EFFURUNâ€”Urhobo traditional rulers have dissociated themselves from a publication allegedly purported to have warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to stop witch-hunting former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.
The royal fathers, in a statement issued at Effurun, weekend, by leaders of Delta Central (Urhobo) Elders/Leaders Stakeholders Forum, against the backdrop that they held a meeting where the decision was allegedly taken, said the meeting neither discussed the issue of Ibori nor issue any communique which they were said to have appended their signatures.
They said the meeting was to decide on representatives of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, as zoned to Delta Central.
The monarchs, in the statement signed by the Forum Chairman, Chiefs P.E.S. Ideh, Leader, J.E. Ukueku and Secretary, Prince Sam Kohwo, described the publication in question as a monumental fraud, stressing that most of the traditional rulers whose signatures appeared on the publication were not even at the meeting.
They said: â€œThe recent publication in a national daily allegedly made by Urhobo Traditional Rulers warning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to, among others, stop witch-hunting Chief James Onanefe Ibori, is a farce.
â€œThe traditional rulers neither discussed the issue of Ibori at the meeting where they allegedly took the decision, nor did they issue any communiquÃ© or append their signatures to the published document.
â€œThe names and signatures of the fifteen high-ranking Urhobo traditional rulers that appeared in the publication were allegedly lifted from the attendance list of the meeting, which was said to have been called to discuss the issue of selection of officers for the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON.
â€œHRM Oharisi III, the Ovie of Ughelli, was also present at the said meeting but did not sign the attendance list that was re-presented as signatures to the said publication.
â€œHRM Emmanuel E. Sideso (JP), Abe 1, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, whose name also appeared as signatory to the publication, was not present at the full working session of the meeting. He arrived when the meeting was already rounding off, and was only made to sign the attendance list.
â€œSeveral of the Urhobo traditional rulers were shocked when they found their names and signatures in the publication without their knowledge and or consent, without any such resolutions at the meeting. Some of the aggrieved traditional rulers may soon make a public pronouncement on the issue.”
The Forum warned those behind the alleged fraud to desist from attempting to bring Urhobo traditional stools into disrepute, saying, â€œthe kings who are custodians of tradition and integrity could not have descended to seek reprieve for any form of criminality.â€