TENSION has heightened in Kalaba, an oil-rich community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the killing of the paramount ruler, Chief Francis Kolubo, and the Community Development Committee, CDC, Chairman, Mr Samuel Oburo, by gunmen.
It was gathered that the killing might not be unconnected with the lingering chieftaincy dispute and the deceased’s alleged opposition to plans by some crude oil thieves to set up a bunkering camp in the area.
It was also gathered that while the deceased monarch was abducted from his house on Sunday to an unknown destination where he was murdered, the CDC chairman was dragged out of his house and killed.
According to a source, the deceased royal father had allegedly been at loggerheads with some prominent indigenes over the move to conduct an election that will produce a successor to the throne based on the rotational agreement after four years tenure.
It was learned that all efforts to conduct an election after the community Election Committee, ELECO, had sold forms and screened two persons, were frustrated by the deceased monarch, who was also accused of securing a court injunction and a state government order stopping the election.
A source said an oil bunkering baron in the area had mobilised his group to set up an illegal operation of a crude oil bunkering camp in the forest bordering Kalaba and Ikarama community early this year.
This, according to a community source, was resisted by the slain monarch and CDC chairman, because any attempt to tamper with crude oil pipelines in the area would hinder the development of the community.
The source said, “On Monday, the community woke up to the story that our paramount ruler has been kidnapped by some gunmen at about 3 am in his house. We were all shocked and confused about what may have led to his abduction.
“That same day the CDC chairman travelled to Yenagoa, the state capital, to officially report the incident to the Police.
“While he was there, information came to some members of the community that the gang saw the CDC chairman in Yenagoa while he was reporting the incident to Police and that they had sent some gunmen to lay ambush to his house.
“When he drove into town, he was informed about the plot and advised not to enter the community but he refused. He said no harm will come to him. As he drove into the community, a popular pastor stopped him along the road and pleaded with him to take a back road that would lead him out of the community.
“He still refused to take the advice. Just as the gang had planned, the moment he got to his house about 7 pm, some men armed with guns and machetes stormed the place and dragged him to his backyard where they murdered him.”
It was further gathered that shortly after the killing of the CDC chairman, the killer gang sent a message to the community that the monarch has been gruesomely murdered and gave them directions to where they could recover the corpse.
Reacting to the incident, the Project Officer/Head of Niger Delta Resource Centre of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Morris Alagoa, described the killing as “unfortunate and a sad commentary.”
Spokesman of Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the incident, said the corpse of the monarch was found in the Ikarama community and that the police are investigating the development.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the police have arrested some suspects allegedly in connection with the killings including a former CDC chairman and paramount ruler of the community, Chief Roman Orukali.
Ebonyi traditional ruler kidnapped
In a related development, the traditional ruler of Isu Community in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi, Chief Ambrose Ogbu, has been kidnapped in his palace by suspected gunmen.
A family source, who preferred anonymity, said Ogbu, who is Ezentum II of the community, was kidnapped, alongside his gateman, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
“He was kidnapped in his palace. The kidnappers came with motorcycles in their numbers and ordered the gateman to call the chief out.
“As the chief was coming out, the kidnappers collected his Hyundai SUV car key and immediately forced him into the car and drove away.
“Right now, no contact has been established with the family. We pray he returns alive,” the source said.
Spokesman of the Police Command in Ebonyi, SP Chris Anyanwu, who disclosed this yesterday in Abakaliki, said “Yes, we are aware of the abduction of the traditional ruler
“It happened in Isu, Onicha. The fact now is that we have yet to get the full details,” the police added.