Think-Tank Report Raises Dust Amongst Chiefs Council

There are indications that the report submitted by the Buguma Think Tank Group, led by Alabo Prof. Okorosaye-Orubite, is at the center of intriguing crisis among the Buguma Council of Chiefs. The Buguma Council of Chiefs had expressed a great deal of displeasure, over the report submitted to the Amanyanabo and natural Ruler of the Kalabari people.

According to sources, the report has been eliciting mixed reactions from the council of Chiefs. The report, which was signed by the ten-member committee submitted to His Majesty, the Amanyanbo of Kalabari Kingdom, King Prof. T. J. T. Princewill, CFR, JP, Amachree XI, on the 19th day of June, 2019, at his palace, Ogo Polo, in Buguma City, has in it some recommendations/suggestions that are inimical to the Chiefs Council.

Chairman of Buguma Think Tank, during the presentation of the report said: “These suggestions are within the purview of the Amanyanabo to consider as a working document for the desired peace and progress of Buguma Community and if the said suggestions suffice, an implementation committee of a wider spectrum of Buguma indigenes and class should be set up to implement the suggestions”.

According to sources from the Palace, His Majesty, after the presentation of the report, by the Think Tank group, had sent copies to various organs and associations within the community, like the Buguma Council of Chiefs, Buguma Internal Affairs Society (BIAS), Asari Awo Belema Ogbo, Bainbo Taria, Buguma Progressive Society, etc.

K-Times gathered that there is a certain aspect of the report the chiefs are not comfortable with, hence the bickering from the Chiefs’ council. Investigations further revealed that the Buguma Think Tank, in its report, had suggested that “the chiefs stop the payment of 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand naira) fine for acts leading to the killing of person(s) or capable of killing within Buguma and that if such acts occur, the chiefs from that compound will be made to produce the names of such persons rather than to pay the fine.

The sources revealed that this clause in that report is seen as an affront to the Council, considering the fact that members of the Buguma Think Tank are predominantly chiefs, who ought to know that the fine of 250,000, started as a law under the kingship of Amachree X, as a means of curbing the high rate of unnecessary violence within the community. “However, the recommendation of the Think Tank, was that such person(s), who commit(s) such acts, should not be allowed to go free, but that one of the sources explained, rather than the 250,000.00 fine, the Chiefs of the Compound should submit/present the names of such individuals and let the law have it course,” the source said.

But reacting to this alleged clause, a chief, who pleaded anonymity and who is a member of the Buguma Council, of Chiefs said: “It is unfair to expect our chiefs to go chase these miscreants, who are notorious, and the fines were put to ensure chiefs hold forth their domain effectively”.
K-Times gathered that Chief Charles P. D. Amachree, JP, Oruagbani III-led Buguma Council of Chiefs is highly displeased and disappointed by the report submitted by the Buguma Think Tank and has, therefore, expressed their views to the Amanyanabo of Kalabari in a letter dated 5th July, 2019. The letter, a copy of which is made available to K- Times, among other things, states:

“The inauguration of the Buguma Think Tank Group at Mina Hotels on June 18, 2018, does not give any impetus to members of the group to address the Buguma Council of Chiefs in a non-palatable manner.

“The Buguma Council of chiefs would like to officially inform the Think Tank group through this medium that the only recognized Community Development Council in Buguma City is the BIAS which is also the CDC-probably unknown to the Buguma Think Tank Group.

“This group also demanded in their report submitted to Your Serene Majesty that the purported Buguma Peace and Unity Accord of 2003 should be fully implemented. There are series of complicated issues in that Accord, one of which is that King Abbi Ama Community should be made a general property for Buguma. This was raised by some members of Chief Tariah Group of Houses; Hooper Kiri should also be a general property belonging to Buguma. At this juncture, late Chief Vincent Fred Horsfall (Omekwe V) immediately rejected the motion and said the communities in question belong to King Abbi and Chief Horsfall group of Houses respectively. We want to remind this Group of the fact that some of the contentious issues in that Accord of 2003 will plunge the Community into crisis again if implemented. The alleged Peace and Unity Accord that was signed under duress in 2003.”

K-Times made efforts to reach the Chairman of the Think Tank Group, Alabo Prof. Okorosaye-Orubite, on the developments generated by the report his committee submitted to the Amanyanavo of Kalabari Kingdom. In his response, the seasoned Professor of Education maintained that the letter from the Chiefs’ Council was not addressed to him, or the group, hence he has no comment.

But a member of the Think-Tank told K-Time: “I think there is a misunderstanding of the report by the Chiefs, going their reactions, which I believe will be resolved amicably soonest as the Chairman and members of the committee are looking up to His Majesty.”

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