…Implements Traditional Rulers, Chiefs 1979 Edict

…Restates Oba of Benin as uncontestable head of all traditional rulers

Sequel to the full implementation of the Edo Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, the Local Government Areas (LGAs) across Edo State have commenced the payment of the warehoused funds for the Benin Traditional Council and traditional rulers in the state.

The clarification was provided by the Honourable Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare at a press briefing on Friday in Benin City.

Addressing journalists, Nehikhare further stated that for the purpose of clarity, there was an administrative issue among the Edo State traditional rulers which has been resolved after a series of meetings between the Palace of the Oba of Benin, led by the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, who is the Prime Minister of Benin kingdom, and the Enigie, while the Edo State Government was there as an observer.

Hon. Nehikhare reaffirmed that the traditional local government councils are all answerable to the Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, who is the paramount head of the Edo State Traditional Council and Benin Traditional Council (BTC).

“He is the one that nominates the Enigie but it is the State Government that gives them the staff of office.

“So, like us, I’m a Benin man, I’m the subject of the Oba and so are these Enigie. So, nothing has changed.

“The 1979 Chieftaincy Edict that was set up describes the scenario that is playing out today. The spirit of that edict was for the traditional council to be involved in the security management of their domain, social cohesion in the local community, and to be the eye and ear of the Oba and of course the members of the local government traditional security council,” Nehikhare narrated.

Notably, Nehikhare also dismissed any insinuation of a dispute between the Benin Traditional Council and the Edo State Government.

He further noted that the Oba, the Enigie, the subjects, and the government are all working for the same purpose, for the betterment of society.

Shedding more light on the 5% allocation to the traditional rulers, the Edo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Monday Osaigbovo, said it was the Obaseki’s administration that insisted that all elements that make up the allocation to the 18 LGAs must be taken into account in computing the 5% due to the traditional rulers.

In a review of that situation however, he said the Obaseki led-administration has been able to identify three components that make up the total accruable allocation; namely – main allocation (FAC), the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Excess Crude Oil earnings.

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As such, the Edo State Government is now addressing accruable from the three stated components, FAC (main allocation), VAT and Excess Crude Oil earnings, to effect an increase in Benin Traditional Council and all traditional rulers’ allocation.

He further noted that it was the components of the value-added tax and the excess crude oil earnings that were added to the basic allocation from July 2022 to July 2023, which amount to over N1.3 billion that the council agreed the state government should warehouse during the period of misunderstanding.

On his part, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser on Media Projects to the Edo State Governor, explained that the excess crude oil earnings and VAT are now added to the main allocation – the sum of the three components which initially were not considered in determining subventions to the state’s traditional council; stressing that the latest move by the Obaseki-led administration brought about the increase in Edo State traditional institutions’ allocation.

“So, what some states did before was that they just took only that basic allocation and computed 5% of it at the local and state government levels to traditional rulers.

“But Governor Obaseki insisted that the Value-Added Tax and excess crude oil earnings are still allocation components,” Osagie said.

He continued: “After they sorted out their administrative issues, the VAT and excess crude oil components from July 2022 to July 2023 were now added to all that was kept since April and that’s what amounted to N1.3 billion that is now being distributed to the different traditional rulers across Edo State.”

Osagie listed how the accrued money was shared as follows: Edo South is to get N639.2 million and out of that, the Benin Traditional Council and chiefs in the palace of the Oba will get N319.6 million, while all traditional rulers in the other 7 Local Government Areas in Edo South, will share N255.7 million.

In Edo Central, all traditional rulers will share N299.8 million, while the traditional rulers in Edo North senatorial district will share N377.6 million.

Meanwhile, the former Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Senator Roland Owie, has commended the Edo State Government for the implementation of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, especially as it relates to section 45 of the Edict, which recognised the Oba of Benin’s position as the paramount head of all the traditional rulers in the state.

In a statement, Owie said the implementation of the law will allow the traditional rulers in the Benin Kingdom to support the state government’s efforts in improving the lives of their subjects and communities.

Commending the Edo State Government, he said, “I just read a release issued by the Hon. Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare that Oba of Benin remains the uncontestable head of all the traditional rulers and chiefs in Edo State. I thank the Governor of Edo State and the Edo House of Assembly for obeying this piece of legislation that was enacted in 1979, after 44 years.”

The Senator noted, “With this, the Enigie in Benin Kingdom can now live well and support their subjects and communities. Thank You, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, ‘Uhunoma’ members of the Edo State House of Assembly. To God Be Glory.”