We Tried to Settle with Benin Palace But Were Rebuffed, Say Suspended Dukes

•Deny sponsorship by Edo government

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Suspended Enigies (Dukes) of Benin Kingdom, yesterday said that contrary to claims that they did not explore customary channels to resolve contending issues with the Palace of Oba of Benin, they adopted all known channels, including customary method to settle their issues with the Palace but were denied access.

However, they said despite instituting a suit in court to seek fair hearing and protection of their human rights, they were not averse to peace but that it must be on the basis of justice which was the reason they went to court to challenge the alleged injustice being meted to them.

The 49 suspended Enigies who chronicled events that led to the crisis between them and the palace at a press conference in Benin City, denied allegations that they were being sponsored by government and its agents.

Besides, they said some members of the royal family and the lawyers to the Oba who recently issued statements condemning the planned peace moves initiative by Governor Godwin Obaseki were wrong in their positions.

Addressing journalists on behalf of  Association of Enigie Edo South Senatorial District, Prof. Gregory Akenzua said: “There is no other traditional process that we know that we have not gone through.

“We are in court to establish protection of our fundamental human rights and I want to also clarify the erroneous impression that has been created in the media that we are being used by some other people to challenge the palace, no.

“ The case that we instituted for our own protection is against His Royal Majesty and also the government because the government is also expected to protect our fundamental human rights.

“We welcome the initiative of those who propose an amicable settlement of the dispute, and regret that comments by some palace chiefs, members of the royal family and the Oba’s lawyers not only do not augur well for the prospect of peace, but go against the legacy of Oba Adolo of blessed memory who was a champion of conciliation.

“We affirm that we stand for peace founded on decorum, integrity and justice. We are upholders of the tradition of our ancestors, and all we wish to do is to continue to serve our people in humility”, he said.

 Akenzua stated that the suit instituted by himself and Edonmwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbaen was to uphold their right to fair hearing which he said every citizen is entitled to.

“On this we do not think it is honourable or dignifying for those who claim to be supporters of the Oba to disrupt the sitting of the court each time the case comes up,” he added.

The Enigies listed non-payment of their monthly entitlements, non-installation of Enigies even after undergoing all traditional requirements and several other issues as reason for their calling for the establishment of traditional councils in the seven local government areas in Edo South.

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