Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has said that notwithstanding protest from some quarters, the removal of the paramount ruler of Otuokpoti community, Ogbia Local Government Area, Chief Cousin Wongo, was irrevocable.
Diri stated this at a reception at Otuokpoti after he inaugurated a Divisional Police Station constructed by the Ogbia Council Chairman, Ebiyon Turner, on Friday.
The governor’s reaction was in response to a protest by some subjects of the deposed ruler at the event.
Diri had on Monday announced the chief’s dethronement as a result of the complicity in the kidnap of the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Federal Otokito, from his residence in the community.
The governor also announced the sacking of the Community Development Committee Chairman, Azibalua Amon, replacing him with Jerry Offor, in acting capacity.
Also, the Youth President, Emolem Igue, was removed and replaced with Shedrach Afiemo.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Otokito, however, regained his freedom on Monday after his abductors inflicted severe injuries on him.
The governor said his action was in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State.
Diri said: “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.”
Diri 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.
He said: “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.
He said: “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.”
Diri, however, granted a request from Otuokpoti people and directed the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Moses Teibowei, to construct the road to the new police station.
He also directed the Education Commissioner, Gentle Emelah, to include fencing of the community’s secondary school as well as building of new classroom blocks in the next batch of contracts to be awarded.
The governor was accompanied by the Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo, and other top government functionaries.
He commended the Ogbia council chairman for initiating and completing the facility.
He, however, said the structure would no longer be adequate for its current status as it was initially built as a police post and directed that it be upgraded.