For the late Charles Ayemi-Botu, the Ijaw monarch of the Seimbiri Kingdom in the Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, a three-month mourning period has been declared.
The deceased, popularly known as the Lion of the Niger, was the first Executive Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria and the Life Patron of the body.
His death was formally announced on Saturday at a meeting of the Traditional Council of Chiefs of Seimbiri Kingdom through the spokesman, Chief Alexander Ebisine, at Okpokunou, the traditional headquarters of the kingdom.
According to the spokesman, the monarch died on October 5, 2023. He was aged 75.
To mourn the monarch, the traditional council stated that there would be no social activities such as weddings and burials, throughout the mourning period beginning from Friday, January 5, 2023.
After the mourning period, the date would be announced for the funeral of the monarch, the council said.
The traditional council described the king as “a great ruler who came, saw, and conquered, leaving behind a trail of unprecedented development in the Seimbiri Kingdom during his 29-year reign on the throne”.
The spokesman stated, “On behalf of the Seimbiri Traditional Council of Chiefs, I wish to officially announce the transition of our most revered monarch, King Charles Ayemi-Botu, Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, to the great beyond to join his ancestors.
“King Charles Ayemi-Botu passed away peacefully on October 5, 2023.
“Following the passage of our monarch, three months of mourning has been declared in the Seimbiri Kingdom.
“During this period, there will be no social activities such as marriages and burials, etc., throughout mourning”.
Ebisine noted that all sons and daughters of the Seimbiri Kingdom at home and in the diaspora are in a mourning mood and will remain so until the final burial ceremony is completed.
He said that a condolence register had been opened at the palace and his residence in Warri.
Also commenting on the incident, the Chairman of the Seimbiri Traditional Council of Chiefs, Chief T.M.O. Douglas, said the kingdom had lost a king whose voice on issues of development in the Niger Delta could not be surprised.
With the kingdom in a mourning mood, he urged for calm just as he advised all to maintain the sanctity of the passage of the Seimbiri monarch.
The deceased was born on January 18, 1948, at Okpokunou in the then Western Ijaw.
After being crowned on April 2, 1994, in accordance with Seimbiri Kingdom customs and traditions, he ascended to the throne on April 4, 1995, when he was given the Staff of Office by Group Captain Ibrahim Kefas, the Military Administrator of Delta State at the time. He reigned for 29 years.
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