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Human trafficking: Ekpoma chiefs deny ‘monarch’

By James Azania   Last update 13-04-2011

The Ekpoma Traditional Council, Edo State, has denied Chief Dogwo Ebiredelu’s claim that he is a monarch in the area.

The council said he was neither a chief nor traditional ruler.

Ebiredelu was recently arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in connection with alleged human trafficking.

Ebiredelu, who was accosted by men of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Lagos State Command, with two ladies, Mrs. Queen Ebiredelu and Miss Egharevba Omozuwa, on their way to Turkey, reportedly claimed to be the monarch of Emuhi, one of the 12 towns in Ekpoma.

But the Onogie of Ekpoma, His Majesty, A. E. Abumere, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, cleared the air on the claim in a statement to PUNCH METRO on Wednesday.

In the statement by the Secretary to the Onogie-in-Council, Chief W. I. Ebohon and Chief Michael Inegbedion, the council said Ebiredelu was an impostor.

It said the Onogie remained the only authority that could create and confer chieftaincy titles in Ekpoma.

It further said, “His Majesty is the prescribed authority in Ekpoma Kingdom with foundation over 12 clans, including Emuhi. Mr. Dogwo Ebiredelu is not a chief in Emuhi or anywhere in Esan West Local Government Area or anywhere in Edo State.

“The conduct of this impostor has soiled the name and dignity of the Edo State traditional institution. It is even more agonising to hear him boast of a diplomatic passport obtained from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The Ekpoma Traditional Council unequivocally condemn the actions of Mr. Dogwa Ebiredelu, who has more than once before, been under investigation for the same or similar offence.”

The suspect had said while Queen was his wife, Omozuwa was his maid and needed to travel with her so that she could tend to him in Turkey.

Besides, Ebiredelu, who carried a genuine diplomatic passport and valid Turkish visa said he was not arrested but only intervened when Immigration officers accosted the ladies, adding that his turning down of bribe demanded by men of the NIS landed him in trouble.

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