The Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers (COTRA) wishes to express its displeasure and condemnation of yesterday’s abduction of the paramount ruler of Yeghe community in Ogoniland, HRH Barinaadaa T.D. Gbaranee by men of the Nigerian Army stationed in Bori. We consider the abduction of Chief T.D. Gbaranee a desecration of the highly respected traditional institution and strongly reject the humiliation of an Ogoni traditional stool by the Army. We demand the immediate release of Chief Barinaadaa T.D Gbaranee and expect that if their be any issues regarding his conduct, he ought to be treated with respect, decency and in a dignified manner with an invitation, if that fails, the issue should be brought before the Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, if that fails, the issue be brought before the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, the failure upon which further actions can be taken.
We note that the abduction and embarrassment of Chief Barinaadaa T.D. Gbaranee, a government-recognized traditional ruler and member of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, a member of the Council of Ogoni Traditional rulers, is unacceptable to the entire Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers.
We accuse the army of dubious intentions and alert the Nigerian people and the international community of clear genocidal intentions against the Ogoni people and particularly the Yeghe people.
We note that the actions of the Nigerian army in Ogoniland in recent times following the raids and killing of over 20 persons and subsequent raids on the peaceful and law abiding citizens of Yeghe calls for serious questions regarding the credibility and intentions of the army’s presence in Ogoniland.
We repeat, that we strongly condemn the humiliation of the Ogoni traditional institution and demand the immediate release of Chief Barinaadaa T.D. Gbaranee.
HRH, King Suanu T.Y. Baridam
Chairman, Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers