Nigeria

Bayelsa cautions against forceful takeover of community leadership

The Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo-led Isoni-Azama Peace Committee has indicated its readiness to visit areas in dispute between the two communities.

Bayelsa State Government has warned against clandestine moves by some persons to forcefully take over the leadership of Azuzuama Kingdom in the wake of leadership tussle bedeviling the kingdom in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

It vowed that to do everything within its reach to forestall a breach of the peace and maintain law and order in the state.

Governor Douye Diri’s deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the warning during a meeting in Yenagoa on Monday involving the state government, agencies and representatives of Azuzuama Kingdom.

In a statement by the deputy governor’s media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, the government frowned at reports of unrest in the community over leadership position and described the development as mundane and uncalled for.

He maintained that government would not fold its arms and watch anybody or group of persons take the laws into their hands under any guise to cause insecurity in any community.

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Diri, who urged the people of Azuzama to remain peaceful, cautioned those who are seeking to lead, to do so by following due process in the interest of peace and stability for sustainable development and prosperity to thrive in the various communities.

The governor lauded the community leaders for their peaceful disposition and decision to involve the state government, and called on all the parties to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving the issue rather than resort to violence.

He assured that the state government would investigate reports of unrest in the kingdom with a view to ensuring that peace prevails in the area.

Diri said, “Nobody can intimidate the state government or the governor or anybody in government from doing what is right, which is the protection of lives and property.”

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“We are going to do that because it is a sacred duty. We swore to an oath to protect lives and property. I can assure the community that they should just remain calm and peaceful. There is a government in this state. We are not in a banana republic.”

The paramount ruler of Ariwei-Ama, one of the federating communities of Azuzuama, Chief Foncha Ekeuwei-Ariwei, lamented that since the death of the monarch of Azuzuama Kingdom in 2013, the people have not had a replacement.

In their separate remarks the Commander, 16 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, Brigadier General E.T Essien and the state Police Commissioner, Mike Okoli, denied the deployment of their personnel to support any group in Azuzuama.

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