Warri Stool Crisis: Police Question Ayiri Emami for Alleged Burglary
The Zone 5 Headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, quizzed the suspended traditional Prime Minister of Warri Kingdom in Delta State, Chief Ayiri Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, over the alleged invasion of the palace of the Olu of Warri.
Following the demise of the immediate past Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli Atuwatse II, in December 2020, the palace was reportedly invaded and the 400-year-old crown and symbol of the Itsekiri monarchy allegedly removed.
The former Olu’s demise had created a succession tussle which eventually produced Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-elect (Omoba) in Warri.
The invitation to Chief Emami, a copy of which is in the possession of THISDAY, was signed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Polycarp Dibia, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin.
The letter dated April 21st, 2021, addressed to Chief Ayiri Emami read, “This office is investigating a case reported through a written petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin.
“You are required to have an interview with Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Zone 5 Force Headquarters, Benin through the O/C Anti-Vice Section, Zone 5 Force Headquarters, Benin on Monday 26th April, 2021 at 1000hr. You are also requested to come along with Chief Macgrey Richmond.
“Kindly accept the warm regards of Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin City, please.” Apart from Chief Emami, the police also questioned Chief Macgrey Richmond for over two hours at the zonal headquarters before they were allowed to leave at about 1.45p.m.
Speaking with journalists in Benin City shortly after the quizzing, Emami said he told the police that he knew nothing about the invasion of the palace.
He said, “I was invited based on the incident in Warri and it happens to be the invasion of the Olu’s palace; that was why I was invited 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.
“It is about that 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 on. 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 derive their powers from. So, I don’t talk about suspension.”
He, however, added that talks were ongoing to ensure that peace returned to the kingdom.
According to him, “Talks are ongoing and all that I pray for is for peace to come back to my kingdom.”