As punishment for failing to apologize ‘within the stipulated period’ to a woman whom he allegedly assaulted, the Edo state government has slammed a one-year suspension on an Edo Monarch, HRH, Zaiki Edenojie II, the Ojuromi of Uromi in Esan North-East LGA.
The Monarch was also stripped of all the privileges and rights of the Ojuromi of Uromi, in line with Section 28(1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979) and his remuneration from the five per cent monthly allocation to the local government “shall be appropriated and donated to orphanages” during the period.
This punishment vetted on the monarch takes effect from Monday, November 7, 2016 and is contained in a letter dated November 4, 2016, and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere.
During the recent state governorship election, the Onojie is alleged to have moved from one polling booth to another, campaigning and trying to coerce voters to vote for his preferred party and candidate.
September 28, one Ms. Betty Okoebor was allegedly assaulted by the traditional ruler for refusing to yield to his “threats,” causing her grievous bodily harm.
Viewing his conduct as utterly embarrassing, disgraceful and unbecoming of a traditional ruler, the state government, issued him with a query and directed him to reply within 72 hours.
According to the state government, Edenojie II “trivialised” the gravity of his misconduct in his apology letter dated October 28 by describing the September 28 incident as an “altercation” and a “family affair,” adding that he also organised a “forgiveness session” for the victim of the said assault to “ridicule” the government.
In their words; “To ridicule the Edo State Government and deride the directive that you apologised to Ms. Okoebor, you proceeded to organise a ‘forgiveness session’ in your palace, in your capacity as Ojuromi, wearing a crown even when you were still suspended from office, purporting to be ‘forgiving’ Ms. Okoebor…
At the said ‘forgiveness session,’ you compelled the victim of your assault to apologize to you for the assault against her person, while on her knees and made to remain in same position while being interviewed by journalists.
You had the embarrassing session videoed and aired repeatedly on television, subjecting Ms. Okoebor to double jeopardy and double disgrace by expanding the frontiers of her embarrassment to a global level, through the electronic and social media. This represents nothing short of a deliberate effort to further aggravate the pain and humiliation of your victim.
You claimed in your letter that Ms. Okoebor had ‘reconciled herself to the throne,’ which conveys the impression that you still represented the throne from which you had been suspended, and further stated that she is your ‘subject’ and you had ‘forgiven’ her.
This was in gross violation of the terms of your suspension from office as provided for in extant laws. The government of Edo State does not accept that there are ‘subjects’ in Nigeria but citizens of the federal republic,” the suspension letter reads.
The Onojie had earlier been suspended for seven days by the government, through the state executive council, for the alleged assault, failure to respond to a query and travelling outside the country without permission.
Other offences have also been leveled against the Monarch by the state government in addressing relations with operators of a cattle market in Uromi, which ranges from unilaterally dissolving their association, appointing preferred person to head the association, banishing their elected leader from Uromi” and “illegally taking over the cattle market and stalls that they built themselves.
According to the state government, his allegations are; “banning about eight butchers from doing business in the Uromi market and assigning the responsibility for collecting revenue for the local government council to your own preferred person, even without authority from the council” and laying “claim to ownership of the land, which was legally allocated to the cattle marketers in the year 2000, among other infractions”.
The government of Edo State says it has high regards for traditional institutions and for the values and customs of our people, and shall under no condition tolerate indiscipline, reckless abuse of traditional privileges, disrespect for its pronouncements, and flagrant humiliation of law-abiding citizens of the state.
Edo state government therefore commuted his dethronement to a one-year suspension from office as Ojuromi of Uromi, in accordance with Section 28(1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979), with effect from November 7, 2016, after taking cognisance of his letter of apology that falls short of the public apology expected from him within the stipulated time, and the earlier suspension letter which had specified dethronement after seven days, in exercise of its powers.