The Bayelsa State Government has urged legal practitioners in the state to properly guide their clients based on the merit or otherwise of the cases at hand to avoid unnecessary litigations.
It also cautioned individuals and communities to resist the temptation of engaging in subversive activities aimed at dethroning traditional rulers whose chieftaincy stools have been recognised by law.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice when he met with the chiefs, elders and other community representatives of Aghoro II community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state at his office in Yenagoa, over the disputed Amananaowei stool of the community.
Ewhrudjakpo who reminded lawyers of their professional ethics, said law practice was not just to make money, but deserves honour, integrity and respect as a profession that promotes justice, peace and order in society.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that in some jurisdictions like Abuja and Lagos; lawyers issue a counselor’s certificate to their clients, which make them liable to accept responsibility for any inconveniences arising from ill-advising their clients.
He said: “Those of you that are lawyers, you have a duty to advise your clients properly. I want you to go back to your professional ethics regarding the duties of a counsel. Litigation is not always the best option for conflict resolution. That is why we have the multi-door court that gives options for arbitration, mediation and conciliation.”
Explaining the State Chieftaincy Law, Ewhrudjakpo cited Section 28 which states that no individual or group has the right to either dethrone or install a traditional ruler without following due process as stipulated by law.
He, therefore, directed all the parties involved in the Aghoro 2 community leadership conflict to observe status quo with His Royal Highness Ojunkonsin Ibamughan still serving as Amananaowei pending the final determination of the issues raised at the meeting.
The Deputy Governor, however, warned traditional rulers not to see their recognition as a licence to oppress and shortchange their people, as the law also provides a window for their removal.
Presenting his case to the Deputy Governor, a factional leader, Chief Afro Biukeme, alleged that Chief Ibamughan was removed from office as Amananaowei of Aghoro II community due to misappropriation of community funds amounting to about N90 million.
Biukeme insisted that embattled Amananaowei embezzled the funds with his cronies and had since refused to return to the community to give a proper account of the funds as demanded by the people of Aghoro.
In another development, the Bayelsa State Government has resolved the face-off that resulted from an error in a land survey map involving some communities in Sagbama and Southern Ijaw LGAs of the state.
Resolving the issue, Ewhrudjakpo urged the people of Akeddei, Isoni, Anyama-Ibeni and Isampou to live in peace as the cartographical error had been corrected.
While thanking the Ibenanaowei of Oyiakiri Kingdom, King Joshua Igbagara for his efforts, the Deputy Governor advised communities in the state not to see carrying of arms over land disputes as the best option, but rather seek redress through dialogue or at the law court.
Also, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described the death of Peremokubo Agara as a huge loss not only to his family but also to the state and Nigeria.
The governor in a statement by his Chief press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, recalled how Agara represented the state government in resolution of disputes with oil companies, particularly Shell Petroleum Development Company.
He stated that his administration had concluded plans to engage his services in his area of expertise before his untimely death.