Ijaw groups have demanded an apology from Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers after he threatened to sanction a Kalabari monarch over a visit by Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa.
The groups consist of Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) and the Ijaw Nation Forum (INF).
In a statement jointly signed by Chief Atamuno Atamuno Vice-Chairman IEF; Retired Maj.-Gen. Paul Alaowei Toun, Chairman Board of Trustees IPA; Ben Amaebi Okoro, Moderator INF, they expressed shock at Wike’s utterances.
“We have watched with dismay a video clip showing the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, berating and denigrating the revered stool of the Amayanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill with threats of removal over the visit of the governor of Bayelsa State to the Kalabari monarch.
“Governor’s Wike’s threat to the Amayanabo of Kalabari is totally unacceptable, divisive and capable of causing unnecessary division and unnecessary tension in Rivers State,’’ the groups said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Wike threatened to dethrone the Amayanabo of Kalabari kingdom, Theophilus Princewill, over a recent visit to his palace by his Bayelsa counterpart, Seriake Dickson.
Wike accused his Bayelsa counterpart of creating tension in the state by allegedly embarking on the trip without getting clearance from the appropriate authorities under the guise “of coming to see Ijaw people’’.
“This coalition of Ijaw Elders Forum Lagos, Ijaw Professionals as well as the Ijaw Nation Forum condemns in very strong terms this disrespect of the respected traditional institution.
“We have absolute respect for constituted authority and expect persons in position of authority to reciprocate same,’’ the coalition added.
The coalition said that the monarch could not be removed at the whims and caprices of the governor.
“We would like to emphasise that the monarch of Kalabari is occupying a well-respected traditional throne vested upon him by the ancestors of his kingdom and cannot be removed at the whims and caprices of the governor.
We request that the governor remedy this obvious mistake by issuing an apology to the monarch and the good people of the Ijaw nation to correct this wrong done to our people,’’ the groups said.