…Insists He’s Recognised Munene of Efuts and None Else
The Paramount Ruler of Calabar South Local Government Area and Muri Munene of the Efut kingdom, Prof Itam Hogan Itam has accused five chiefs in the area of being masterminds of kidnappings and other criminal activities in the council area.
He gave the names of alleged arrowheads of criminal activities as “Maurice Okon Eyo alias Fine Number, Godwin Bassey alias Doctor, Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon, Michael Archibong and Muri Okokon Edem Ambo.”
Prof Itam, in a chat with Journalists on Saturday, said due to the continual cult-related killings and gangsterism in Calabar South in the last few days, he summoned council of chiefs meeting but that armed thugs, allegedly sponsored by the five chiefs, attacked him and his council members on Friday, March 8, 2020.
According to the Monarch, “because we were too worried about the killings and kidnappings happening, we decided to have a meeting with traditional rulers of Calabar South to try to find out what we can contribute to reducing the violence, because government was worried. All the clan heads were gathered, little did we know that they were planning to come and disrupt our meeting, and they attacked us physically.
“When they tried to attacked us, we went to report to the Skolombo Taskforce in that area, we went to them but they said that it’s not in their operation, then I called DPO, he told me that he had just left that there is a new DPO, the new DPO however sent some of his men who could not do anything. That was when I called the DSS and by that time, those people had already occupied my chairmanship position, they were all armed.”
The Paramount Ruler linked the attack to tussles over the seat of the Munene of the Efuts and the Paramount Ruler of the council area.
He said “the seat of the Muri Munene is by rotation amongst the 8 families. Following the demise of the former occupant in 2009, it was the turn of my clan, Efut Ukem, in Odukpani LGA who elected me. And so, out of the 20 ancestral clans, 19 voted for me. The one clan took us up to the Supreme Court and we won all through.
“This led Gov Ben Ayade to formally issue to us the certificate of recognition and a staff of office on 28 September 2018. Yet some fragments of the past joined forces against me to foment trouble and have refused to accept the Supreme Court ruling and the Governor’s recognition, and have resorted to sponsoring violence. They are the ones responsible for banditry and insecurity in Calabar South LGA.”
However, one of the five Chiefs accused of masterminding troubles in the area, Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon, denied sponsoring any form of criminality.
His words: “Two days ago, the Secretary of the Calabar South Traditional Ruler’s Council invited all Clan Heads of Calabar South Local Government Area for a meeting on Friday, May 8, 2020, but when we got there, things turned upside down.
“Initially, we were not given a comfortable place but few minutes later, somebody came from nowhere, called himself the Muri Munene of Efut and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, Prof Itam Hogan Itam, but we the Clan Heads said no, he is not our Paramount Ruler because he is a not a certified Village Head or Etubom in Calabar South.
“The procedure to become a Paramount Ruler of Local Government is in the Edict of 1978, which stated that if there is a vacancy either by dead, the Clan Heads of that local government area will write to the Chieftaincy Affairs, then Chieftaincy Affairs will give one month notice for the Clan Heads to produce one of their own to become a Paramount Ruler.
“It’s over 15 years now since Muri Munene Ita Okokon Ekpeyong, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South died, nothing has been done. I wrote the Chieftaincy Affairs that they should allow us conduct our meetings for us to produce one of us as the paramount ruler but they refused.
“I was the one who took the State Government, Attorney General of Local government and the Chieftaincy Affairs to Court, the Court decided that the Chieftaincy Affairs should give a date for us to come and conduct the election for one of us to become the paramount ruler.
“After about 3 years, the State Government refused to summon us to produce one of our own as a paramount ruler. They decided to go and pick Prof Itam Hogan Itam in Odukpani, who is not a certified village head of this local government and he is not also a clan head of one of the clans here.
“As regards to Friday’s meeting, the Secretary of the Traditional Ruler’s Council, Effiong Ikor sent us a text message inviting us for a meeting and when we got there, we saw Prof Itam coming and we shouted no, he is not the one to preside over the meeting of Calabar South Traditional Ruler’s Council, because he is not a paramount ruler here, he is not a Clan Head, rather, the Muri Maurice Okon Eyo, the Clan Head of Efut Ikot Ekpe is the one to preside,” he stated.