January 16, 2019

Rivers community gives Cole 48 hrs to apologise over gunrunning, bunkering comments

Tonye Cole

Tonye Cole

By Davies Iheamnachor

PORT HARCOURT—The embattled Rivers State governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Tonye Cole, has come under fire for describing Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area of the state as the heart of oil bunkering and gunrunning.

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The community said it will institute a law suit against Cole if he does not apologise within 48 hours.

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Cole had, while appearing as guest on a radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday, reportedly described Bille Kingdom as the heart of oil bunkering and proliferation of firearm.

Cole said when he visited the kingdom, he saw many youths with guns, adding that their illegal activities in oil has caused devastation in the area.

Speaking, yesterday, in Port Harcourt on behalf of the Amayanabo-in-Council, Vice Chairman of Bille Kingdom Chiefs Council, Alabo Ibitamino Minapakama, called on Cole to tender apology for accusing the people wrongly.

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Minapakama said it was wrong for Cole to go on air and pass biased judgment on the kingdom, adding that Bille remains the most peaceful community in Ijaw nation.

He said: “It is totally unacceptable that Cole could maliciously portray the calm and peaceful Bille Kingdom in such a negative light. Bille Kingdom rejects and condemns in its entirety, the surreptitious move by Cole to bring calamity upon the kingdom.

“Is it not possible for him to do his political campaign without having to blackmail the Bille Kingdom?

“We are proud to say that Bille Kingdom is and has been the most peaceful Ijaw or riverine kingdom in Rivers State, a kingdom where cultism, piracy and militancy are taboos.

“In light of the above, the Amayanabo-in-Council, Chiefs and the people of the Bille Kingdom hereby give Cole, APC governorship aspirant in Rivers State 48 hours to make public withdrawal of his malicious statements and render apologies to the Amayanabo-in-Council, chiefs and people of Bille Kingdom in both prints and electronic media.

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“Notice is hereby given to Cole that should he refuse and/or neglect to carry out the above simple demand, the Amayanabo-in-Council, chiefs and people of Bille Kingdom shall without further recourse to him, take all appropriate legal action on the matter.”