- Sets up seven-man committee to probe king
- My comments were doctored by APC, says embattled ruler
The Bayelsa State Government has suspended His Royal Majesty, King Boutua Collins Aranka Ibedaowei of Opokuma clan in Kolokuma/ Opokuma Local Government Area over comments allegedly made during the visit of the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva.
The monarch had received Sylva in his palace at Opokuma clan in Kolokuma/Opokuma which is the home local government of incumbent governor and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Douye Diri.
King Aranka who had commended Sylva for his performance when was governor and wished him the best in his quest to return as governor was alleged to have pleaded with his visitor to help improve the salaries of traditional rulers which he claimed was N28,000 monthly.
However, in a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Thompson Amule said the monarch quoted the wrong figures.
“HRM King Aranka had erroneously told his guest, Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at his palace in Opokuma town, that traditional rulers in the state were being paid N28,000 as monthly allowance. This is patently incorrect and false in every material sense.
“The Bayelsa State Government pays First Class Kings in the status of King Aranka the sum of N650, 000 monthly.
“Second Class Kings receive N120, 000; Third Class Kings get N80, 000 while Fourth Class Kings are paid the sum of N30, 000 monthly.
“Having made this clarification, the government would not join issues any further with the traditional institution over the unfortunate comments by HRM King Collins Aranka of Opokuma Kingdom.’’
Consequently, the deputy- governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo announced the immediate suspension of King Aranka from office and the setting up of a seven-man panel to probe allegations against him.
Ewhrudjakpo in the statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubra Atasi, directed King Aranka to cease carrying out any traditional duties pending the conclusion of investigation and subsequent lifting of the suspension.
“His suspension was due to a reported case of falsehood and a misrepresentation of the chieftaincy laws of the state.
“Consequently, a seven-man committee has been constituted to investigate the allegations brought against him, with the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Local Government Administration and Community Development, Chief Thompson Amule, as Chairman.
“The Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo, SAN, his counterpart of Information and Orientation, Hon. Ayibaina Crowther Duba, and the Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council in the State, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo are to serve as members.
“King Dakolo is also expected to nominate three First Class traditional rulers from each of the three senatorial districts to be members of the committee.”
Ewhrudjakpo gave the committee two weeks to conclude its assignment and present a report to the government.
Meanwhile, the embattled monarch, King Aranka, in a video released on Wednesday, has said that the video where he was seen making the comments brewing crisis was doctored by the media team of the APC with the aim of creating disaffection between him and the governor who happens to be his kinsman.
He said, “When he came, I received him as usual but they went back and fabricated that video to turn the governor, my own son, against me. Why would I speak against myself? Why would I speak against my own son? They will hear from my lawyers. The APC members are liars trying to gain cheap attention.”