The succession tussle in Warri kingdom following the demise of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, and the selection of Prince Tsola Emiko as Olu-designate, took a new twist on Friday with the grilling of the Ologbotsere (prime minister) of Warri Kingdom, Ayiri Emami, by the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, Zone 5 headquarters, Benin City, Edo State.
Ayiri was questioned by the police over the invasion of the palace of the Olu during which the over 400-year-old crown and symbol of the Itsekiri monarchy, were reportedly carted away.
The police had in its letter of invitation with reference number CR3000/2N.5/X/AV/Vol/83/41, dated Wednesday April 21, 2021, said the questioning became imperative over the kingship crisis in the Warri kingdom which had resulted in high-level tension in the oil city and environs.
The letter, addressed to Emami, was titled: Police Invitation Letter. Re-case of burglary, stealing, and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
Ayiri was questioned alongside another palace chief, Macgrey Richmond, for over two hours at the zonal headquarters before they were allowed to go at about 1.45 pm.
Speaking with journalists after his questioning, the Ologbotsere said he told the police that he knew nothing about the invasion of the palace.
“I was invited based on the incident in Warri, and it happens to be the invasion of the Olu’s palace, and I told them I know nothing about that because I was not in town when that incident happened; so, I know nothing about it and I told them I know nothing about it.”
Explaining what caused the crisis, Emami said “It is about the laid-down procedure which is one of the reasons why I am here and I have told the police. The police have questioned me on that issue, what led to the invasion; I have answered that, and other issues I can’t divulge.
“I did not sign any undertaking. All they asked was who invaded the palace and that certain things are missing in the palace; they want to know the whereabouts of those things and I told them what I know.
“As a person, I, Ayiri Emami, cannot say that I am in support or not. We have laid-down rules and procedures that the Itsekiri normally operate with. So, as Ayiri, the issue has nothing to do with myself.
“The person in question (Olu-designate) is my brother; he is my friend, so, I have no personal issue. When you say Ayiri is not in support, whatever we are doing as Itsekiri, there are laid down procedures and that is what I am trying to do so it is not that I am not in support of whatever they are doing.
“I am not the one that reported this issue here; they reported, and I have been invited, and I came here, and I have made my statement. So, it is left for the police to act, not me.
“I don’t have any issue with anybody. It is not about Ayiri; it is about the people of Warri Kingdom. If they are happy, I am happy; that is why I am the custodian.
“I don’t have any personal issue against anybody. If they feel they are happy, mine is to keep the heritage and that is what I stand for. But if they are happy about it, I am happy.”
Speaking on his suspension, Emami said, “I don’t know where the ruling house derived that power from. I was asked to be summoned by an edict. You can’t take some part of the law, and you want to do away with the other part; so I don’t know where they derived their powers from, so I won’t talk about suspension.”
The embattled Ologbotsere however hinted of peace moves, stating that “There are talks ongoing, and all that I pray for is for peace to come back to my kingdom”.
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