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A monarch’s lamentation: I have been suspended for no just cause

• Speaks on the killing of 27 in his domain, how he tried to rehabilitate warring groups and make peace

By Etop Ekanem

The Ukwata 1 of Umukwata Kingdom, Friday Abaja, says Delta State government has not given any cogent reason for his suspension.

Chief Abaja
Chief Abaja

Friday urged the state government to properly investigate what happened so that the truth will prevail at the end of the day.

It will be recalled that Delta State government, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, handed him a six-month suspension with immediate effect for alleged “acts inimical to peace, order and good governance.”

The monarch, who spoke in Lagos, said: “I do not know why I was suspended. For a man that makes peace to be labelled a trouble maker, I can’t understand the whole episode. I committed no offence inimical to the peace of the community.

“There was a crisis involving two communities of Amai and Ezhionum in the year 2007, which led the death of 27 people. It was an age-long war over boundary polemics. The various communities tried to make peace to no avail. The state government did nothing until I braced it up and went in to intervene and they gave me listening ears. I then promised to rebuild all the damaged houses within a space of three months to end the crisis and that, if within three months I’m unable to fulfil my promise, they should not believe me again. So within three months, I rebuilt all the houses razed during the crisis and renovated the damaged ones.

“I went as far as compensating the families of the deceased persons. I went as far as facilitating the release of those who were in detention. I spent my time and money on the whole crisis.

“I have been bringing peace to different warring communities like Amai/Umuebu, Amai/ Ezhionum and Umuaja/Obi Obeti, all in Ukwuani Local Government Area. “The widow of the war victim of the Umuaja/Obi Obeti war is on my pay roll till date and I promised to be paying her till God takes my life. While doing all these, I saw it that I was doing my civic responsibility to make peace.

“I was not doing all these because I want anybody to eulogize me. It was God that gave me the willpower to do good to mankind. This accounts for the reasons while I don’t blow my trumpet.

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“So I was surprised when I was told that my suspension was due to ‘acts inimical to peace, order and good governance’. “Am I the cause of these wars? I was doing what government is supposed to do by calming frayed nerves and wiping away the tears of the warring parties. But the government, instead of appreciating my efforts and concern, is branding me with the stamp of abnormal ugliness. It is demeaning and ridiculous! No tyranny of circumstances can permanently imprison a determined will.

“I hereby urge all my citizens to be calm. Nobody is above the law. We are working hard to see how the government will resolve the issue.

“We will do all it takes to cooperate with government to conclude its investigations. I also urge the government to properly investigate what happened and what led to the allegations so that the truth shall prevail at the end of the day.”

He enumerated some of the developmental strides he had brought to his Umukwata Kingdom, without government assistance, to include an estate of 63 flats of three bedrooms; a 7.5km Umukwata road project, 9km interlocking of the community with drainage, a modern market of 64 lock-up shops and a 50-bed free medical centre.

According to him, in the next five years, Ndokwa will move to the next level of development.

“Currently, I am building a modern market with 400 lock-up shops, 232 houses and 40 warehouses and a 4km road to link the market with the main roads to connect Obiaruku/Umutu road and Obiaruku/Ebedei road and the project will be completed in December this year.”

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