Women Protest Against Excesses Of Ijaw Monarch, Demand Account For Twelve Years

LAGOS DECEMBER 22ND (NEWSRANGERS)-Having probably tolerated the excesses of the  paramount ruler of Ikebiri 1 community in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State, Chief Francis Ododo for twelve years on the throne without rendering accounts on how community funds have been spent, women under the auspices of Ikebiri 1 Women Movement, recently took to the streets demanding statement of accounts for twelve years he  has been on the throne. 

The women subsequently sent a strong worded petition to the Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Commissioner of police, State Director, Department of State Security (DSS), Commandant, Operation Delta Safe, Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Camp Porbini, General Manager, District, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Port Harcourt, Head, Community Relations, Swamp, Brass Terminal, Stakeholders Management and Community Development Division Manager, Agip, Port Harcourt and Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

In an emotionally laddened three-page letter, addressed to chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), dated December 16, 2020,  a copy which was obtained by our reporter in Yenagoa, the community women alleged that Chief Francis Ododo has not rendered accounts to the community for the past twelve years on the sacred throne. 

They therefore demanded that he should render accounts of his stewardship as paramount ruler of the community for the past twelve years as stipulated in the community’s written constitution, which says that the paramount ruler  of the community shall render accounts to the community in a general meeting quarterly. 

The petition, signed by the leader of Ikebiri 1 Women Movement, Preye Minifa, her secretary, Love Ayjbanua, financial secretary, Tarilatei Igoli, Doris Benjamin, Silinah Newton and Pretty Abeke, the aggrieved mothers lamented that: “The constitution said a king should give accounts of the community fund but he has not done it for once. 

“Our health center has not been commissioned for doctors to start working, so we take our children to Korokorosei for treatment and we are still suffering from it. Even our schools are not in good shape. We have no teachers, both in our primary and secondary secondary. And we have not been given youth corpers for a long time now. 

“A police station which the community has been building for a long time without completing it. We want the police station to be completed and because there is no safety for our visitors, so company workers go to other community to spend their night. 

“The constitution also demands that a king should not leave the community for more than three months but he stays away, 5 months or more.

“It is written in the constitution that the Kingdom should not use any other account, when there is a community account. And now, we are yet to have any money or a dime from the forty-two million (42,000,000,00).

“As the constitution demand, the community is supposed to have ‘IKE DAY’ once every year. But it has not been done for the past twelve years. The constitution demands that a king is to build his house within two years but our present king has been a king for twelve years without having a house of his own. 

“The community does not have network (communication) and we want mast to be at Ikebiri 1 for easy communication. We the Ikebiri women should be given the sum of two million that was paid to the community. And if we do not get what we have demanded, our next action would be as follows:

“We will be taking 65 drums of diesel from the 105 drums but will never take the 40 drums that are to be used by the community. We will take all the food that Agip will be bringing for the chiefs.

It would be recalled that Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) recently paid a total of forty-two million naira as part of compensation for a major oil spill in Ikebiri Kingdom which was confirmed to be caused by equipment failure.  The paramount ruler and his council of chiefs and a few others were alleged to have shared the money among themselves,  leaving out the women, hence the ongoing protest against the paramount ruler and his cabinet. 

According to Michael Bassey Johnson: “The best way to detect the destructive element in someone is to watch closely their behavioural pattern when given authority over poverty.” 

The basic traits of a toxic leader are generally considered to be either/or insular, intemperate, glib, operationally rigid, callous, inept, discriminatory, corrupt or aggressive by scholars such as Barbara Kellerman. 

Probably, the above observation by Michael Bassey Johnson was what informed the recent mass action by women of Ikebiri Kingdom in Southern Ijaw excesses government area of Bayelsa State against their paramount ruler, a third class royal father and retired principal, Chief Francis Ododo, when they petitioned him to security agencies and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, demanding that he should render accounts of his twelve years’ reign on the throne. 

All efforts to reach the embattled third class royal father proved abortive as all his phone lines were not going through at the time of filing this report.

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