The Ekiti 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 of Ekiti, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the warning on Thursday while receiving the representatives of the Onijan of Ijan Ekiti, Oba Oyewole Fadahunsi, and some traditional chiefs from the community.
The Onijan-in-Council was alleged to have withheld the salaries of 40 chiefs for over five years.
It 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 outstanding salaries of the affected traditional chiefs by the Onijan-in-Council.
Egbeyemi said that the seizure of the salaries of the chiefs without the consent of the state government was unacceptable.
The Deputy Governor stressed that no traditional ruler had been authorised by the state government to withhold the monthly stipends of any chief without its proper and official notification.
Egbeyemi also said that the evidence of payment of the outstanding salaries to the concerned chiefs must be submitted to his office for confirmation.
He advised traditional rulers in the state not to take the law into their own hands in resolving differences with their chiefs.
Egbeyemi noted 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 was reacting to the last meeting held on the Ijan crisis.
He said that the state government was not happy with the manner some traditional rulers seized the monthly stipends of their chiefs as a form of punishment.
“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,” he said.
The deputy governor also counselled traditional chiefs to always perform the official duties assigned to them by their monarchs, and also attend meetings in the palace.
He said that any chief who failed to perform his duties mighty not be entitled to his pay.
He expressed delight that the aggrieved chiefs had complied with the government’s directive given at the last meeting.
They had returned to the palace they had boycotted for about five years and cooperate with their traditional ruler, he said.
He assured them that the issue of their monthly pay would be resolved.
Egbeyemi said that the 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.
The Oniyare, Chief Sesan Fabamise; and the Olufon, Chief Olusola Dada; spoke on behalf of the affected chiefs.
They said that it was after they had returned to the palace as directed by the state government that they discovered that the arrears of their pay had been spent without justifiable proof.
Fabamise said that five out of the 40 affected chiefs had resolved to forgo the five-year arrears owed them as their own gesture of peace.
He said that the remaining 35 chiefs had asked that their arrears 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.
Idowu noted that the latest gesture had signaled 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 the airport.
He said that they would stimulate development and the economy at the grassroots.