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Chieftaincy tussle : Court orders police Inspector to stop parading as paramount ruler

THE State High Court sitting in Yenagoa and presided over by Justice Matilda Ayumieye has put a stop to the brewing tension in Ayama Ijaw community, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, following the suspension of an Inspector of Police forcefully claiming the vacant stool of the Amananowei/paramount ruler of Ayama Ijaw community.

The seat was said to have been vacant for a year now after an election that was described as fraudulent was conducted in the community on October 10, 2015.

The fourth claimant, Chief Amen Sariki, had prayed the court to disregard the purported election, claiming that the defendant, Inspector Carrol Ebide, was a public servant under the Edo State Police Command and was not qualified according to the constitution.

The presiding judge, Justice Matilda Ayumieye, granted the prayers of the fourth claimant quashing the decision of the first defendant and all other defendants in the matter to give the position to the unqualified candidate.

According to the orders, “the first defendant, Inspector Ebide, being a serving Inspector of Police is not qualified to contest for or ought to take the position of the paramount ruler of Ayama Ijaw community  in Soulthern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

“The court also nullified the 2015 election of Amananowei/paramount ruler seat of Ayama Ijaw held on October 10 and any other subsequent action of illegal coronation of first defendant of the first set of defendants based on the set purported outcome of the said election.

“An order is granting that the fourth defendant be presented to the chiefs and elders of Ayama Ijaw community for coronation as the paramount ruler of Ayama Ijaw, as he was the only qualified candidate for the election that was held.

“An order of perpetual injunction is, hereby, granted, restraining the first defendant, Inspector Ebide from parading himself as the paramount ruler/ Amananowei of Ayama Ijaw community, and also an order restraining all other defendants, agents and supporters from parading Ebide as paramount ruler.

A charge of N30,000 penalty fee was placed on the first defendant, Inspector Ebide.

Justice Ayumieye, had earlier said the first defendant, according to law, as a public servant ought not to have contested or otherwise resign before contesting, adding that according to claims the said inspector was never married, does not have furniture in his home as required by the chieftaincy law.

Furthermore, she said the first defendant contravened section 4 of the chieftaincy law of Bayelsa state 2016 that set out the conditions for qualification to the position of a paramount ruler of a community, no person shall be recognize by the Governor as a Chief unless the government certify that the person seeking recognition is not a full time public servant.