By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has cautioned traditional rulers against illegal seizure of the monthly salaries of traditional chiefs in their domains to allow for peaceful administration of the communities.
The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, who gave the word of caution on Thursday while receiving the representatives of the Onijan of Ijan Ekiti, Oba Oyewole Fadahunsi and traditional chiefs whose salaries had been withheld for over five years.
A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, said the parley was the second round of peace meeting to resolve the crisis of confidence between the monarch and the aggrieved chiefs who had petitioned the state government on the matter.
Egbeyemi issued a two-week ultimatum for the payment of the affected traditional chiefs by the Onijan-in-Council saying seizure of their pay without the consent of the state government was unacceptable.
The Deputy Governor stressed that no Oba is authorised to withhold the monthly stipends of any chief without the proper and official notification of the state government.
Egbeyemi further directed that the evidence of payment of the concerned chiefs must be submitted to his office for confirmation.
He advised Obas in the state not to take the law into their own hands in resolving differences with their chiefs noting that due process must be followed in sanctioning any erring chief and evidence of any infraction must be provided to the government before any punitive action is taken.
The Deputy Governor who was reacting to the last meeting held on the Ijan crisis said government was not happy with the manner some traditional rulers seize the monthly stipends of their chiefs as a form of punishment.
He said: “No Oba has the power to stop the salaries of his chiefs without the consent of the state government because he must let us know the offence of that chief before getting the go-ahead to withhold the money.
“We are for justice here, nobody can bribe us or say that he can do what he likes because he has the connection. Everything must follow due process.”
The Deputy Governor further counselled traditional chiefs to always perform the official duties assigned to them by their Obas and also attend meetings in the place adding that any chief who fails to perform his duties may not be entitled to his pay.
He expressed delight that the aggrieved chiefs had complied with the government directive given at the last meeting that they should return to the palace they had boycotted for about five Yeats and cooperate with their Oba assuring that the issue of their monthly pay would be resolved.
The state’s number two citizen said government was interested in peace and tranquility in all towns and villages in Ekiti hence its interest in always resolving differences that may spark crisis and unrest.
Speaking on behalf of the affected chiefs, the Oniyare, Chief Sesan Fabamise, and the Olufon, Chief Olusola Dada disclosed that it was after they had returned to the palace as directed by government that they discovered ghay the arrears of their pay had been spent without justifiable proof.
Fabamise revealed that five out of the forty affected chiefs had resolves to forgo the five-year arrears owed them as their own gesture of peace but the arrears of the remaining thirty five should be paid without delay.
The Olowo, Chief J.O. Idowu,who spoke on behalf of the Onijan hailed the state government for intervening in the crisis noting that the latest gesture has signalled the return of peace between the monarch and the chiefs.
Idowu also commended the government for various projects going on within and around the town including a major road and airport which he said would stimulate development and economy in the grassroots.