IJAW MONARCHS TO CLARK: We are not answerable to you
By Our Correspondent
IJAW traditional rulers over the weekend in Warri, Delta State, said they were not subject to the wishes of former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, in their actions and efforts to end the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta and allied matters.
The Ijawa kings stated this in reaction to Friday’s condemnation of Ijaw monarchs, who went to Abuja, Thursday to meet with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, without his knowledge and participation of other ethnic groups.
Present at the monarch’s meeting in Warri. yesterday, were HRM, Pere Dr. Charles Ayemi-Botu (OFR), Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, HRM King I. Timiyan (JP), Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom and Chief Wellington Okrika, representing Gbaramatu Kingdom, who collectively affirmed that Chief Clark as an Ijaw, was their subject and could not dictate to them.
King Timiyan in his remarks. noted, “It was careless of Chief Clark to say that leaders, who went to Abuja got no mandate from him. As traditional rulers and custodians of the tradition of our people, if anything befalls our people and not in line with peace, we have to be seen as doing things to take care of their interest.”
“Therefore, we have every right to interface with whoever in the land to bring about the desired peace. When there are attacks and bombings, our people are affected. We need to be seen as proactive. We started meeting in different forms, went to Bayelsa, Uyo, came to Delta and have been to Abuja, all in trying to bring succour for our people,” he added.
King Semi – Both added: “As traditional rulers, we are not liable to the whims and caprices of Chief E.K Clark. He is our subject and when he calls meetings and we leave our palaces and go to his place, it is an honour that we have done to him but it appears he has taken that for granted, therefore, that honour is hereby withdrawn.”
The Ijaw monarch said their recent actions, including the Abuja parley with Kachukwu, were being taken in line the progress that have been made and grounds so far covered over the ultimate desire to mutually resolve the ongoing situation with the federal government.
“We have been doing all we can in line with the understanding reached with certain persons that are external, but deeeply concerned because this matter needs to be witnessed by people from the international community,” he said.
His words: “We have every right to approach anyone we think could bring peace. A little history may suffice, we have different platforms before now, there is groups A and B. Group A is led by King Diette Spiff and did not just come like that. They have been working and had meetings in Uyo, Warri and have been interfacing with government while group B headed by T. K. Ogoriba, one of our vibrant sons.”
“These are the persons that have been interfacing with the young men. These groups in place are those that have been so recognised. It was as a result of some of these meetings held that we brought in Chief Clark to hold that August 19th meeting. He cannot, therefore, say that anybody must take authority from him”, added King Ayemi Botu,” he declared.
The monarch said they did not give the federal government conditions for ceasefire in Abuja, as wrongly reported by the media, adding: ” We have been interfacing with Kachikwu before now, we only told him some things to do to build confidence of the boys in the dialogue.”