The removal of Eze Johnson was contained in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Chietaincy Affairs, John Bazia.
The sudden removal of the King was published in a Local tabloid in Port Harcourt, Tide Newspapers.
Johnson, who is the Eze Oha Apara IV, got his certificate, recognition and staff of office on May 27, last year, from the preceding Rotimi Amaechi administration.
Meanwhile, the statement from the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs says “Following a petition from the people of Apara against you (Eze Johnson) your certificate of recognition is hereby withdrawn.”
In the meantime, Governor Wike has shifted his recognition to one of his associates, Chike Worlu-Wodo, as the new paramount ruler of Apara Kingdom.
Reacting to this development at the palace of Eze Oha Apara IV in Rumuigbo, Port Harcourt, the people of Apara Kingdom urged the Federal Government and security agencies to intervene in the alleged injustice.
The media briefing was addressed by the Chairman of Ekinigbo Clan Town Council, Chinedu Johnson Amadi, who was accompanied by the Secretary of the clan’s Council of Chiefs, Eze Allwell Ome Egeonu; Chairman of Ekinigbo Owhor Holders, Elder Samuel Egeonu and Chairman of Ekinigbo Opinion Leaders, Ambassador John Okocha.
The removed paramount ruler appeared briefly at the event before leaving to attend to other matters outside the palace.
The Ekinigbo Clan Council told newsmen that they were troubled by Wike’s “vexatious and utterly malicious move,” purporting to have withdrawn the king’s official government recognition.
The council also stated that, “Eze Oha Apara, Eze Gift Eziwho Johnson, was properly selected by the Rumukesiorlu Royal Kingmakers, after due consultations. He was properly coronated and duly presented to the public, in line with the established customs and tradition of Ikwerre people, for the purpose of installing a bona fide occupant of an ancestral stool.
“The purported cancellation and withdrawal of government recognition from Eze Gift Eziwho Johnson by Governor Wike were maliciously conceived to ridicule our ancestral stool, embarrass the incumbent and cause anarchy in Apara Kingdom. The action was not only taken in grave error, it is vindictive and vexatious against due process, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“We wish to state categorically that the Ekinigbo Clan Town Council will not allow anybody to play vindictive politics with our highly-revered ancestral stool, as Governor Wike appears to be doing, by claiming to have ‘selected’ and ‘installed’ Mr. Chike Worlu-Wodo as ‘Eze Oha Apara.’
Meanwhile, the Special Assistant on Electronic Media to the Governor, Simeon Nwakaudu, insisted that his administration took the step to ensure that peace reigns.