-My Suspension Is A Case Of Oppression, He Says
His Highness Emmanuel Bankole Kimia, the Amananowei III of Agbere, Tarakiri Kingdom, Sagbama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, has said that his purported suspension as traditional ruler of the Agbere people makes him a victim of corruption, adding that it was a case of oppression.
Speaking to Oasis Magazine during an exclusive interview with him at his Warri residence recently, he added that the said suspension was done during a stage managed conference at Agbere in 2001, as a result of his support for the then State Governor, Late Chief Diepreye Alamieyesiegha JP, prior to the 1999 elections, who he also invited during his coronation in 2000 as Special Guest of Honour, among other reasons.
Kimia gave the names of the masterminds of his suspension as Chief Francis Doukpolagha, J.K. Brambaifa, N.A. Ekadi, Capt. A. Brambaifa, Chief Johnson Opuzi, Capt. G. Etoloh, Mr. Kemi Prefa and Mr. Pere Kalama.
According to him, Chief Doukpolagha, served as the Amananowei of Agbere from 1994 to 1997, and intend to take full control of the community after his failed attempt to become Governor of Bayelsa State in 1999.
He also alleged that Doukpolagha installed his relative, Chief Akadi in his stead, by proxy to enable them take charge of all contracts from AGIP and used every means to deny him access to the throne.
Speaking further, he noted that Doukpolagha’s resignation letter was kept a secret by his close associates despite calls from his then council of chiefs to clear the air, who then handed to Chief Victor Alale.
Letters written by the embattled leader to Late Chief Alamieyeseigha and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the then Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively, Commissioner, Local Government and Chieftaincy Titles and the Commissioner of Police in the state, to bring about calm to the troubled community were shown to this reporter.
Kimia argued that he was duly nominated, screened and recommended to the Pere of Tarakiri, who gave his blessing as required by the constitution of Tarakari clan before his installation on the 26th of February, 2000, after the state organ responsible for Chieftaincy matters issued a certificate of recognition and staff of office on 12th May, 1999.
Speaking further, he said that while he functioned as the Amananowei, he influenced the movement of oil companies into the area, placed Chiefs, elders and youths on monthly stipends, stressing that the rivalry that is on ground now in the community has brought about an end to these.
He continued: “I do not want to gamble with my life and that is why I left the community. Many of my subjects who supported me were arrested on false allegations of planning to kill some elites and indigenes in the community and burn down houses.
“The matter is still pending in the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, and has lasted for over three years. The question put before the court which I want the government of Bayelsa State to answer is: Am I still the traditional ruler over Agbere Community?”
Kimia opined that he has travelled to several countries and plans to replicate some of the good things in his community that he has seen in his travels.
He hoped that he gets justice and disclosed that despite being 81 years of age, if he is given a chance to lead the community by those fighting for his position, he would still be able to make impact.
He said further that if he had police protection, he would have been in his community, recounting how he narrowly escaped being killed by those that do not want him to continue as the traditional ruler of the community.
A Commission of Inquiry was constituted several years ago, but the findings were not made public till date. This, Kimia says is due to the powers that Doukpolagha wields in the state.
Kimia disclosed that he is yet to receive his stipends since the tussle started, saying that after his suspension, five persons have been appointed in his stead, with many of them vacating mysteriously.
Continuing, he opined that the stock in trade in the community now is pull-him-down-syndrome by the elites, thereby leaving the community underdeveloped.
Kimia was nominated for the position after a National Delegate Conference by the community where he served as secretary after his retirement from Shell in 1996.
According to information gathered, Mr. John Maseri is said to be the traditional ruler in Agbere Community at the moment.
By Daniel Dafe