bayelsa. The chiefs and the community participated supported and voted for the president and the Governor during the elections and their support for the duo is unwavering.
We condemn the action of the police and demand the immediate and unconditional released of the Chief Odoni which health is deteriorating as a result of the pains and injury he sustained and the inhuman condition he is been subjected to. The Bayelsa state police command has persistently and consistently refused to grant him bail since Friday that he was arrested. The Bayelsa police command has no right to detained a citizen of Nigeria for an allege offence that is bailable and the allege act is not a crime.
The chiefs wish to thank the Joint task force in the state for rescuing the chiefs from the hands of death and upholding the truth. The attempt to use misinformation which is the tool of trade failed when it was deployed by REV Azibaodi Ipigansi in a desperate attempt to misinform the military. It was part of the ploy to give wrong information to the army to enable the military to descend on the innocent chiefs and the youths by arresting them as the police are used but they refused to be used to settle community issues. We sincerely thank these gallant officers for demonstrating once again the professionalism that our officers and men are known for in the world.
We wish to state that we have never participated in any form of activity that has endangered the peace of the community as custodian of the tradition. The protection of our culture and tradition and the constitution is a sacred duty we owe ourselves and we will defend it using the all legal and constitutional process.
The allegation based upon which Chief (Barr) Denis Otiotio is been held is baseless and fathom, the commandant of the Nembe JTF and the OC CIB NEMBE can attest to the fact that it was a meeting of traditional king makers (CHIEFS)
We demand for the immediate transfer of the all cases pending in the police command of Bayelsa state to forces headquarters for proper investigation.
Chief Sampson AWUDUL
Regent/Chairman council of Agrisaba.
CHIEF WILLIAMS JOEL ONYI
SECREATARY OF COUNCIL OF CHIEFS
Chief Promise Ginah Igbelegbe
AG Head AKARI GROUP OF HOUSES
Chief Edoghotu Edogho
AG Head ELELI GROUP OF HOUSES