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First published in 2000/2001

Millennium Abridged and Revised Edition 2010






This book is dedicated to the sons and daughters (both the late and the living)
of Twon-Brass who are committed to and are consistently working for the progress
of the town and humanity. It is also dedicated to those who helped me [in any f
orm] to write/compile this book


This single abridged millennium volume of: A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF TWON-BRASS
, contains all the main and very relevant chapters and data of the first edition’s
volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4
Some of the chapters in this edition have been updated in such a way that their
values for students and researchers alike have been enhanced, yet the content is
simplified. This single abridged millennium volume is also geared towards only “a
ll-everything-about” Twon-Brass history ideals.
Finally, modern and future (anticipated) issues/crises about the historical dev
elopment of the town are also treated extensively in this edition [mostly] for t
he benefit of the future generations of Brass people.

Charles Alfred
MARCH, 2010.

It is a truism that, the work of writing/compiling [fresh] history of a communit

y as complex as Twon-Brass is a very difficult task. As much as this book can, t
he full history of the community in focus—Twon-Brass, popularly and officially cal
led: Brass is covered. However, some parts of the history need further detail st
udy and analysis, especially the very recent parts of our historical development
At present new and somewhat independent families (furos) are emerging, are being
created, or are being established on regular basis in every compound or Ama in
Twon-Brass as it is the case in most local communities in the Niger Delta. Our s
tudy shows that about a dozen families declare themselves independent annually i
n the community as a whole. This informed our decision to focus only on major an
cient and largely known families. We believe that, it is time for the authoritie
s concerned to regulate this unwholesome practice of creating/establishing indep
endent families on regular basis [in the town].
What is true about the unpleasant issue of the family institution just mentioned
above is true also about the chieftaincy stool in Brass and in the Niger-Delta
as a whole. In Twon-Brass, at present, chieftaincy titles/stools are created and
given out on frequent basis to mostly undeserved people without any sense of de
cency or shame. Our survey indicated that between 2006 and 2009 alone, more than
180 chiefs (and chiefs elect) have been installed in Brass. We urgently need to
regulate this institution now.
The Amanyanabo issue is treated in details in this book, however, daily there ar
e new and funny developments creeping in to shadow the de facto sprite and lette
r of the Justice Uche Ndu’s judgment of 1997. No doubt, whether anybody likes it
or not the Justice Uche Ndu’s judgment for now has given us legally (but ahistoric
ally) a king and a monarchy stool; the judgment has also opened the door of who
becomes a king/a queen in Twon-Brass widely to every Twon man or woman without
any form of discrimination. This may be good for the present but in the future,
this [Justice Ndu’s] judgment will surely breed a lot of controversy. Already, som
e people in the town have started laying claims to being princes/princesses, Pri
me Ministers, king makers, royal family/families/houses, Governor-Generals and s
o on.
Brass as a whole now needs a comprehensive constitution that will regulate the a
ctivities of everybody and every institution in the community. Most local and an
cient communities in Africa in the light of the present realities are already pr
eparing such constitutions.
We need to help to guide the next generation of Brass people by spelling out the
qualities, the responsibilities, the durations, etc of all types of leaders, et
c in a constitution we must formulate now. It is time for all of us also to exte
nsively workout the boundaries of each compounds in the community too. This and
many more should also be included in the proposed constitution. Our message ther
efore is: Brass needs a comprehensive and an all-encompassing constitution now.
The documents/materials in the appendix of this book are not edited in any form.
Only emphases are made where necessary by the author for easy reference.
Finally, the author/compiler of this book/work is very grateful to all those who
helped in making this book a success, however, only the author is solely respon
sible for all the details in this book; [and any kind of meaningful material(s)
and contribution(s) are highly welcome to make the next edition of this book mor
e comprehensive]. All inquires and others, therefore should be directed only to
him through: email-
March, 2010

Nigeria lies at the extreme inner corner of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa.
It is a compact area of 373,000 square miles, extending from the Gulf of Guinea
on the South to the Sahara Desert on the North, and bounded on the West and Nort
h by Benin Republic and Niger Republic, on the East by Lake Chad and the Camerou
n. Ranging from South to North, four physical regions can be distinguished. Al
ong the Coastline there is a dense belt of swamp and mangrove forest, varying fr
om 10 to 60 miles in width, which is sparsely populated and little developed. N
ext is a fairly sharply defined belt of tropical rain forest and oil palm bush f
rom 50 to 100 miles wide, intersected by rivers and streams. This is followed b
y a 300-mile wide belt of open wood-land and grass Savannah. Finally, the latte
r shades off into a vast undulating Plateau with occasional hills, until at last
the sandy tracts of the Southern Sahara are reached.1
Nigeria is a multi-religious, multi-nationals, and multi-lingual nation. There
are about 250 tribal groups in Nigeria. The Hausa/Fulani, the Yorubas, and the
Igbo are the largest groups in the country. The Izon2 people are the fourth lar
gest group in the country. The Izons occupy a stretch of 875 kilometers along t
he Coast from Apoi/Arogbo in Ondo State to Qua Iboe River in Akwa Ibom State, th
e Izons are found in Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa3, Abia, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers Sta
te4,(Etekpe, 2006).
The antediluvian origin of the Izon/Ijo or its anglicized form, Ijaw (the Portug
uese referred to the people they saw on the Rivers Forcados and Ramos as “Jos”. The
name Ijaw may have been first used to referred to the people by Talbot in the 19
20 census of southern Nigeria) nation is still something of controversy among th
e pundits of Niger Delta history. Professor Alagoa, Professor Kay Williamson, I
saac Boro, The President [1998-2003] of the Izons in Diaspora, J. P. Clark and o
thers have different postulations in this matter5. The about 20 million Izons
at present were separated, scattered and divided into different states by the Ni
gerian Government6. However, General Sani Abacha on October 1, 1996 created the
nearly all exclusive Izons state – Bayelsa for the Izons7.
Occupationally, the Izon/Ijaw (meaning: truth, according to Etekpe) people are p
redominantly fishermen (and women); this is mainly because more than half of the
ir territory is covered with or is under water. The Izons were officially incor
porated into Nigeria in 1914; and have been producing Crude Oil to feed the coun
try since [in] the mid 1950s. The production of the “Black Gold” by the Izons at pr
esent and its consequences are now a national nightmare8, for the geographic exp
ression called, Nigeria (Awo).
The Izon race is divided into more than 50,000 cities, towns, villages and fishi
ng settlements. The cause of the division was mostly natural; the rivers/creeks
was/is the major source of the division of the Izon race. There are very impor
tant towns in the Izon nation9. This work is dedicated to the elaboration of th
e historical development of one of the most ancient and most celebrated towns of
the Izon race. Every Izon man and woman love to hear of/read about [the histor
y of] ancient Brass town10.

Twon-Brass (otherwise known as Brass in official records) is by all standards an
Island, it was totally a virgin forest-island before the ancestors of the conte
mporary Twon-Brass people occupied it12. This explains why right from the anted
iluvian era, no foremost Twon-Brass chief or prominent personality is chalked13
or blessed by any other community’s head. The unadulterated people of Twon-Brass
have also never paid royalty or anything of sort to any individual or community1
4; their independent mindedness and republican kind of governance and attitudes
like the Ibos of the Eastern Region of Nigeria are legendary stories in the Izon
race. Like most towns in the Izon nation, Twon-Brass has been in existence sin
ce remembered times15.
Before the migration of the duo of Chiefs Ada and Kemmer to Brass with their peo
ple and others, it was the quarter named Twon-bio/Ama-bio (now Shidi, Cameroun a
nd Sambo compounds) that existed. This ancient Brass [like most communities in A
frica then] was largely an unknown but relatively a developed place right until
the nineteenth century. On July 7th 1857, Bishop Crowther visited this primeval
Twon and described it thus:
The village (Twon) is in the swamp and the inside of the houses very damp… the rig
ht side of the village is separated by a swamp, which is not easily crossed, exc
ept by wading through or being carried over it.
In addition, Thomas Hutchinson, consul for the Bight of Biafra in 1855 described
Twon in his book in this manner:
The village of Twa (Twon) contains about a hundred huts. This however is but a p
etty village.
Twon-Brass Island (now) is a vast landmass, by our standards in the Niger Delta;
however, erosion because of the Atlantic Ocean waves is washing away the land v
ery fast16. The community is cosmopolitan17 in nature and it is densely populat
ed (with about 80,000 people now according to some authorities). The population
of Twon-Brass grows geometrically because of many factors that will be discussed
in Chapters 6, 8, and 10.
The eastern part of the community [Brass] extends to part of the Brass River; ac
ross this river is the ancient town of Fantuo. The Atlantic Ocean and the main
Brass River covered the west and the northern parts of Twon-Brass respectively.
Across the famous Atlantic Ocean is outside the shores of Nigeria; while over t
he ever-enlarging Brass River are pockets of other small Islands communities: Be
letiema, Igbabele, Liama, Egweama, Akassa, etc. In the south, Twon-Brass shared
boundary with the now war-torn and deserted Ewo-ama18.
Twon-Brass is 23 (?) nautical miles or 30 miles south-west of Nembe; Nembe town
is the seat of power of the renowned king Koko, who led the Akassa war19. The t
own (Nembe) is divided into two [un]equal parts – Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri. Tw
on-Brass is also some two hours, thirty minutes (on water through small creeks a
nd rivers) from Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital and approximately four hours
drive (on water through creeks and rivers with a speedboat) from Port Harcourt,
the Rivers State capital20.
The language, occupation and other traditional values of the people of Twon-Bras
s are similar to other Izons. The Twon-Brass people speak the Nembe/Brass langu
age, a corrupt (?) form of the mother Izon language.
Until the first arrival of the European traders: the Portuguese (in 1380 accordi
ng to Etekpe, 2006), then the English (British) and finally the French who signe
d agreements/treaties/pacts with the indigene of Twon-Brass; the people of Twon-
Brass also were trading with the people of Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea). Al
so in the late eighteenth century, the Twon-Brass man was manufacturing salt, by
evaporating the seawater and was selling it to other natives and Europeans alik
e 21.
Before the European slave traders reached the shores of Twon-Brass, the people w
ere engaged purely in legitimate trade with some neighbouring natives and foreig
ners, this explains partially why Brass was called a city-state as early as the
16th century. When the inhuman slave business was introduced to Africa by the W
hiteman because of the discovery of the fertile lands of [the continent of] Amer
ica, Twon-Brass became one of the most famous slave depot and exporting towns (b
ecause of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean) in Africa22.
According to Steve Azaiki (2009), the first people on the African side to b
e involved in the slave trade were the Ijaws near the mouth of the Five Slave ri
vers---the Primeriro, the Benin River, the Escravos, the Forcados and the Ramos.
It is not clear whether Twon-Brass people actually captured people [slave] and
sold them, however, what is known is that the natives were forced to become “middl
e men” in this bad trade23.
After the abolition of the abominable slave trade by the Europeans that introduc
ed it24, the Twon-Brass people stopped the wicked trade completely. With the In
dustrial Revolution induced abolition of the slave trade, Twon-Brass became a tr
ading post for European goods. According to historian Isichei:

The various competing British firms were united into one by the man history know
s as Sir George Goldie. The resulting single firm then received a charter to go
vern, as the Royal Niger Company, a charter that lasted from 1886 to the end of
1899…. The men of Brass, living on the margins of the salt-water delta, depended o
n the Niger trade for their livelihood25.
It was this company (Royal Niger Company) and other smaller ones operating in th
e then Twon-Brass that attracted [much] attentions to the community. These trad
es resulted in the establishment of trading offices, stores and warehouses in Im
bikiri and later what is now known as Consulate in Twon-Brass26.This “legitimate” tr
ade on goods continued until 1891 when the Colonial rule was indirectly proclaim
ed and Major Claude MacDonald was made Commissioner and Consul General. Later t
his area (a good part of the geographical and historical Niger-Delta now) was op
enly called Oil Rivers Protectorate, then finally Niger Coast Protectorate in 18
93. Twon-Brass became one of the principal towns or Stations27 of the Vice Cons
uls in the first colonial government.
The exploitative nature of the (European) companies in the then Twon-Brass islan
d and several negative reactions from the natives towards these companies all ov
er the places/communities {in Africa} they were operating then; convinced the Br
itish government to bring the territories together28. It will be interesting to
note that before the Europeans introduced colonization, Twon-Brass people were
as free as the air. No body or community had ever lorded over them.
Between/from 1885 and 1899, Twon-Brass was under the Niger Coast Protectorate, f
rom 1900 to 1905, Twon-Brass was in the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, in 190
6-1913, Twon-Brass was grouped under the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nig
eria. Twon-Brass in 1914 became part of the Southern Province, this lasted unti
l 1938. Then, from 1939 to 1954, Twon-Brass was part of the Eastern Region. Th
is lasted also until May 27, 1967. As a way of destabilizing the Igbos (Ibos) du
ring the Nigerian civil war period (6th July 1967 to January 15th 1970); General
Yakubu Gowon created Rivers State, Twon-Brass became a principal town in the fa
mous civil-war-child-state. Ken Saro Wiwa29, one of the protagonists of the cre
ation of states in the country described the creation of Rivers State then as “too
good to be true”. Then for almost a decade, Twon-Brass was lumped into one Divis
ion30 or the other. Brass Local Government Area was created in 1976 [as a result
of the Local Government Reform] with Twon-Brass as its headquarters, however th
e headquarters was later moved to Nembe in March 1978, under the chairmanship of
late Claudius Oguara. After thirty painful years, General Abacha created Bayels
a State on October 1, 1996; Twon-Brass became the headquarters of the new Brass
Local Government Area. Later the first civilian Governor of Bayelsa State, Chie
f D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha created [some] other miniature Local Government Areas (n
ow called Development Centers) out of/from the 1996, Abacha created Brass Local
Government Area31.
The contemporary Twon-Brass has a voting strength of almost 58,00032,(?) with tw
o very large political voting wards. The Twon-Brass community is [now sharply]
sub-divided into five major compounds33, nowadays called Amas34 with cardinal ch
iefs heading them. Some of these compounds are as old as Twon-Brass itself. Th
ese compounds are Kemmer Compound, Sambo Compound, Spiff Compound, Shidi Compoun
d, and Cameroun Compound35. The other major sections of Twon-Brass are the Nige
rian Agip Oil Company36 occupied section and the Imbikiri section37. The distin
ct division of the town into political cum administrative compounds (now stylish
ly called: Amas) was a nineteenth century European handiwork (which is now adopt
ed, twisted sharply and used by our contemporary politicians and traditional lea
ders to achieve political goals). Before this time, the Brassman 38 had no seri
ous sectional (compound/Ama/Polo, etc) identity except his Twon-Brass trademark,
anywhere and at any time during the process of trading and signing treaties wit
h the Europeans, he called himself a Brassman and nothing else. Later for the s
ake of identification [and because of the quest to know historical distinctive p
eriods of settlements in the community], Twon-Brass was subconsciously/unconscio
usly subdivided into Igbo-bo-kiri, Ama-bio, Imbikiri and Oruwari-kiri. In the e
arly nineteenth century, the idea of compoundism (or segmentation to compounds)
started and subsequently Twon-Brass was divided into the above-mentioned compoun
ds like most major towns in Africa. At present, these compounds are now called
Amas (major independent towns within Twon-Brass). The idea of calling these com
pounds, Amas (as mentioned earlier) has a serious contemporary political underto
ne. This idea may bring the necessary political dividends to the Brassman, but
the Ama syndrome has further polarized the Brass people. Today most Twon-Brass
people prefer to identify themselves along these politically created/shaped so-c
alled Amas, than as Brass men and women as was the case in the past, thereby sac
rificing our much needed unity on the altar of ungodly/a-historical sectionalism
[of Amaism]. If something is not done to check this dangerous phenomenon, the
next generation of, Brass people will level the graves of the agents-of-division
of Brass into Amas.
Most European and African (including the Eurocentric ones) historians agree tha
t the Island, TUWON, now distorted in spelling and pronunciation as TWON, was th
e name of the independent founder and first prehistoric settler of the unused/ u
nsettled/ unexploited/ fallow and totally virgin Island now called Twon-Brass; t
he actual origin of Mr Tuwon is still largely unknown like most founders of anci
ent communities in history all over the world, however Prof Alagoa’s assertion in
his book “ The Small Brave City –State: A History of Nembe Brass in the Niger Delta,”
that some Obiama (that is Benin) fishermen/sea pirates originated/founded indep
endently [the present day] Twon-Brass, Okpoama, Iwoama, Beletiama, Akassa, Odiam
a, Ologbobiri, and Ebelema when the Nembe and Ijaw people refused to allow them
to stay in their territories after waging wars against them (because they were b
elieved to be sea pirates) is apparently in order; this means that originally th
e legend Mr Tuwon was (perhaps) a Benin man [a major part of Edo State of Nigeri
a]. The period when the founders of these communities came to settled is not yet
actually known but by Derefaka’s, (2003) research in his book: Archeology and Cul
ture History in the Central Niger Delta, the period of their settlement may be a
bout the 11th century.
Dr Steve Azaiki, in his seminal book entitled: The Evil of Oil, pages 84 and 85,
also established the fact that, Nembe people evolved from three sets of migrant
s. According to him, the first settlers were the Ijaws, the second set of Nembe
people migrated from Benin Empire (now a part of Edo State) through Itsekiri lan
d (Iselema) while the last set of migrants [were] from Obiama (also from Benin,
Edo State) settled in the coastal communities of Beletieama, Egweama, Odiama, Ok
poama, Twon, etc.
Rev Daniel Ogiriki Ockiya, in his book, History of Nembe, page 106 also supporte
d the Benin Theory of Twon-Brass History. According to him:
Twon the headquarters of the government, the mercantile firms and where the Miss
ion was first established was said to been founded by one Eweli of the family of
Olugbo from the town of Ekeni where some of the refugees who migrated from Obia
ma came and settled….
However, some other recent authorities like the late (?) Rev Isaac Abraham Ockiy
a believed that the Mr Tuwon (of a man) was possibly/probably a Fernando Po [Equ
atorial Guinea] man who ‘missed his way and was found wandering on the beach at th
e town now known as Twon’. When asked who he was and where he had come from, the s
tranger uttered unintelligent words from which the word Twon was derived. This r
ecent claim about the origin of Mr Tuwon appears to be baseless because of its e
xtremely recent material evidence and origin-- 1940. It is also an assertion/the
ory that stands alone.
Modern or contemporary Niger Delta experts like A. Etekpe, seriously with eviden
ce dispute, the history that connect or trace major ancient Ijaw communities’ orig
ins to the ancient Benin Kingdom. According to him in his book: Political Though
ts and Institutions in Pre-Colonial Ijo Nations of Nigeria page 19:
It is also not correct when some present amas (towns) and ibes (clans) trace the
ir origin to Bini…. When Bini was banished by his father, Pa Oduduwa and he left I
le-Ife and moved southern ward, the Ijo Aborigines gave them the present locale.
By then the Ijo Aborigines of Olodiama, Egbema, Gbaran, Okomu and Furupagha…have
already settled there.
The name Brass, which was later added to the original name of the town, Twon, w
as a creation of the first European traders [the Portuguese or Spanish in the 14
th or 16th century; however, Elder Ebenezer Opuene in his work, Origin of Brass
People, pointed out that the name Brass was a creation of the Portuguese traders
in the 13th or 14th A.D.] who arrived at the shores of the great Atlantic Ocean
(Twon-Brass is one of the prominent towns at the shores of the Ocean). The nam
e Brass was actually the corrupt form of: Barasin, meaning leave-me in Nembe/Bra
ss language. This (according to some historians) was the reply the beautiful Tw
on damsels/ladies gave the fun-loving European traders when they unlawfully touc
hed or hold their hands or any sensitive part of their bodies in the course of t
heir trade transactions39. However in his book: “The Small Brave City-State: A His
tory of Nembe Brass in the Niger-Delta,” page 4, Prof Alagoa pointed out that the
name Brass originated thus:
The early traders found on the river Nun, Brass, and St Nicholas a people who we
re hard bargainers. They used repeatedly the word “Barasin” meaning “let go”—which indicat
ed a determination not to accept unfair prices. The white traders came to refer
to the people as Barasin people, and the word was finally contracted to Brass.
According to this account, which was also supported by Reverend D. Ogiriki Ockiy
a in his seminal and all-encompassing book, History of Nembe, however, the name
Brass then referred to all the people around the whole Nembe language speaking a
rea/places like Okpoma, Odioma, Fantuo, etc. This was how the whole Nembe langua
ge speaking people/places were referred to as Nembe people in the past. In was a
ctually in the nineteenth century that the name Brass was transferred from [even
] the metropolitan city of Nembe to Twon on the mouth of the Brass River.
Like other communities or towns in the despoiled Niger Delta, standard social am
enities/infrastructure are/is also not prominent in Twon-Brass. However, the co
mmunity mostly out of its effort; as at present has/have, constant electricity s
upply (by African standard), pipe-born water in every good house and in every ma
in street. A General Hospital (established in the 1970s), a Police Station (Feb
ruary 1971), Magistrate’s Court (1972 and was opened by Justice Ambrose Alagoa, th
en Amanyanabo of Nembe), a primary school (established in early nineteenth centu
ry), a secondary School (1974) and more than twenty-one Christian churches and o
ne Jumat Mosque for Muslims residing in the community40. There are also other t
raditional Religious Orders in Brass; these religious orders (sometimes called:
juju houses) are also playing a great role in the development of the town.

1. James S. Coleman: Nigeria: Background to Nationalism, Benin 1983 pp. 11
2. Izon is the right name, however Ijaw is now popular. Some authorities s
ay that Ijaw is a corrupt form: from the right ones–Izon or Ijo
3. Twon-Brass, our focus is in Bayelsa State
4. Jebbah D. G., “Injustice”, Port Harcourt, 1993, pp1
5. See books written by these authorities. A lot of them are in the biblio
graphy section.
6. State creation actually was a plaything in the hands of the Military gov
ernment. It was in these periods that Izons are divided and sub-divided into wo
nderful and oppressive states, in which they are mostly minority.
7. The Epia-Atisa (Atissa) people in Bayelsa State, Yenagoa Local Governmen
t Area are not comfortable with this claim.
8. Kiama Declaration etc is an offshoot of the Black Gold Controversy. See
Appendix for this declaration.
9. In the Pre-salary era, the Izons classified towns, villages, etc accordi
ng to the utility of that particular town or village. A brave wrestler, a famou
s fisherman etc. can move a community to glory.
10. The distinguished place of Twon-Brass is international in nature. Brass
still attracts many tourists from European and American countries.
11. The actual name of the community is TUWON, but corrupt to be Twon now.
The origin of the name Brass will be explained later. See Nembe – English Diction
ary Vol. 1.
12. More of this later
13. In the Izon tradition, particularly the Nembe axis, chalking of chiefs (
Itoru-gban or Tuwa) by another person from another town, is a sign of subservien
t or homage paying for historical reasons. Secondly, when a chief is sent to an
other town for approval or blessing, that particular town that is sending her ch
ief is a part of the other town or these towns shared some ancestors or origin.
See, ‘History of the Niger Delta’ by Professor Alagoa, page 129. See also “Jos Oral
History and Literature Texts: Ancestral Voices: Oral Historical Text from Nembe,
Niger Delta” by the same author, Vol. 4. In this page, the late king (Amanyanab
o) of Okpoma mentioned all the towns that have connection in this regard with Ok
poma. Twon-Brass is excluded.
14. So far so good, there is no record or even folk tale(s) to show that Two
n-Brass people have paid anybody anything in form of royalty. Rather all the an
cient treaties the people signed with the Europeans, were signed by their variou
s compound chiefs, the benefits were exclusively for them also.
15. Some Europeans and Nigerian Historians have in the past tried to date Tw
on-Brass origin to around 1000 A. D. Latest investigations show that this date
is a ruse. More of this in Chapters Two and Three.
16. See Appendix for details and Chapter Ten.
17. One out of every five persons in Brass is a stranger. In most cases out
side Bayelsa State. The extreme hospitality of the Twon-Brass people is a major
factor in this regard.
18. More about Iwoama later
19. Details in Chapter 10 and Appendix.
20. All these journeys are through speedboats through canals and rivers. Th
ere are no motor roads in these parts because of the swamps.etc.
21. Elizabeth Isichei; A History of Nigeria, London, 1983, pp. 53
22. Because of lack of care, relics of the slave trade have all been destroy
ed in the town. In the early nineties, slave houses were in Twon-Brass.
23. See G. T. Stride and C. Ifeka, Peoples and Empires of West Africa. Page
338, 346, 212, 306.
24. The Europeans actually stopped the trade because they discovered machine
s that will work more efficiently than the African Slaves would. No credit shou
ld be given to them for stopping this ungodly trade.
25. Isichei’s ‘ History of Nigeria’’, page 363
26. Residential Houses and Warehouses and others built by these people are s
till in Twon-Brass
27. Other stations then were Bonny, Opobo, and Warri.
28. After the famous Akassa War, these companies went to Wars with almost al
l the people in their areas of operation. See: ‘The Fall of Nigeria’’ by Obara Ikime
29. More about him in Chapter Ten
30. Twon-Brass in the old Rivers State was under Yenagoa and other divisions
before the Local Govt. Reform Programme.
31. This State Government created Local Government Areas up to the time of w
riting are still not accepted by the Federal Govt. Therefore Brass L. G. is the
de facto Council.
32. From the Local Govt. Council Record Office, however this is not stable d
ue to the forces of mobility.
33. Histories of these compounds are in Chapter Two
34. Amas for Compounds is a politically motivated name, this is common in Ni
35. The Histories of the strange names of the compounds will be treated late
r in Chapter Two
36. See Chapter Six
37. See Chapter Ten.
38. This was the name given to the people of Twon-Brass by the Europeans.
39. There are other tales about the origin of the names of the Island. Howe
ver, the above is the most accepted one.
40. Histories of Schools, Churches, Clubs, and the Mosque will be treated in
detail later.
This chapter will focus on the origins, populations, economies, geographies, per
sonalities and problems/prospects of the various compounds that made up the anci
ent community of Twon-Brass. Throughout this chapter, because of originality th
e Ama appellation or sobriquet for the traditional compounds (polos) will be avo
ided. We believe that the less supreme compound system of division and identifi
cation is still beneficiary to the psyche of the average Brass man and woman tha
n the absolute dividing-theory of Amaism1. Therefore, for the sake of unity bui
lding all the major houses/polos of the town will throughout this book be called
or referred to as compounds (polos). The nomenclature House is also no longer a
ppropriate to describe the different units that made up the town because; expert
s defined a House as a federation of families, and now virtually all the compoun
ds in the town are made up of more than federating families. The Native House Ru
le Proclamation of 1901 also defined a House as: “a group of persons subjected by
Native Law and Custom to the control, authority, and rule of a chief, known as a
Head of House”. This definition of a House is also too narrow to explain the unit
s that made up the town at present; this is because the units that currently mad
e up the town (Twon-Brass) are entities that are more complex. Therefore, the co
mpound designation as a means of description for these units is still the best.
It must be noted at this point that, the serial arrangement of the compounds in
this chapter has nothing to do with their periods of settlement, importance, or
respect in Twon-Brass. This book is geared towards exposing the facts, historic
al and otherwise of Twon-Brass community particularly for the future generation.
The politics of which compound (polo), family/families, individual(s), came to
settle/inhabit/colonize the land first in the town is a putrid and imbecile pol
itics, that every Twon-Brass man or woman should avoid. This is because the sto
ries/accounts/chronicles/legends of the first settlers [originators of] in/of th
e community as told//given by our/some first sincere ancestors to generations be
fore this present generation have been shrouded in a Machiavellian2-kind of poli
tics by the so-called elders/chiefs/and other leaders of the contemporary Twon-
Brass community. However, these chapters will loosen/untie/slacken off the nuts
of selfish compounds (polos) histories and the interested and unbiased Brass ma
n and woman will judge the truth in the light of the facts presented herein.
Finally, who came to settle first and last (as a means/tool of segregation and p
unishment) in Twon-Brass is a recent development. The Twon-Brass people of the
good olden days regarded every other person as their own brothers and town’s perso
n. This explains why clear-cut boundaries/borders/precincts between the major co
mpounds and sections that made up the community now are principally unknown. For
instance, before this time (even up to the year 2000 A.D.) there were no clear-
cut/precise/definite/specific boundaries between Cameroun, Shidi, and Sambo comp
ounds (Polos). Let us move like our ancestors, now that our frontiers have been
defined by present realities. This is the only way to development and unity.
Among the five major compounds of Twon-Brass, Spiff Compound is one of the most
renowned compounds of the town. Spiff Compound is situated at the far western p
art of the town. The compound is densely populated with a vast landmass. Spiff
Compound now shared (controversial) boundaries with Shidi, Cameroun and Sambo C
ompounds. The extreme western part of the compound spread into the Nigerian Agi
p Oil Company artificially created canal. Politically, the compound is under War
d 1; with a growing voting strength of about seventeen thousand (?). In the goo
d olden days the area was called Igbo-bo-kiri, later Ada polo, then Spiff Compou
nd and politically named Ada Ama now. The nomenclatures “Ada” and “Spiff” that the comp
ound answered/ or is called and is still answering/being christened were/are all
names of the founder of the compound3.
The famous St. Barnabas School and Church4, the football field; the Native and E
uropean Cemeteries5; the best hotel (before now); the old Cherubim and Seraphim
Church, etc are all [near] situated in this section (?) of Twon-Brass.
The name of the major founder of the compound is Chief Thomas Ada (Ada, is somet
imes spelt/spell in some historical documents as: Adda) Spiff. In the second ha
lf of the nineteenth century, Christian missionary activities became the order o
f the day in the lower Niger region, of which Brass was a part then. Bishop Sam
uel Ajayi Crowther and his handsome and well-built son were the arrowheads of Ch
ristianity in this region. Constantine Josiah Ockiya, the then Amanyanabo of Ne
mbe became interested in the crusaders of the Christian mission and invited them
to establish churches in the area6. In about some [few] months when king Ockiy
a met Crowther and his son at a place near Akassa; they came back and built a ch
urch in Brass on the 25th of August, 1886. The people and the chiefs of Twon-Br
ass almost single-handedly bore the cost of the project. They contributed a col
ossal amount (then) of more than 200 British Pounds Starlings for the project7.
The site of the first church was at the Brass River side, unfortunately, the me
nacing erosion in the area had claimed that beautiful and monumental church8.
When Christianity was a bit well rooted in Brass, Nembe and other areas in these
periods; early religious fanaticism raised its ugly heads. King Ockiya, Chief
Ada Spiff, and other celebrated Nembe Chiefs abandoned all their traditional rel
igious values and totally embraced Christianity. As if this was not enough some
of them became interested in violating the age-old customs/civilizations/mores
of the/their people due to the [obsession with their] newfound faith’s desires.
One of the eminent personalities that took Christianity to the well-accepted ext
reme (now, but not then) was, Chief Thomas Ada Spiff. Chief T. A. Spiff left Ag
butubo polo in Nembe to Isoukiri (a sacred site) because of a growing household
and wealth. When he left Agbutubo polo, his beautiful storey (upstairs) buildin
g similar in architectural design to that of the Amanyanabo’s and Chief Y. G. Yema
inain was given to others to stay9 /live in.
When Chief Thomas A. Spiff totally packed/moved to Isoukiri (all in Nembe town),
he decided to test his Christian faith by deliberately planting yam(s) in Nembe
soil. At that time, [even now to a large extend] the planting of yams was a bi
g taboo. The head Nembe “God”: Ogidiga prohibited this practice. The consequent se
rious activities that followed the Chief Ada Spiff’s planting of yams to test the
will of the Nembe traditional gods/Gods became negative [on the side of the new
Christian chief–Ada Spiff]. His life became (was) on the line and when arrangemen
t to kill him for cleansing (as a sacrifice) of the town was in top gear, his fe
llow (native) Christian brother, King Ockiya leaked the elimination plot to Ada
Spiff and he left Nembe secretly for Twon-Brass in the month of August 1871. Th
us, Spiff compound was born10.
As a shrewd businessperson and a good Christian with very sharp and admirable le
adership qualities, Chief Ada Spiff pushed the unpalatable Nembe episode to the
background, gathered the bits, and moved forward. The mystery of how he accompl
ished (in terms of material wealth, after abandoning a good part of his wealth i
n Nembe) all what he achieved is still a subject of study for expert [commercial
] historians11.Within a short period in Twon-Brass, Chief Ada Thomas Spiff achie
ved the following landmarks in the history of Brass.
Firstly, Chief Thomas Ada Spiff reached Twon-Brass with only very few possession
s, all his property was looted by [some] people in Nembe, when he escaped to Bra
ss. As a result of this the late Reverend Thomas, alias Opu-Alaowei, became the
host of Chief Ada Spiff. The respected Reverend gentleman housed Ada Spiff in
the old mission house of Twon-Brass. It was from this poor beginning that Chief
Ada requested for a permanent land for settlement and the people of Twon-Brass
in line with their long passé tradition of hospitality, republicanism and democrat
ic spirit wholeheartedly gave what is now known as Ada Ama (without any clear-cu
t/precise/definite boundaries or limitations and restrictions. It is not also cl
ear which personalities [then] sat down to give the portion of the land to Ada S
piff) to Chief Ada Thomas Spiff. This land was initially out of the main small
town of Twon-Brass, it was used by one Mr. Gbobo Adam(s) as a cassava plantation
. Perhaps this explains why the place was called Gbobokiri, before and after th
e settlement of Chief Ada Thomas Spiff and his descendants. However, another ve
rsion/account of the history is that the Mr Gbobo of a man was actually the head
representative of Chief Ada Spiff to Brass. This account seems to be reliable b
ecause what is now known as Ada Ama may have been a virgin forest when the few B
rass people then gave it to the illustrious chief. In a twinkle of an eye, the
chief used his noble sense of development and hard work to change this forest to
a standard abode fit for human habitation. The testimony of his work still sta
nds for people to see even now.
Secondly, in 1873, just two years in Brass, Chief Ada Spiff, founded, the now gr
owing community, Ekperikiri. The name was adopted from the regent; chief Ada Sp
iff sent to the community, Mr. Ekperi, Chief Ada Spiff bought this land (the Ekp
erikiri) from a native of Ologoama.
Thirdly, chief Ada Thomas Spiff built many posh privileged houses at that time f
or himself and others. He fully participated in the building, planting and spre
ading of Christianity in Twon-Brass; Chief Adda and his children contributed abo
ut 200 British pounds to build the [second] St Barnabas Anglican Church. He als
o became one of the most prominent businesspersons in Twon-Brass; he traded with
the Europeans and later became very rich. With his wealth, he trained/educated
his children and others in primary and high schools12. The education programme
he started actually catapulted Spiff Compound to glorious heights13. Because of
the love of education that was planted by the founder of this house, even after
his demise, a good number of his direct descendants and others were sent to pre
stigious schools outside the shore of the then Nigeria. Messrs Thomas E. Spiff a
nd George F. Spiff were sent to the famous Sierra-Leone Grammar School in 1887,
later Jeremiah L. Spiff was sent to the same school in 1894.
Fourthly, Chief Ada Thomas Spiff was the main pillar of the famous Camday Crisis
of 1875, the problem arose as a result of the looting of a wrecked commercial s
hip (owned by British businessmen) in the Brass River, which made Britain to thr
eaten to burn down the whole community. If not the contributions, financially a
nd otherwise, Chief Ada Spiff made in conjunction with Chief Samuel Sambo to ave
rt the impending doom from the hand of the British government, Twon-Brass and ot
her towns in the area could have been burnt down by Major Camday and his British
military might14.
Amidst these achievements and fame, Chief Ada Spiff suddenly fell sick and died
on February 16, 1882; eleven years after leaving Nembe. It was then believed th
at his death was because of his doctor, a British man who over drugged [give him
an overdose of an unknown drug] him. The doctor was then given a thorough beat
ing by the Spiff Compound people very close to the late chief. However when the
British government heard of the matter, they became very vexed and after some m
eetings, a penalty was imposed on the compound and chief James Allen Spiff issue
d a cheque to pay the fine before the end of the deadline given by the British.
Failure to pay the fine could have made the British government to [totally] dest
roy the compound15. Most African communities were burnt down then; because of th
eir inability to pay mostly unfair fines that the British government imposed on
them because of minor disagreements between individual Africans and some Europea
n traders.
Available records show that this house has not become a War Canoe House (an anc
ient practice) in Brass. The only main opportunity that it could have attained t
his enviable height was during the Akassa War (European and Euro-centric histori
ans called it a Raid); however for some obvious economic and religious reasons t
his compound did not participate in the war. Prof Alagoa, the foremost icon of N
iger-Delta history defined a War Canoe House as “a House that has the capacity to
man a war canoe in defence of the city-state. A house did not, in fact, become f
ully recognized as such until it demonstrated this military or naval capacity.
That the founder of the compound is a War Canoe Chief is however not in doubt be
fore he gracefully migrated to Brass. Records show that he participated in all t
he major wars Nembe as a town waged against other communities both far and near.
On the night of the 25th of February 1922, the remains of late old Chief Adda S
piff were exhumed and re-interred (re-buried) on the early morning of 26th in it
s present site amidst rejoicing and jubilation. The remains of others ancestors
of the Compound like that of the old Chief were transferred too in the same year
1. Chief Ada Thomas Spiff (Founder)
Installed War-Canoe Chief by King Kien at Nembe before escaping to Twon-Brass in
1871; died on 16th February, 1882
2. Chief James Allen Spiff
Installed on 16th February, 1882; died on 21th May, 1930.
3. Chief Thomas Ebiegberi Spiff
Installed on 9th May, 1931; died on 29th June, 1952.
4. Chief George Fortunatus Ayebabaratuaipre Spiff
Installed on March, 1953; died on December, 1960
5. Chief Nicholas Alexander Spiff
Installed 30th November 1966; died 31st August, 1976.
6. Chief Hans Nelson Ada Spiff (formally H.N. Alagoa)
Installed 9th April, 1977; died 20th October 1978.
7. Chief Hugh Modu Omiete Spiff
Elected 25th November, 1979; installed formally 18th April 1981; died 13th Octob
er 1987
8. Chief Alfred George Spiff
Elected 25th March 1989, formerly installed 2nd December 1989; died February 4th
9. Chief (Barr) David Serena-Dokubo Spiff
Installed 4th February 2006; at present he is the incumbent.


1. Chief C. F. D. James Spiff16 (ex-Regent of Spiff Compound).
2. Chief Erasmus N. Spiff
3. Chief Thomas Nelson Dandeson – Spiff
4. Chief (Alhj.) Inengibo Inyanakuma – Spiff
5. Chief Emmanuel Aladeri Apiri – Spiff
6. Chief Ephraim Fagha Faloughi Thomas Ebiegberi – Spiff
7. Chief S. D. Eke Spiff17
8. Chief A. T. Amiebi18
The major ancient families that made up the great Spiff compound are:
1. The founder, Ada Family
2. The deputy James Family
3. Debo Family
4. Igbodo Family
5. Zechariah Family
6. Prefagha Family
7. Salolomo Family.
8. Inyanakuma Family
9. Apiri Family


The problems that are bedeviling this compound, like every other compound in Two
n-Brass are numerous. However, the major ones are:
1. Erosion at their waterfront.
2. The declining rate of educated class/people in the compound is now a big
problem for them and the whole Brass. Mostly as against the founder’s dream of t
otal mass education. Unlike most head chiefs of the Nembe speaking people of yes
ter years, virtually all the head chiefs of Spiff Compound are learned and liter
ate men. There letters and other correspondence with the white men/traders attes
t to this fact.
3. The problem of royal and slave descendants/children tussle in the compou
nd, which delay the installation of the present Chief Ada Spiff needs urgent att
4. The challenge of the monarchial system of choosing the central head of t
he compound is now a big issue. Some elements of the compound are now challengin
g the ancient hereditary nature/system of choosing every Ada Spiff.
The most astonishing thing about Brass internal/local politics is that until now
, when any problem arises in Spiff Compound, it affects all the other compounds.
Therefore, the prospect of the house is tied to the prospect of the whole Twon
Shidi Compound, no doubt was one of the first settlers of what is now, known as
Twon-Brass community. According to [some] elders of the house, Shidi was/is a c
orrupt/distorted form of the name Si-di-bo meaning: he-has/had-twenty-children (
because Shidi, the most influential head of the house or the man who started/ori
ginated the compound, had twenty children). However, there is also the account
that, the Shidi (sometimes spelt/from the word: Sidi, Chidi) was originally from
(migrated to Brass) Igbo/Ibo land of Eastern Nigeria; who came and joined the o
riginal settlers of the Shidi section of the community20. Later according to th
is part/account of the story/oral history, the Mr. Shidi or Isidi or Sidibo or C
hidi (?) became prosperous and finally became head of the house. The truth of t
he matter is that this kind of episode was/is not new in this part of the world.
King Jaja of Opobo is a good example.
Shidi compound people occupied the northern part of Twon-Brass; they shared boun
daries (now contentious) with the Brass River; Spiff Compound; Kemmer Compound,
by the canal; and Sambo Compound of the southern axis of the town. The compound
is now heavily populated by mostly non-Brass people (it was sparsely populated u
ntil the news of the coming of the Brass LNG in 2003 started spreading). Politi
cally, the compound is grouped under Ward 1, with the Spiff Compound people. Th
ey have a voting strength of about sixteen thousand voters21. Before the advent
of the idea of sub-division of Brass to compounds and recently to Amas, Shidi c
ompound, was classified under the Ama-bio section of the town. (Sambo compound,
Cameroun compound, and Shidi compound made up the Ama-bio part/section/unit of
the town). The famous Brass market is in this part of the town. Shidi Compound
was the first compound that built her mausoleum (Okpo) with concrete/cement blo
cks; before this time, this way of building mausoleum was a taboo22. The compou
nd also have (is accommodating) a high concentration/number of non-Twon-Brass pe
ople (residing) in her land.
Records confirm that this compound by all standards is a War Canoe House because
among other wars; it leaders/heads participated fully in the 1895 Akassa War wi
th their canoes and others.


In this section, we will quote fully the “official” history of the compound. The hi
story is entitled: A Brief History of Chief Shidi Group of Houses, Twon-Brass.
It was written on the 31st of February, 1991. The history was duly signed by M
r. N. E. Alagoa, now a sub-chief of the compound. As at the time this brief hist
ory was written, he was the Protem Secretary of the compound.
Piri, the founder of the village know (Sic) now as Twon, migrated from a far lan
d. He settled at the fore-front of Twon in about the 13th century. As time wen
t on Boutebe joined him. Boutebe was asked to settled (sic) after moving a bit
foreword (sic) behind him. The portion of land Boutebe settled is now known as
chief Cameroun’s compound.
Piri thereafter went to ogbolomabiri-Nembe and had a wife called APO from Karito
ngha House. Chief Shidi, the son of Piri reigned when the father Piri died. As
men are not immortal beings, chief Shidi also died and Ikenga stepped into the t
hrone. At various intervals, Kariyai and Ewele followed.
Demain’s turn came. He put more spirit into the development of the House. He cre
ated much more unity among the people, the people of his domain.
Demain thereafter came on the scene, then Ene who left it alive [is now late].
He is still living but is no more on the throne. he (Sic) served the people for
some years. And there was no elected leader for some time.
The present incumbent on the throne is the convener of this special occasion and
he is Chief (Dr.) Abali Shidi. He had been on the throne for some (sic) 22 yea
rs (now more than 30yrs) now. He is the oldest reigning chief in Twon-Brass. H
e re-activated the Mausoleum (Okpo) and today the entire Twon is a witness.
We wish him many more years. May the Lord bless him.
Protem Secretary (Organisation)
31st February, 1991.
However, Rev Daniel Ogiriki Ockiya in his book: History of Nembe page 109 presen
ted with all probability that Shidi House must have been founded by one Seriyai
as [a] family head, which later was taken over by one Demain, then Kareyai befor
e a wealthy Christian member of the house, called Alexander Isidi (now called Sh
idi) took over the headship of the house. Alexander Isidi was a contemporary of
Chiefs Samuel Sambo, Cameron, and Pepple. However, this account/version of Shidi
House history by the reverend gentleman utterly contradicts the official histor
y of the compound.
1. Chief Piri/Seriyai (?) (founders)
2. Chief Alexander Shidi (died 25th August 1895)
3. Chief Nathaniel Ikenga Shidi (was later deposed for misrule and extravag
4. Chief Daufa Shidi (this chief was ousted within few years for extravagan
cy too)
5. Chief Kariyai Shidi
6. Chief Ewele Shidi
7. Chief Demain Shidi (died on 4th January, 1942)
8. Chief Frank Ene Shidi (installed 1945)
9. Chief (Dr.) Ben Abali Shidi (The incumbent)
The major ancient families in Shidi Compound are as follows:
1. Piri Family
2. Shidi Family
3. Dimain Family
4. Ewele Family
5. Kariyai Family
6. Seiriyai Family*
7. Amanafiagha Family
*This Family is now, rapidly drifting to Sambo’s Compound.
The reason(s) of its neoteric fast movement away from Shidi Compound is still u
1. Chief Alagoa A. Piri
2. Chief Otonye O. Dimain
3. Chief F. E. Otikiri
4. Chief D. A. Ababo
1. Erosion
2. Mass illiteracy among the youths
3. Strangers/non-Brass/non-Shidi Polo people’s mass accommodation and their [
sometimes] unnecessary intrusion to the internal/native affairs of the compound2
4. Lack of population as a result of baseless discriminations
5. Land disputes mostly among themselves
A visionary and people oriented leadership, that will think less of Brass intern
al/local politics will be needed after now, to push this drowning house and her
people to glorious heights.
The ancient status of this house is not in controversy whatsoever. Sambo Co
mpound enjoys all the paraphernalia of one of the first settlers of Twon-Brass.
The main Sambo Compound occupied the southern part of the town. The compound sh
ared boundaries (not precise and now litigious) with Shidi compound, Cameroun Co
mpound and Kemmer Compound. The Compound has a vast landmass; and a sizeable and
growing population of approximately seventeen thousands six hundred people (lik
e all the compounds, not all this people are indigene of the compound). Politic
ally the compound is also [grouped] under Ward 1. Sambo Compound has a very hig
h voting strength like Spiff Compound. Before this time, Sambo Compound was als
o part of/ under the Ama-bio or Twon-bio section/unit of the town. From Ama-bio
or Twon-bio, the compound came to be known as Sambo Compound then, later Sambo
Ama, now.
A good section of the landmass of this compound is covered with mangrove forest
and [black mud] swamp. Virtually all the major traditional religious orders, lik
e Nyanawari, Abadi etc are in Sambo Compound25. These traditional religious ord
ers are sometimes called Juju. This explains why Sambo Compound is sometimes ca
lled, Juju Compound (Oru Polo). However, this does not mean that members of thi
s ancient compound are all Juju worshippers. The contributions [to Christianity
] of Chief Samuel Sambo, head of Sambo House in the early nineteenth century are
still noted even today by the church. The children cemetery and the main churc
h of Brotherhood of Cross and Star are all in Sambo’s section of the town.


Similar to the Shidi Compound ‘official’ history quoted above, the Sambo Compound of
ficial history also go down to the legendary, TUWON i.e. Twon, the founder of Tw
on-Brass; [the Shidi Compound people believed that Piri is the son of Twon/or he
was the Mr Tuwon himself]. According to the official history of this ancient c
ompound, virtually all the major families26 heads of this house are direct desce
ndants of Twon, the founder of the Island now called Twon-Brass. And [that] the
Twon of a man actually came from Ob-ama (Benin) and first settled in Twonkubu b
efore he later moved to the present site of the town finally.
According to Sambo Compound official history, at the peak of the famous reign of
the legendary Mr. Tuwon, Mr. Sambo27 came and joined him. Out of the traditiona
l hospitality known among the riverside people, Tuwon gave him one of his beauti
ful daughters to marry28. Later when Ama pagamo-owei (Town originator) died, Sa
mbo became the head of the large family of his late host’s household. After some
decades or so when Compoundism originated, Sambo’s descendants became the head of
Sambo’s house. However, unlike Spiff Compound and to some extend Cameroun Polo, th
ere is so far no record/evidence to show/support that the Chief Sambo stool is a
strict hereditary one. So far, available records show that most of the past occ
upants of this reverent stool were not in actuality children/descendents of the
immediate past chief/head.
Records indicated that this compound by all values is a War Canoe House because
among other wars; its/the leader [then] and his people participated copiously in
the 1895 Akassa War with their canoes and weapons.

1. Chief Samuel T. Sambo

2. Chief Diribodi William Sambo
3. Chief Berenengia Isaac Sambo
4. Chief Festus A. Sambo
5. Chief J. D. Sambo
6. Chief Herbert B. Sambo
7. Chief F. G. Sambo
8. Chief A. B. Samuel Sambo
9. Chief Raph W.I. Samuel Sambo ( the incumbent, installed November 24th 20


1. Ogomo-Meikoro Family
2. Oboulo Family
3. Pere Family
4. George Family29
1. Chief Erafamokuma Tete Charles Sambo
2. Chief Erefamote James Berenengia Sambo
3. Chief Amagboriefiegha Sambo
4. Chief E. Gbeyasa Sambo
5. Chief F. Horatio Sambo
6. Chief Dibai Sambo
7. Chief George Sambo


Unlike other compounds, Sambo Compound does not suffer from the very destructive
erosion disturbing the community. This is because the compound is [inside] mos
tly in the upper or middle of the town. Rather than erosion, the compound suffe
red from flood [and excess mangrove forest in a large part of its landmass].
Another problem of the compound is that the compound is engaged in land disputes
with most of the other compounds in the town. There is also a serious unemploy
ment problem in the compound.
Finally, like Shidi Compound, illiteracy among the youths is another problem of
this ancient compound. If all these problems are quickly dealt with before, they
get out of hand; the famous compound has a good prospect. A visionary leadershi
p, like the present ones and subsequent ones after now will be an added advantag
e to this compound.


According to some available written records and oral history the last/ or the mo
st recent people to settle in what is now, known as Twon-Brass, are the people o
f Kemmer Compound [this view is now being challenged by some authorities]. Befo
re this time, this section of Twon-Brass was called Oruwari-kiri, later, Kemmer
Ama, then Kemmer Compound and now Kemmer Ama again.
Kemmer Compound is at the eastern part of Twon-Brass; the compound shared (vague
/unclear) boundaries with Sambo, Shidi, Okolo Furo (of Cameroun Ama), and the Br
ass River. The compound like Shidi was sparsely populated (it is now densely po
pulated courtesy of the news of the coming of the Brass LNG) and with approximat
ely sixteen thousand (?) qualified voters. Politically, the compound is grouped
under Ward 2, of Brass. The landmass of the compound is estimated to be some g
ood thousand acres.
The well built General Hospital; the Consulate (an old/ancient European Reserved
Area); the Police Station; the Local Government Headquarters; the Jehovah’s Witne
ss Church; and the Fire Service Station and the boat landing Jetty are all in th
is section (or are believed to be in this section) of the compound.


Because of the establishment of the church in Twon-Brass by the European Christi
an Mission, the town (Brass community) became a Mecca of [a] sort for early Chri
stian converts in the region particularly Nembe converts. Virtually all weekends
these converts travel to Brass for church services and other activities.
It was in this period also that Chief Daddy Kemmer Oruwari (alias Mingi Obiri, M
ingi Dog) came to Twon-Brass to visit his beloved friend, Chief Ada Spiff. It i
s/will be interesting to note that, Christianity as preached by Bishop Crowther
and his son never attracted the highly sensitive and brilliant Daddy Kemmer Oruw
ari30. He came to visit his friend as a pristine African traditionalist31. In
the visit of 1876, [according to late Chief S. D. Eke Spiff in his seminal book]
Chief D.K. Oruwari became convinced of Christianity through the preaching of hi
s host, Chief A. T. Spiff. There and then, he became an over-enthusiastic Chris
tian; burnt all his idols and charms, went back to Nembe; packed his belongings
(both materials and human beings) and moved down to Twon-Brass to settle like hi
s friend. The Twon people gave him what is now known as Kemmer Compound to occu
py (without distinguishable boundaries. Which personalities of the then Twon-Bra
ss gave Oru-wari what is now known as Kemmer Ama is still mysterious). From the
n, like his friend, Chief Kemmer and his household became full-fledged Twon-Bras
s people32. From then till/until now, this compound has contributed a lot, both
financially and otherwise to the development of Twon-Brass through mostly their
regents. Thanks to the great hospitality of our ancestors.
The above history, which was given/written by Chief S. D. Eke Spiff (now late) i
n his popular book, The Founding of a Community and the Church at Twon-Brass in
1868, appears now to be very misleading and porous. Research indicates that, Chi
ef Oruwari’s migration to Twon-Brass has nothing whatsoever to do with Chief Adda/
Ada Spiff; in fact, records so far show that Chief Oruwari came to Brass far bef
ore the migration of Ada Spiff to the town (Twon-Brass). Some authorities includ
ing now the official history of Kemmer Ama indicate that Oruwari came to Brass i
n about 1860 or in all probability earlier. It is also likely that, Chief Oruwar
i’s people came to Brass [in the 16th century] immediately after the dead of King
Ikata in 1780 [Prof Alagoa, page 52] (that succeeded Mingi the 1st). This is bec
ause immediately after the dead of king Ikata, according to Rev D. O. Ockiya (p.
183) members of his [Ikata’s house which Oruwari led a big part later] house, all
dispersed/scattered/flee from the town, that is, they left Nembe for various nea
rby towns and villages [mostly to the then Twon-Brass].
The conversion of Chief Oruwari to Christianity as narrated by the eminent Chief
(S D. Eke Spiff) in his book quoted above seems also to be unfounded. No histor
ian [Europeans or Africans from available records] recorded this epoch-making ep
isode in their works/books about Christianity, etc in Nembe/Brass. Reverend D. O
. Ockiya, the foremost Christianity/Christian[s] biased historian did not also m
ention, even in a passing, [about] the role Adda Spiff played in converting an e
minent native/traditionist/juju man and warrior like Chief Oruwari then. Accordi
ng to Reverend Ockiya, it was Rev Thomas Johnson (a European missionary) that Ch
ief Oruwari gave/surrendered (which may have been the person that finally helped
to convert him in Brass or Nembe) all his native war charms and medicines to; w
hen he decided finally to convert to Anglicanism in the year 1875: which was act
ually less than five years from the year Adda Spiff migrated to Brass. Chief Ada
Spiff stayed in the mission (Church compound) house (after first staying/concea
ling himself in a ship in the Brass River for about two years) in Brass largely
incommunicado [to mostly Nembe elements and their agents of all types] because o
f fear of his life for a good part of the first decade he ran to Brass. The Chie
f only became very active after about half a decade [6 years] when the Brass peo
ple gave him what is now known as Spiff Ama (then Gbobokiri) and the threat to h
is life became less serious. Therefore, the assertion that he converted Oruwari
in 1876 is a very remote one. It is also on record that Chief Oruwari sent his a
dopted son Chief William H. Kemmer to England to study after his conversion to C
hristianity before 1876 the year Eke Spiff stated or alleged that Adda Spiff hel
ped to convert Oruwari.
The above accounts therefore show that the esteem and privileges Ada Ama/Spiff C
ompound was and is still enjoying in Twon-Brass as the fourth compound to have r
eached or settled in the island now known and referred to as Brass [for now] is
a false/fictitious one. The Kemmer Ama (compound) people need to do further rese
arch and publish their own side of the history to take their rightful place in t
he comity of compounds or amas in the town.
Finally, the above also prove that there is now an urgent need to properly inves
tigate the histories/stories our past and present chiefs, elders and others hand
ed-over [or are telling us] to us in the community in particular and others in g
eneral. This is because; most of these histories/stories were/are at best beauti
ful egocentric, baseless and porous fabrications that are now very provocative a
nd debasing. The claims that Twon-Brass land/or what is now officially known as
Brass, belongs to or is own by: Nembe or Okpoama or Akassa or Diema or Beletiama
or Liama, etc (all these smaller communities have in the past made the claim th
at Brass Land is theirs) are all baseless/unfounded claims that [some] experts d
ishonourable re-writers of history are propagating. The island now known as Twon
-Brass by all standards and from all the ancient impeccable records is for the p
eople of Brass and Brass alone because they were the first people on earth to oc
cupy that space now officially called: Twon-Brass. We advice all those who are c
laiming to own or to have first settled in Brass’ landmass to publish and support
their assertions with concrete evidence(s) [and not sentiments and tall tales fr
om their backyards and largely unknown ancestors.]
{The Okpoama’s claim that, they were the first people to settle in the present Two
n-Brass land have been finally [and materially] put to rest in a recent widely c
irculated publication entitled: Celebration of Life: Royal Burial Rites of King
Sagbe by them. In a 19th November 2009 detailed funeral biography of the late K
ing of the town [Okpoama], Justice Kesiye Stephen Sagbe, in page 20, the biograp
hers [Itua-Banigo, Aya and Opal (?) and A. Briggs and others] revealed that:
Okpo, [the FAMOUS] founder of the community now known as Okpoama and his people
] first settled at Saikiripogu (a part of the present site of Okpoama-Ewoama); f
ollowed by ‘Okuokugu’ which was found safe, but difficult for a people used to a wat
erside location; and they finally found a suitable site at Kaiko (opposite the p
resent St Paul’s Church….
We therefore, applaud the biographers of the late king for standing tall on the
side of truth and true history like Prof Alagoa and others. We hope that other h
eads of communities will do the same [by writing their true histories in any for
m] to foster unity and peace for [mostly] the next generations of our people.
Records, so far, confirm that Kemmer Ama like Spiff Compound is not (and has not
attained) a War Canoe House/status in Brass until now because among other wars;
it leaders/heads and people did not participate in any way in the Akassa War of
1895 because of mainly economic (perhaps also, religious) reasons. That Chief K
emmer was/is a war canoe chief in Nembe before he adopted Brass, as a home is no
t in doubt in any way. Chief Oruwari fought so many wars for the Nembe people be
fore he left for Brass and became a churchman/Christian.
Experts of Niger Delta history pointed out that Chief Kemmer of old did not conc
erned [got involved in] himself with the King Koko lad Akassa War because, among
others reasons, he was collecting rent/corney from the European traders who wer
e using the consulate in Brass as a base. This by all standards then, was a very
huge/good means of income.


1. Chief Daddy Kemmer Oruwari (founder)
2. Chief William Henry Kemmer
3. Chief Fortunatus Apa Kemmer
4. Chief William Sinte Kemmer, (died 12th December 1918)
5. Rev Moses Kemmer
6. Elder Olalibo (regent)
7. Elder Ikatawariebite Sinteh (regent)
8. Elder Omieworio (regent)
9. Chief (Dr.) M. I. William Kemmer ( installed 1975, died 2001)
10. Chief Odumo William Kemmer (The incumbent, installed 2005-)


1. The Kemmer / Oruwari Family
2. The Sinteh Family
3. The Mama Augusta Family
4. Madam Felicia family
5. Madam Ituani Family
6. The Omieworio Family


1. Chief William Sinteh Kemmer
2. Chief George Claudius Kemmer


This was/is the most organized compound in Brass. However, erosion, land disput
es, and mass illiteracy are some of the problems of this great compound. The pr
ospects of growth are present in the compound; but when will the mover of progre
ss come? The present head chief is selflessly pushing the compound to the limel
ight. However, after now a very serious minded young [leader] man will be neede
d to pilot the affairs of the compound.
Like Shidi Compound and Sambo Compound, the famous Cameroun Compound is one of t
he earliest settlers of what is now known as Twon-Brass. Cameroun Compound sinc
e remembered time also enjoys the status of one of the first comers/settlers of
Twon-Brass. The main living part of the compound is situated between the wester
n and southern part in the town. The celebrated Cameroun Compound shared (indis
tinct/hazy) boundaries (before now) mostly with Sambo and Spiff Compounds. The
compound is also densely populated; with a sizeable landmass. It has a voting s
trength of about/approximately seventeen thousand voters. The compound is polit
ically grouped under the Ward 1 of Twon-Brass. This section was also called Ama
-bio before the advent of Compoundism and Amaism as means/theories of division a
nd identification.


Similar to that of Sambo and Shidi, the official Cameroun Compound’s history is al
so traced to the famed and lionized, Tuwon, (Twon) the founder of the virgin Isl
and, now known as Twon-Brass. According to the accepted history of the compound
, Boutibi, the son of Twon, had a son and daughter called Waribugo and Ebiri res
pectively. The beautiful Ebiri later went down to Nembe and married, Ibuama and
gave birth to Cameroun. Who later became wealthy and took the compound to a ve
ry great height33.
When almighty Tuwon and his industrious son, Mr. Boutibi were called by the gods
, i.e. their ancestors, the then young and hardworking Cameroun took over the co
ntrol of his father and grandfather’s household. Later, when the idea of politica
l cum administrative compoundism was introduced to Twon-Brass the descendants of
Boutibi took over the control of the compound.
Records confirm that this compound by all standards is a War Canoe House like Sh
idi and Sambo in the town, because among other wars; it leader/heads participate
d fully in the 1895 Akassa War with their canoes, etc.
Chief Uriah Cameron [like chief Oruwari of Kemmer Ama] was also collecting subsi
dies/rents from the European traders [perhaps for using the Consulate land] from
1910-1915, however, like that of Chief Kemmer, the reason (why he was paid) for
these subsidies is unknown. The then Commissioner of Warri Province stopped Chi
ef Cameron’s money in 1915. The sum of six pounds was also paid to one Chief Georg
e from 1915-20 by the European traders as rent for [using] the Consulate too.


1. Chief Ikiomoyefa Cameroun34
2. Chief Jacob Cameron (died 14th May 1889. He was head-chief or an Ama-dig
ibo of Twon during the time Kings Kien and Ockiya were reigning in Nembe)
3. Chief Opuene (Big day) Cameroun (died 10th February 1928, this chief dec
lared himself independent later from the house and dropped the name Cameron)
4. Chief Albert Inguruwei Cameron ( died 11th May 1942)
5. Chief Dunstan Ikoli Cameron (installed September 1945 in compliance with
the urgent need of the then colonial government)
6. Chief Albert Cameroun
7. Chief Fitepigi Cameroun
8. Chief Edward Cameroun
9. Chief T. K. Cameroun
10. Chief (Prof.) Odu Cameroun35 (The Incumbent).


2. Kereboye Family
3. Boutibi Family
4. Waribugo Family
5. Okolo / Opuene Family36
1. Chief Z. Waribugo Cameroun
2. Chief J. T. Akimanyo Cameroun
3. Chief Fitiepigi Cameroun
4. Chief Kereboye Cameroun
5. Chief Okolo Cameroun

Erosion is not a very serious problem in this compound [as it is for the other c
ompounds]. However, boundary disputes with other compounds are a serious proble
m in the compound. Mass illiteracy of the youths like every other compound is b
edeviling this compound too. Unemployment of the few educated youths of this co
mpound is also growing. Cameroun compound is one of the most sensitive compound
s of Twon-Brass. If the above-mentioned problems are not tackled, the whole Two
n community’s foundation will shake, when these problems will get out of hand. We
hope the present crops of new chiefs are equal to the task.

From the above submissions given [about] the holy histories of the various compo
unds, many things have become clear and the controversy that surrendered or bede
viled some historical issues have been resolved. Suffice it to say, at present,
that the following under-mentioned fundamentals are the axiomatic and compatible
facts about our antiquities.
Firstly, anybody that can conveniently trace his or her history to any ancient f
amily that is under any of the major compounds of Twon-Brass is a de facto membe
r of the town. This assertion is corroborated by Dr Dike’s city-state historic nom
enclature/categorization which he gave to communities in the Niger-Delta includi
ng Nembe and Brass in his book: Trade and Politics in the Niger-Delta, 1830-1885
. According to him, he rejected the term tribal-state as applicable to Delta com
munities because citizenships [in Niger-Delta communities] came increasingly [ev
en in the olden days] to depend not on descent but on residence (families that h
ave lived in Brass for a century or more should be considered as Twon people). T
herefore, unnecessary discrimination was never the ways of our ancestors. Second
ly, it is now very limpid that Cameroun Compound, Sambo Compound, and Shidi Comp
ound all gracefully and ceremoniously connect the bases of their histories to th
e legendary founder of Twon-Brass. Therefore, they are [or maybe] all pre-emine
nt descendants of the great Tuwon. Furthermore, the perilous argument of “who-cam
e-first”; “who-came-second” and “which-compound-came-last” is uncalled for. This is a mys
terious idea from not-too-serious minds to cause confusion in the land. Let us
for the sake of unity forget this dividing-history and move forward. Unity and
goodwill are the watchwords of our great ancestors.
Finally, the political and administrative traditional systems of governance of T
won-Brass right from time immemorial are rooted in the ideas of true-and-compoun
d-federalism; compounds/units republicanism and town-democracy. The Twon-Brass
man and woman were/are still looking for the definition(s) of what others called
constitutional and executive monarchy*.
In Brass, there are no slaves and there are no lords. Spiff Compound; Sambo Com
pound; Shidi Compound; Kemmer Compound and Cameroun Compound people are all Bras
s bonafide aborigines. All later day claims of extreme constitutional and execu
tive royalties in the town are baseless.

* More of this in Chapters Four and Five

1. The division of an ancient town to new villages or other towns to score a pol
itical point(s). This is now famous in the Niger Delta.
2. Nicolo Machiavelli was an Italian elder statesman and political philosopher,
that postulated the theories of greed and rule-for-ever. Deceiving of people to
get what one wants is also his theory.
3. How he came to bear the name, Spiff is not cleared, however, as a devoted Chr
istian, it may be part of his Christian name. The meaning of the name is still
a thing of speculations.
4. See chapter eight
5. The European cemetery was the place where Europeans that died during the Akas
sa war were buried. The place is a big tourist site up until now. See pictures
6. Chapter Eight for details
7. This also confirmed the extreme generosity of the average Brassman and woman.
It will be interesting to note that, in this period a lot of towns and village
s in Nigeria were chasing missionaries away. See History of Christianity in Wes
t Africa, by Rev. Paul O. Ajah.
8. More of erosion on chapter ten
9. More of Ada’s large-heartedness and extreme love for people later in this chapt
10. “The Founding of a Community…” by S. D. Eke-Spiff (J. P.)
11. No past or present Chief Ada Spiff has ever achieved half of what the first
Ada achieved in a short time.
12. Allen Spiff, Dandeson Spiff and others were sent to the very expensive and f
amous Grammar School in Freetown, Capital of Sierra Leone.
13. This explains why until recently Spiff house members were the people that oc
cupied all enviable positions that were allocated to Brass by the Government. C
hief Ada started the foundation.
14. It is still not clear whether some Brass people were involved in this lootin
g. However, Ada house people were innocent from everything in this regard. See
S. D. Eke Spiff “The History of Ada Spiff”
15. In this period the British government was a law to themselves. Severe punish
ments were given to Africans for every alleged minor crime. See “A Thousand Years
of West African History”. Edited by J. F. Ade and Lan Espie
16. Traditionally the Chief James stool is the traditional deputy stool to the C
hief Ada Spiff stool. When any Ada died or was removed, the reigning Chief Jame
s Spiff will automatically be a regent before a new one will be chosen. The p
resent C. F. D. James Spiff became a regent because of the death of the incumben
t in a communal clash between Nembe and Kalabari in the early 90s. The present r
egent is an educationist; he became a chief in the early 70s. He is now a priva
te businessperson.
17. See appendix for his full biography and installation ceremony.
18. Chief A. T. Amiebi and Chief Eke Spiff are actually not chiefs from their co
mpound – Spiff Compound. They are Amayanabo presented chiefs of Twon-Brass. More
about Chief A. T. Amiebi in Chapter 4
19. There are also some sub-families just growing or moving towards distinct fam
ilies from some major ones. Secondly, the history of these families in Twon-Bras
s is another area that has not been studied.
20. More of the history later. But note that names corruption in the early peri
ods of contact was the European’s pastimes. This is common also in Bonny, Kalabar
i, Hausa land, and Yoruba land.
21. This sometimes varies. From the Local Government Office
22. What informed this idea is not still clear, however, definitely it was not o
ut of Christian fanaticism.
23. There are some sub-family that are seeking for limelight. However, all these
families are offshoot of the major ones.
24. It is my considered opinion that exclusively the aborigines of the house sho
uld handle Traditional house matters.
25. More of this in the next chapter
26. See the names of the major families below.
27. The original place where the hardworking and rich Mr. Sambo came from is sti
ll a thing of conjecture. However, some authorities believed that he came from
the northern part of Nigeria (Hausa/Fulani etc).
28. Some authorities traced the descendants of the Ogomo-Meikoro family to this
29. Most members of the house always put Pere and George families as one family.
30. It is not clear whether like king Jaja of Opobo, Chief D. K. Oruwari also re
garded Bishop Crowther as a bad man. King Jaja normally referred to the Bishop
as a very bad man! See “The Educated Elites in the Nigerian Society”, by E. A. Ayan
31. Those who strongly believe in the “Gods” of Africa. We still have a lot of them
in Brass
32. However, some authorities believed that Oruwari founded Kemmer Compound and
went to Nembe and was using the place as a trading post. He also later sent his
educated son to become the first (?) head chief of this section.
33. There are some other slight different histories. But all of them have the T
won and the Boutibi as the northern stars of their histories. See also appendix
for details (Vol. II).
34. According to some authorities, it was this man that adopted the name “Cameroun”
from the company he was working for.
35. Chief professor Odu Cameroun is a relatively young, first professor of soi
l related study, East of the Niger (then). He became a chief in the very late ei
ghties or so. Since then he has used his educated sense of responsibility to pi
lot the affairs of the compound. He is also the first professor to head a compo
und in Twon-Brass.
1. 36. According to the records this family was once with Shidi Compound.
Why they moved to Cameroun Compound is still a thing of speculations.

It is now, a common fact that, before the historical Jesus Christ was born: The
Hausa/Fulanis; Yorubas; the Ibos; the Ijaws; the Urhobos and other nationalitie
s of Africa and most parts of the world were already existing1. Some at this pe
riod were at the peak of their socio-economic progress and development. The bir
th of Christ can be relatively connected to the birth of Christianity2. Therefo
re, before Christianity spread to West Africa and to the Ijaw nation and in exte
nsion to Twon-Brass, the people already had their own forms of viable and valuab
le ancient Religious Orders. These kinds of ancient Religious Orders were also
common in the B.C. eras around the North Africa zones. Egypt and Morocco are go
od examples.
Back home, the Yorubas, the Hausa/Fulanis, the Ibos and other races also have th
eir own ancient Religious Orders3. The Ijaws (Izon or Ijaws) in general and Two
n-Brass in particular also have their own ancient Religious Orders. The utiliti
es of these Orders to the people’s welfare are not in doubt. Even now, that Weste
rn and Eastern Religious Orders4 have become common in this part of the world; t
hese ancient traditional Religious Orders are still popular with the people. An
cient history pundits normally use the existence of these Religious Orders in a
particular place to date the origin of that place or land. Twon-Brass by all re
asonable standards is an ancient town. The famous town is blessed with many anc
ient Religious Orders. In this chapter, we will succinctly elaborate on this Re
ligious Orders5 of Twon-Brass.
The Male Religious Orders existing in Brass are:-
1. Sekia Pele Religious Order
2. Abadi Religious Order
3. Nyana-wari Religious Order
The ancient Female Religious Orders existing in Brass are:-
1. Mindi-Zeba
2. Ama-kiri-ba
3. Mindi Koromo
4. So-no-ma Erewo


These are the sub ancient Religious Orders
1. The Osa ain (bele(s))
2. Ebe-be-ge(s)
3. Wari-Gbo lo-lo –A-teme
The Sekia-pele Religious Order:- This Religious Order is now regarded as the ow
ner of what is now, known as Twon-Brass. According to the Priest; when Sekia-pe
le came to Twon, the area was very bushy and in the process of clearing the fore
st, he (Sekia-pele) met Nyanawari. Nyanawari, as the story/account goes, was co
mfortable with the bushy nature of the Island, therefore he stopped Sekia-pele f
rom clearing the forest. Sekia-pele refused and a serious conflict that lasted
for decades began. This war of attrition continued until Abadi, the owner of th
e famous Atlantic Ocean came to the scene and settled the matter. An agreement
was reached (OVO) and Sekia-pele like Jacob of the Bible was favoured with the e
nviable position of the owner of the Island (Twon-Brass). Thus at present Seki-
pele is regarded as the Amanyana-Oru (town-owner juju/god) in Brass.
The dates of the arrival [when these gods came to settle in the town] of Sekia-p
ele and Nyanawari may never be known, however, conservatively, experts (through
radiocarbon analysis and dating) have approximately put their arrival dates as s
ome 50yrs before the birth of Christ6.
At present the Sekia-pele’s cathedral is situated in Sambo’s Compound, very close to
the town square (Opupolotiri). Before now the cathedral was built with sacred
grasses. Now, it is built with corrugated iron sheets (zinc). It is highly for
bidden for anybody to enter this cathedral without the permission of the chief h
igh priest (An equivalent of Bishop, Pope or Imam). Women are almost not allowe
d to go close to this cathedral.
The festival of this Religious Order always falls/starts in February, the period
of flooding [of the Atlantic Ocean]. To the adherents of this faith the four-d
ay festival period is their own Xmas or Salah equivalent.
Day One of the festival period is called: Eru-Sara-Ene, meaning [denotatively] t
he day to pour drink. The drink to be poured is normally palm wine. The high p
riest will take a jug full of palm wine in his left hand and recite some incanta
tions and do other things that he deem fit (that can’t be explain by normal human
beings that, are not in his spiritual state). Before pouring a good part of the
palm wine on the doorstep of the cathedral7. After this show, “He” (the high pries
t) and his followers will feast on the palm wine. Visitors are allowed to join
them to share the wine.
Day Two of the festival is called Peri-Pele-Ene. On this day all the “holy” spirits
of the Order will come upon all the followers of this faith and they will displa
y/dance/gyrate throughout the day, dressed in their full regalia in their square
. Viewers always strictly follow the instruction (traditions) of the Order whil
e watching them as they dance.
Day Three always coincides with the de-flooding of the water back to the Atlanti
c Ocean. In the morning of this day, there will be drumbeats in the morning wit
h few hours of display/dancing. Later as the floodwater flows back to the ocean
, so the spirits leave their host and go to the ocean. This signifies the end of
the dancing and drum beating.
Day Four is called the day of rest and purification (Ira-suo-ene). The priest a
nd other faithful, though not dominated by the holy spirits again will not talk/
speak/discuss with non-adherents and the male members will not go close to women
, and vice versa. Finally, all the faithful will bathe/cleanse themselves in th
e river for final departure of the holy spirits of the Order. After this act, t
he members of this Order become normal/ordinary human beings and can now re-join
the conventional society.


Like the Sekia-pele ancient Religious Order, these Religious Orders are also acc
orded the same respect by the people of Twon-Brass.
These two Religious Orders are also situated in the Sambo section of Twon-Brass.
But unlike Sekia-pele, their cathedrals are across the (Mindi Koromo) canal of
Sambo Compound. They have a lot of sons and daughters (adherents) like Sekia-p
ele. The high priests of these Orders are also very polygamous, in fact the pri
ests like Solomon of the Bible had unlimited number of wives. These wives are m
ostly members of the Orders8.
The festival month of Abadi is March, while that of Nyenawari is April. The dur
ations and manners of the festivals are the same with that of, Sekia-pele9.
1. Purifications of the town
2. Protection of the town
3. Prevention of sickness, like small pox; this is mainly the work of Nyana
4. Divination (fortune telling); a lot of faithful and non-faithful still c
ontact these good Religious Orders; to know what the future has in stock for the
m. Sekia-pele and Abadi are professionals in this regard.
5. They act as doctors to very sick people that orthodox medicine has faile
d to cure; it is believed that Nyanawari cures all diseases.
6. These Religious Orders also cast bad and wicked demons and other bad spi
rits out of people.
7. These Religious Orders also provide aids to Twon-Brass people, who are i
nterested in their affairs.
8. They check and balance the activities of the rulers of Brass.
9. They play a prominent role in the election or appointment of leaders in
the town.
10. They introduce and modify cultural practices in Twon-Brass.
Mindi-Zeba, Ama-kiri-ba, Mindi Koromo and Sono-ma-erewo are the female Religious
Orders. These Religious Orders are under the shades of the male Religious Orde
rs. They are sometimes also referred to as the principal wives of the male Orde
rs. However, the case of Sono-ma-erewo is spectacular.

Sono-ma-erewo literally means: The Seven Sisters. There are two Religious Order
s in this ancient system. There is one Sono-ma-erewo that is situated/located i
n the Twon-Kubu section of the town. The other Sono-ma-erewo is located in the
terminal of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company section of the town. Their cathedral
is inside the forest between the Agip Tank Farm and the Agip Workers’ Residential
area. The Nigeria Agip Oil Company because of the respect they have for the tow
n and this Religious Order is taking good care of the place. The forest still r
emains virgin. The canal close to the cathedral of this Religious Order is forb
idden to the general public. Permission is only given once a year to harvest th
e fishes in the canal. The priests of this Religious Order always normally come
from the Ogomo-Mei Nkoro family of Sambo Compound. It is believed that the bea
utiful [spirits] high priests of this order sometimes take the shape of human da
msels and move around in the town. The second Sono-ma-erewo that is in the Twon
-kubu section of the town is now an endangered species. At present there is no
human priest representing this ancient Religious Order in Brass.
The functions of the female Religious Orders are the same as those of the male o
nes. However, the female ones are somehow inferior (by active functions general
ly) to the males.
1. The Osain10: These are various mysterious pots situated in some places/
parts of the town. These pots always boil, even without fire under them. They
have individuals that are their representatives. These Osains are lesser than t
he male Religious Orders. They sometimes act as messengers for the big Orders.
Their functions are the same with the big Religious Orders, but in a lesser deg
3. The Ebe-be-ge Religious Order is the most investigative-messenger to all
other major and minor Religious Orders. The Ebe-be-ge normally manifests its s
pirits on a long sacred sizeable stick that is carried by four or five [sometime
s more] very strong young men. When the young men put/carry this sacred stick o
n their shoulders, the stick will command and give them direction while they car
ry out investigate into matters/allegations under focus. It has rules and regul
ations guiding the bearers/carriers. Any attempt to violate these laws attracts
negative consequences. When the Ebe-be-ge is in motion, it can perform wonders
. For example the carriers can cross a river still carrying the stick on their
shoulders without attempting to swim! This Order is very popular among the Twon
-Brass youths.
GBOLOLO ATEME: These are powerful ancestral spirits that reside in the Mausoleum
s (Okpos) of the various compounds. These ancestral spirits enjoy libations and
greetings when anybody goes in and out of the Okpos. There are also powerful f
amilies’ ancestral spirits that are accorded a lot of respect in the town. Each f
amily can boast of one or more ancestral spirits in Twon-Brass. Their functions
are the same as that/those of the major Religious Orders. However, they operat
e more at the families and compounds levels. When you see a Nembe/Brass man, by
extension Ijaw man pour/empty/spill out drink [mostly alcoholic ones] on his do
or step or in front of him before taking/drinking/sipping it, know that he is gi
ving it to his ancestral spirit(s) [i.e. Gbololo-Ateme in Brass language].

For the simple fact that no non Twon-Brass man or woman has creditably become {a
} high priests of any of these ancient Religious Orders; confirmed the fact also
that the Island, Twon-Brass was a virgin forest before the ancestors of Brass p
eople occupied it. Note that the ancient Religious Orders were the first occupi
ers of this Island before the human Twon-Brass inhabitants. Since then a vacuum
has not been created.

1. For details see the following books
a. A short history of Urhobo, by M. P. Okumagba
b. A short history of the Benin, by J. U. Egharevba
c. An outline of Igbo history, by Prof. A. E. Afigbo
d. Nigeria: A modern History, by Rev. Akpofure and M. Crowther
e. The African Iron Age, by P. L. Shinnie
f. The People of Africa, by H. M. Schieffelin
g. Christianity in Africa, by E. O. Babalola
h. The Black Man’ s Burden, by Basil
i. Being Black, Being Human, by Femi Oju-Ade
j. “The Izon Man, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, a lecture delivered by Justic
e J. A. P. Oki, published by the Ijaw News, USA.
k. ‘The History of the Yorubas’, by Rev. Samuel Johnson
l. ‘Root’, by Alex H.
2. Christianity actually started about some decades after the death of Chri
3. Examples are the Shango, Arochukwu Shrine, etc.
4. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.
5. These ancient Religious Orders are sometimes called Juju houses. This i
s an erroneous appellation.
6. Some authorities strongly queried this date. They believed that these R
eligious Orders arrived Brass much later than this period.
7. The language of the high priest, when he is dominated by the holy spirit
s of the Order is quite different from the traditional Nembe language. The orig
in and the fundamentals of that language is under investigation.
8. We have still not known their definition of a wife. However, a lot of t
heir female faithfuls proudly called themselves wives of these high priests.
9. Sometimes depending on the focus of the festival, there use to be some m
inor changes. However, the fundamentals remain the same.
10. This Religious Order is now an endangered species among the rest of the
traditional Religious Orders in the Nembe / Brass kingdom.

The most pressing vexata quaestio in contemporary Twon-Brass is/was the Amanyana
bo Issue. Many competent authorities in Twon-Brass are deliberately pussyfootin
g about this monumental matter. Like the proverbial Ostrich, most Twon-Brass ch
iefs, elders and even some youths are still burying their heads in the sand when
their whole bodies are visible to the problem the Amayanabo Question is/was gen
A book like this must consider this matter extensively. This I will do wit
h impeccable traditional sources. The unbiased and unpolluted minds should turn
to the documents in the appendix for full understanding of this colossal matter
that have polarized Twon-Brass, more than the devil.
In this chapter the truth and nothing but the truth will be told/narrated/recoun
ted/related, not for me, and not for the major gladiators, but for generations y
et unborn.
*Please note that the idea, functions, and foundations of an Amanyanabo are very
different from that of an Ama-digi-bo


It is a truism to say that: the idea of a constitutional and executive Monarchy
(Amanyanabo) is a very alien (new) idea in ancient Twon-Brass1. Etekpe (2003) ma
de it clear [in his book] that, before the 19th century, most Ijo communities li
ke Twon-Brass [before the 1970s] did not have a central head or king, according
to him; it was the Atlantic trade that spurred the need for central leadership i
n most Ijo communities. The Twon-Brass man and woman, right from time immemoria
l had imbibed the ideas of true federalism, republicanism, and simple one-man-on
e-vote democracy. The way the town is divided into distinct and independent sec
tions (compounds and more sadly Amas now) is a testimony of our true federalism.
The manner in which elders and youths leaders are elected in the various compo
unds is a confirmation of our ancient republican ideology. The processes of ele
cting most of our various compound head-chiefs (now sadly called: Ama-dabos) are
an authentication of our claims to simple democratic norms.
Unlike other neighbouring towns and villages (like Nembe, Okpoma, Bonny, Opobo,
Okirika Kingdoms) the Twon-Brass man and woman have never been ruled by a consti
tutional cum executive king/monarch before. Like the United States of America a
nd the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria, the idea of a god-like ruling monarchy sends co
nsternation into the bottommost part of the psyche of the average Twon-Brass man
and woman. How then were our ancestors ruling themselves (the whole town in ex
tension) without conflicts2? Suffice it to say, however, that the idea of an Am
anyanabo was conceived very lately in the 1920s3.The originators/architects/init
iators of this strange system of ruler-ship did not consider the psychological a
nd political dislocations it will cause members of the community. The roles/ fu
nctions/ characters /responsibilities of the ahistorical king they want to inven
t/concoct/originate or create were not also defined. They did not also consider
, the fact that monarchism/ monarchical system (a system of government by a king
or queen) lies on some essential foundations/ basics/ fundamentals/ nitty-gritt
y, like, royalty; founder theories4; slave/ master relationships5; high-achievem
ent theories6 etc.
Finally, the newly invented absolute Amanyanabo (kingship) stool was placed on t
he head of young handsome and tall, Mr. Austin Samuel Arisimo. Mr. Arisimo was
a member of Sambo Compound. He was born in 1904; he attended the famous St. Bar
nabas Primary School, Twon-Brass and passed out with distinctions in all subject
s. Later, he passed the London Cambridge Certificate Examination. Arisimo work
ed as a senior clerk with the renowned English outfit United African Company (U.
A.C.) for some time and later left for a teaching job. He taught in some school
s including St. Barnabas School Twon-Brass, his Alma Mata. Mr. Samuel Austin Ar
isimo was also an ardent christian. He was an organist for the St. Barnabas Ang
lican Church Twon-Brass for a long time. Arisimo loved eating green plantain.
Reading, writing and composing of songs were his hobbies.
Mr. Arisimo had only a wife with six children. He became an Amanyanabo (of a so
rt) of Twon-Brass in 1929 and answered: HRH King Arisimo Austin Samuel Sambo. H
e died, March 25th, 1962. He lived a fulfilled life according to some authoriti
Immediately, Arisimo was made Amanyanabo, Twon-Brass became polarized to: Pro-Am
anyanabo and Anti-Amanyanabo groups. The major argument of the pro-Amanyanabo g
roup was/is that Twon-Brass was matured for a central monarch! While the anti-A
manyanabo group believed and still believe that the idea of Amanyanabo with exec
utive powers will be a cancer in Twon-Brass7. It will be interesting to note th
at these groups’ faithful then (and even now) cut across all the compounds in the
community. The conflict continued until Arisimo died in 1962 and was buried unc
eremoniously, according to many accounts.
. . . . . . . . .
From 1962 to 1978, Twon Brass enjoyed peace again. Then in, July 1973, a “Twon Pl
anning Committee” was formed/established in a “mass” meeting of the Twon community. A
ctually according to a letter written to chiefs and the elders’ council on the 7th
of June, 1974 and signed by its executives, the function of Twon Planning Commi
ttee centers on the social, economic and educational development of Twon8. Howe
ver, against these stated noble aims and objectives of the “Twon Planning Committe
e,” the idea of an Amanyanabo was born again. Then members of this planning commi
ttee made the Amanyanabo Issue their main concern. Series of meeting were held
and finally the idea of another Amanyanabo was sold to the public again. Some b
ought the idea and some did not as it was the case in the 1920s. From the time,
Twon Planning Committee made the Amanyanabo Issue their pet-project to when it
was finally concluded, a lot of water passed under the bridge9. Finally, on the
4th of November, 1978 at the Opu-Polotiri (ceremonial ground) A. P. Diete Spiff
10 was installed as the second Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, amidst serious disagree
ments. Immediately after the controversial installation ceremony, the anti-Aman
yanabo (not all the people in this group were/against the creation of the stool,
some were/are against Diete Spiff on historical/origin grounds) group took the
matter to court11, and since then, from the courtroom to the compounds’ level, dow
n to the families’ level, Twon-Brass has known no peace again. At present, the ma
tter has also been politicized, and a lot of people from outside and within the
community are feasting on the table of this disagreement in the town (see the ap
pendix section for more information). From all indications the court of law can
not (the law court however, to a large extend has disentangled it for us legally
) even resolve the soul of the matter12. The people are confused and they are
nostalgic and they want to go back to their age-old traditions to look for the s
olution to this matter.

. . . . . . . . . .
. . . .
In the light of the above, the next chapter will critically evaluate the ancient
administrative system of Twon-Brass and will give workable-middle-of-the-road-s
uggestions to bring down the fire of the Amanyanabo burning issue still.

1. the Nembe people, the Bonny people, the Okrika people, the Akassa people, the
Okpoma people, etc can all boast of numerous past executive kings.
2. The ancient Socio-political Administrative system of Twon-Brass is elaboratel
y treated in the next chapter.
3. The protagonists of this first idea are not still known. Their aims are st
ill unknown.
4. The King is the founder of the town. The theory is common among the Ijaws.
Therefore, he and after him his descendants must be king. E.g. King Amakiri of
Kalabari land.
5. The king or his ancestors are the slave masters/owners. That is the king bou
ght the other members of the town. This is a very common theory in the Arab wor
6. The king must have done a spectacular thing for the town. e.g: Jaja of Opo
7. There are other minor points of disagreements, but these are the major argum
ents of these groups.
8. See appendix for this letter. The Secretary of this committee was Mr. A. T
. Amiebi., he is now a chief of the town. Mr. Amiebi was born some eighty years
ago. He attended, the famous St. Barnabas Primary School and had his Secondar
y education in Lagos. He worked in Lagos for some time, he came back home some
thirty-five years ago. Since then he has used his wealth of experience to add
to the development of the town. The chief is now a private businessperson.
9. See letters written by this Committee to various people. Most of these lette
rs are in the appendix section.
10. A. P. Diete was the first Military Governor of old Rivers State. He is now c
alled HRH chief A. P. Diete Spiff. The Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, Seiriyai II
11. See appendix for full details.
12. The Court decided the case in favour of the Amanyanabo’s group after some 20 y
ears. This, however, has not brought back the much needed unity and peace in the

Since we have all agreed that the idea of a central executive Amanyanabo is a st
range and new development in Twon-Brass. In this chapter we will elaborate on h
ow the ancient Brass man and woman governed themselves. And in the concluding p
art of this chapter, some suggestions will be given to unzip Twon-Brass from thi
s lock jam – The Amanyanabo enigma+, the court of law has legally helped us to sol
ve for now.


Like so many villages and towns in the world, Twon-Brass is also divided into se
ctions. However, unlike other communities Twon-Brass has no constitutional/exec
utive central head overseeing the affairs of the community. Right from remember
ed time, the various sections (Compounds, now Amas) heads are regarded as the tr
ue monarchs [of a sort of these compounds].
All various administrative, political, cultural, social, etc decisions concernin
g the various compounds were/are finally decided by the compounds’ head chiefs in
their sundry domains1. This is what experts of Twon-Brass history called Brass
ancient true federalism.
Furthermore, study of ancient documents revealed that when an issue arises, that
concerns the whole community, the five cardinal head chiefs, i.e. the supreme a
dministrative council of the town; would give the final verdict on the matter. B
ecause they were [and are still] five in number, democratic verdict was very eas
y to obtain. All the ancient treaties were signed in this way. When king Koko,
came to get fighters in Twon-Brass, the various compounds gave fighters to him b
ased on the decision taken in a meeting held by the supreme council of Brass2.
The now, famous agreement, Twon-Brass people signed with Tenecco (for the parcel
of land Agip is still using) some decades ago was only signed by [some] the sec
tional chiefs3 or their representatives.
Therefore, the full independent and sovereignty the various sectional (Polos) ch
iefs were/are still parading are [two] examples of the ancient unique administra
tive principles of Twon-Brass political system.
Thirdly, the Twon-Brass people have never stayed under/or had never been ruled b
y an-all-encompassing king before. What these people knew/knows and believed in
; is that, their sectional (compound) heads are their semi-kings. Nothing more,
nothing less. The idea of venerating their sectional heads [compound chiefs] a
s kings has eaten so deep into the pyshe of the average Brass man and woman, tha
t now they even make jest of or tease those other communities that have a centra
l executive constitutional monarch.

+The Amanyanabo concept should not be taken as the same with Ama-digi-bo. The i
deal of Ama-digi-bo was a Paleozoic tradition of Twon-Brass before the 1920s, wh
en the idea of an Amanyanabo was invented.
From the above, it is now crystal clear that when in the 1920s and 1970s, the id
ea of a central head with constitutional backing and executive powers arose; ant
agonists of this idea also raised their voices to denounce the idea in their var
S, SLAVES, ETC. This, according to the think tank(s) (of the anti-amanyanabo gr
oup) is because the idea of a central head with full sovereign powers is against
/violates the ancient cultural political system of Twon-Brass.
It is not a safe thing for historians or history writers to pass judgment/verdic
t. Therefore, this work is not interested in condemning neither the progressive
s4 nor the conservatives5 elements of the Twon-Brass central kingship issue.

In the light of the above, the suggestions herein (to my mind) will largely solv
e the lingering Amanyanabo problem that is polarizing Twon-Brass. Please we mus
t note that Amanyanabo stool is not and will never be the Sine-qua-non for progr
ess. The United States of America, Canada, the Igbos, etc. have no central exec
utive monarchy and they are some of the most developed and ancient people of the
world by modern standards/ideals/morals. Some European and Asian countries like
the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, etc. have constitutional (and executive) m
onarchs; this is good for them, because it is rooted in their culture and ways o
f development and growth. It is not compulsory that we must adopt a system that
is putting us asunder. The first class classification money/ benefits from the
Bayelsa-State Government and other benefits (prestige) are not more important t
han our unity. Our dear unity is paramount; all Brass loving people should only
emphasize issues that will unite us.
Therefore, with love to all and hatred to none; we humbly suggest that:
Firstly, as it was before 1929, the head chiefs of the five cardinal houses (com
pounds/polos) should always be the supreme administrative council.
Secondly, the chairman of the chiefs’ council (which is always one of the head chi
efs) should be our ceremonial king outside the shores of Twon-Brass (after now).
Any benefit therefore that accrues to the stool should be shared among the fiv
e houses. This should be rotational. This solution is not uncommon.
Thirdly and finally, if we must have/create a central, royal, constitutional, he
reditary-oriented and executive Amanyanabo*, (as some people believe we have now
; or we are about to have soon) we should define his/her [the king or queen] rol
es/functions/characters/ responsibilities (in a constitution or in any legal mea
ns) and make his activities purely ceremonial6 now (this can change later).

* A ceremonial Amanyanabo performs the same functions with an Ama-digi-bo. And

the people of Twon-Brass (both the diluvian people and the contemporary ones) ar
e at home with the Ama-digi-bo stool, concept and functions.
1. Until now, the extreme love for the compound head chiefs is very visible
2. This was during the Akassa War.
3. More of this in the next chapter
4. The progressives are the pro-Amayanabo group.
5. The conservatives are the anti-Amayanabo group. Who believed in maintain
ing the ancient administrative system of Brass.
6. Some Igbo communities have adopted this method and the whole idea is wor
king very well and fine for them. Examples, the Nkanu clan of Enugu State is us
ing this method.

Twon-Brass is a major and strategic town in the famous (political and geographic
al) Niger Delta zone of Nigeria. The Niger Delta is one of the largest in the w
orld; the zone is a complex and fragile wetlands and dry lands, covering about 7
0,000 square kilometers of which 20,000 are seasonally flooded zones, tidal and
swamp areas. The delta spreads across 8 of Nigeria’s 36 states, viz Delta, Bayels
a, Rivers, Imo, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Ondo and Abia.
The Niger Delta features prominently in Nigerian history and its economy. In fa
ct, the most important sub-Saharan oil and gas reserves (equivalent to at least
25 billion barrels of oil and 1000billion cubic meters of gas are located in thi
s area). Besides petroleum, the Niger Delta is endowed with immense resources,
including mangrove and tropical forests.
Because of the colossal natural resources, Providence blessed the area with, lot
s of multi-national oil companies are operating in the area. The three major mu
ltinationals operating in the Niger Delta are Shell, Agip, and Elf.
Twon-Brass, [for the past 30 years or so] has been accommodating/hosting the Nig
erian Agip Oil Company. The company is occupying more than 990.08 acres of Twon
-Brass most fertile land1. Actually, this huge land was let/ lease/ hire/ rent
out to Tenneco Oil Company of Nigeria, which sub-let the land to Agip2. How Ten
neco hired out the land to Agip is not yet known!
The Twon-Brass Agip Oil Exporting Terminal is on the Atlantic Coast, about 100km
west of Port Harcourt and 500km south-east of Lagos, the commercial capital of
Nigeria. Two and half hour’s drive from Yenagoa the Bayelsa State capital3. The c
onstruction of this Brass Terminal started in July 1971 and it began operation i
n April 1973.
The terminal comprises more than 12 tanks with an overall storage capacity of mo
re than 3 million barrels. The oil is pumped from the storage tanks through a 3
6” sea line to the locating point, which consists of a bouy capable of receiving m
ore than 250,000-ton tanks. The loading point is situated in the Atlantic Ocean
The activities of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company have attracted many other compan
ies to the town5 including now the famous Brass LNG Limited that was incorporate
d in 2003. Agip’s operations in Twon-Brass cannot be described by any observer as
encouraging. Chapter 10 will succinctly x-ray Agip’s relationship with Twon-Bras
s people.

1. See, appendix for the full terms of Agreement signed in the 70s
2. See, appendix for cases of complain against Agip on land matters
3. This is through a speedboat. There are no-motorable roads in these area
4. See, Oil Explosion in Africa. A journal published by Agip.
5. See, Chapter ten for the names of the companies.


Community Development Committee (CDC); Chiefs Council, Twon-Brass Women Associat

ion and The Youth Forum, are the major organizations/ groups that have had a tre
mendous influence on the rapid development of Twon Brass town. All indigenes of
Twon-Brass belong to one or more of the above-mentioned organizations or groups
. In this chapter, we will flash our searchlight on them and at the end of the
day; we will try as much as we can [our level best] to put them in their right p
The Chiefs Council is as old as the various traditional compounds head chiefs in
Twon-Brass. According to the Memorandum presented to the Committee on the clas
sification of traditional rulers in Bayelsa State by the general people of Twon
Brass. All political chieftaincy stools were established between the mid and th
e late nineteenth century. Therefore, the Chiefs Council Association under revi
ew started in this period.
All accepted chiefs (the chiefs are now more than 180; before 2004, the chiefs i
n the whole Twon-Brass were less than 18) of Twon-Brass are members of this Coun
cil. This Council is also the supreme Administrative Assembly of the town. In
the pre-Amanyanabo era and even now, the council’s decision on general Twon-Brass
matters is sacred. Virtually all head chiefs of Twon-Brass have been chairmen o
f this august Council at one time or the other. The chairman position is rotati
onal. In the pre-Amanyanabo era, the chairman of this eminent council was the c
eremonial king of Brass outside her shores. Besides, emergency meetings the Coun
cil members normally meet monthly.
Finally, and unfortunately the Amayanabo albatross have brought down this high-r
anking Council for the past twenty years or so.


The idea of a Community Development Committee is quite a recent development in T
won-Brass. The functions of the C.D.C. were the functions of some other moribun
d voluntary associations in Brass. The Twon-Improvement Union and Twon Planning
Committee are examples of associations that were carrying out the functions of
C.D.C. in Brass. Of all the CDCs that have existed in Brass, the one that broug
ht the idea and the value of C.D.C. to the lime-light in Twon-Brass town was the
one headed by Mr. S. D. Eke-Spiff, now a chief of Twon-Brass. However, this C.
D.C. was overwhelmed with allegetions of financial mismanagement and was dissolv
Later Mr. (now Elder or perhaps, a chief) Ernest Columbus of Sambo Compound led
the C.D.C. other executive members were: Tony Majors, vice chairman; Samson Pre
fegha, secretary; Allen Erefagha, assistant secretary; Sorboi Randy, financial s
ecretary; Inodu Omieworio, PRO; Mrs. Eneni Amada, treasurer. These members were
drawn from the various compounds of Twon-Brass. The constitutional function of
the C.D.C is the coordination of the affairs of the town. The C.D.C coordinate
s the affairs of the town; and liaise with the oil companies, etc [for the benef
it of the youths2 and other members of the community]. The C.D.C has now even
taken over the work of the Elders Council.
The pre-colonial and post-colonial history of Nigeria is dotted with a lot of wo
men influences. The legendary Sarauniya Amina of Zaria; Edeleyo of Benin; Iyayu
n of the ancient Oyo kingdom, Pupupu of Ondo; Madam Tinubu of Lagos; etcetera, a
re some of the numerous women that had left their homes to come out and say some
thing to influence the direction of their peoples’ development.
Traditionally, in the famous Niger Delta, where, Twon-Brass belongs, the role of
women is rigidly defined. Women are respected, they are adored, but their acti
vities are restricted to the four-corner of the houses/homes.
However, today the roles of women have drastically changed. Women have come out
of the homes. They are now in every organization. They have also formed their
own organizations all over the nation and the world at large.
The women of Twon-Brass have also taken up the challenges facing women as a whol
e in Twon-Brass, and have formed their own distinct association.
. . . . . . . . .
The Twon-Brass Association of women was formed about ten years ago. All Twon-Br
ass women , that can trace their histories to ancient Brass are members of this
association automatically.
The major function of the association is the improvement of the Brass women, pol
itically, socially, academically, economically and culturally. The first known
executives of the association were:
1. Mrs. Hannah Charles Deigh3 (President)
2. Eneni Amada (Vice President)
3. Tarinabo Spiff (Secretary)
4. Two members each from the various compounds4
There have been many youths’ associations in Twon-Brass. All of them shared the s
ame aims and objectives. The first known association was founded in 1973: The
Twon-Brass Planning Committee6, in 1984, Twon-Youths Club was formed7. Twon Dev
elopment Union came into being in 19858. Twon-Improvement Union was established
in the same year with the later9. Then in 1986, Twon-Brass Progressive Union w
as formed. The Twon-Brass Graduates Forum was formed [recently] in 199910.
All these organizations, associations, forums, clubs, are now, at best sleeping/
defunct. The only one in line and was fighting for the progress of Twon-Brass i
s: The Youths Forum. This association (Forum is also now moribund) was revived
by the executive (mentioned below) about five years ago. The functions of this
forum under review are the same with the above-mentioned ones: the development
of Twon-Brass, politically, structurally, academically, and economically.
The most vibrant executives of this distinguished forum were:
1. Mr. Charles Daniel11 (President)
2. Mr. Jonathan Diribodi (Secretary)
3. Mr. Ebiye Golden (PRO)
4. William Abadi (Provost)
5. Willy Trust (Treasurer)
It will be interesting to note that the Youths Forum was a non-profit making org
anization, and dues/levies are not collected from any individual or organization
. Therefore, all the achievements of this august forum were from personal effor
ts, etc of the noble executive members. The achievements of the forum are as f
1. Creation of employment opportunities and provision of information concer
ning job opportunities, with the personal efforts of the executive members, virt
ually all unemployed youths of Brass [then] learnt how to seek for employments,
on permanent or temporary basis. The forum was also instrumental to the employm
ent of the over fifteen senior staff that Agip had employed so far in the past d
ecade [before the year 2009].
2. This association has given out more than 20 primary and post primary sc
3. The total renovation of the St Barnabas Primary School was their handiwo
4. They facilitated the repairs and constructions of road networks all over
the town.
5. The last embankment of the seashore of the town was largely out of their
own effort.
6. At present, all the various compound squares have been cemented; this wa
s done because they worked to make it happen.
7. They renovated a befitting executive Secretariat for Brass Youths (it i
s now being occupied by the State Ministry of Health).
8. The last total renovation of the residence of the Magistrate.
9. The last renovation of the Brass General Hospital.
10. The improvement of the quality of the pipe borne water in Brass.
11. They were instrumental to the on-going construction of the NYSC Corpers’ L
odge, Brass.
12. The Twon-Brass Jetty was repaired in their tenure.
13. The establishment of a computer training school in Brass (this is now mo
14. Establishment of a well-equipped sewing school in Twon-Brass (this is no
w moribund).
15. They Provide Industrial Training opportunities to Twon-Brass students in
Agip and other companies. Before, this time, these kinds of opportunities were
given to only outsiders/non-Brass students.
16. Finally and most importantly, they educate the average Twon-Brass youths
to know his/her God-given rights and duties.

1. See appendix for this memorandum.
2. the truth of the matter is that, the CDC at present, is just a rubber stamp i
n Brass.
3. Mrs. Hanna C. Lawrence is one of the daughters of the renowned Late Chief C
. J. Sambo. She was instrumental to the establishment of the association. In B
rass, she is regarded as the foremost Women Rights Crusader. Her very brilliant
organizational skills are what is/are still keeping the association in the main
4. The other executive members sometimes are more than two.
5. The name is now changed to: Federated Association of Twon-Brass Youths.
6. See, appendix for the executives of this association.
7. The President of this club is/was Mr. R. C. Dokubo while the Sec. Gen. Is/was
Mr. Chris Alagoa.
8. Asst. Secretary General of this club was/is, Mr. Inatimi Cornelius while Joy
Spiff was/is the Sec. Gen.
9. Mr. N. O. Ezekiel Spiff, was/is the General Secretary.
10. Mr. Oliver Otonyo and late Temple Diete-Spiff, were/are the President and Se
cretary General respectively of this association. They are all now, senior staf
f of Agip.
11. Mr. Daniel Charles is a graduate, with an exceptional skill for Crises manag
ement. He is one of the numerous grandsons of the legendary late chief C. J. Sa
mbo of Twon-Brass.
In a previous chapter, we looked at the ancient Religious Orders of Twon-Brass.
In these pages, we will introduce the modern religions existing in Twon-Brass.
We will also elaborate on the schools: nursery, primary, and post-primary schoo
ls. Where necessary, we will make some salient points about these topics under
review herein.
There are as many as 5,000 religions in the universe. However, the major two re
ligions that are in existence/or operating in Twon-Brass are – Christianity and Is
lam. Some sects of Buddhism and Hinduism were once established in Twon-Brass1.


1. St. Barnabas Anglican Church (Protestant)2
2. The Divine Order of Cherubim and Seraphim3
3. Roman Catholic Church
4. Christ Faith Clinic
5. Deeper Life Bible Church
6. Jehovah’s Witnesses
7. Brotherhood of the Cross and Star
8. The Apostolic Church
9. Victorious Life Gospel Ministry
10. Greater Evangelism World Crusade
11. Winners Chapel
12. Glory Land4
13. Seventh Day Adventist
14. Teme-ebiye Zion Church
15. Holy Angelic Zion Church
16. The Holy Messiah Zion Church
17. Ramaselio Zion Church
18. The New Apostolic Church
19. Celestial Church of Christ*

The origin of Islam in Brass pre-dated the beginning of colonialism in Nigeria.
Because of the extra-ordinary hospitality of the people of Twon-Brass, people f
rom various places in the world enjoy staying/living in Twon-Brass.
The population of Muslims in Twon-Brass at present is more than five thousand pe
ople. They are mainly from the northern and western parts of the country. Some
Twon-Brass indigenes are also converts to this faith. The faith has a good pro
spect in Twon-Brass. At present, there is a Jumat Mosque in the town and the tr
aditional five times daily prayers are being observed by the adherents of this f
aith without molestation from any quarters.
*The number of churches is sure to increase any time. This is mainly due to the
growing cosmopolitan nature of Twon-Brass.


1. Government Secondary School (Govt.)
2. St. Barnabas Primary School5 (Govt.)
3. Uncle Sammy Nursery, Primary and Secondary school (private)
4. Commonwealth Nursery, Primary and Secondary School (Private)
5. Demepere Nursery and Primary School (Private)
6. Lady “N” Nursery and Primary School (Private)
7. Crowther Memorial Nursery and Primary School (Private).
8. Y.W.C.A. Nursery School (Missionary) (Now defunct)
9. Community Secondary School, Beliatiama6

1. In the mid eighties Hare Krishna branch was established in Brass. Some
Twon-Brass people still belong to these religions. Other movements like Eckanka
r, Grail Message etc are in Brass. Because they do not accept the name religion
, we are excluding them in this chapter.
2. The St. Barnabas church was established by Samuel Ajayi Crowther, under
the auspices of the Church Missionary Society. The church and the school were s
imultaneously established on the same date. The 25th of August, 1868. See S.
D. Eke-Spiff’s seminal work, “The Founding of a Community and the church at Twon-Bra
ss”, for a detailed history of the church.
3. This church was established 24, August 1964. This is the second oldest chur
ch in Brass.
4. The church moved from Ewo-ama to Brass, during the war between Ewo-ama and O
5. The school is now divided into school 1 and school 2. It was established the
same year with the church, 1868.
6. C.S.S. moved to Brass from Beliati-ama because of the War between Beliati-ama
and Liama.
Like every other society where human beings exist, Twon-Brass also has pockets o
f social, cultural and political clubs. This chapter will deal with these clubs
in Twon-Brass.


These clubs have a strong taste for political activities in Twon-Brass. However
, they are not exclusively political in all their activities. They sometimes go
into cultural activities. The sad fact is that at present most of these clubs o
r associations are now moribund.
1. Oceanic Foundation (formerly: triumph movement)
2. Ecomog Club (now United Club of Twon-Brass)
3. Club 17 Brothers Venture
4. Wise Foundation
5. Dollars Club
6. Don Simon Club*
7. Twon-Brass League
*We are sure that this number will increase by two fold before 2020, however als
o most of them are now defunct too
For now, there are only two main purely cultural clubs in Twon-Brass. Before, t
his time they normally display their colourful masquerades during the Xmas and t
he end-of-year/new year celebrations. However, these cultural clubs are now dyi
ng fast. They are:
1. Opu Sekia-pu (Big-dancing-cultural club). This club normally admits onl
y matured males’ achievers.
2. Kala-Sekia-pu (Small-dancing-cultural club). This club is open to every
interested male. A lot of Brass men and boys are members of this club.
3. There are also some exclusive cultural clubs for women (e.g. Adaka Ogbo)
. These clubs normally display at the end of the year like their all-male exclu
sive counterparts. They also entertain people when they are invited for occasio
ns. These clubs are now, almost extinct.
In Twon-Brass, the clubs that engage in social activities are particularly the A
ge-grades. These Age-grades are as many as the age brackets in the town. Each
Age-grade only admits members of its specified age ranges. For example, 1973-74
age grade/group only admits people from this age brackets. Both males and fema
les can belong to one grade. The Age-grades do not have definite functions, the
y go into anything they feel will bring the much needed socio-economic developme
nt to the ancient community of Twon-Brass.
1. Oceanic foundation is (now, was) the richest, the most organized, and th
e most politically shrewd club in Twon-Brass. For now, in Twon-Brass, this club
decides, who get what, when and how in the political scene of Twon-Brass. Howe
ver, the Local Government Council, they are (now, were) controlling is in a sorr
y state.

In this chapter, we will concern ourselves with the major problems Twon-Brass is
facing. And we will as patriots, give some suggestions where necessary to addr
ess the menacing problems. The issues we will review are: Nigerian Agip Oil Co
mpany’s relationship with Twon-Brass; The Twon-Brass accommodation/hosting of inte
rnally displaced people (popularly called: refugees) crises; the erosion and env
ironmental pollutions and its attendant hazards confronting the community will
also be treated.


In Chapter 6 we elaborated on the origin and the activities of Agip. In this se
ction, therefore, we will treat the hazards associated with the accommodation of
Agip and other sub-companies of the mother company (NAOC), in Twon-Brass. Befo
re, we go into the enumeration of the hazards of this company; the following are
some of the major known companies that are also operating (some have left the t
erminal after completing their various assignments) in Twon-Brass. They are all
working for NAOC.


1. Aero Contractors (Nig) Ltd. Air Transport
2. Lamalco Ltd. Maintenance Foreign
3. Teethys Diving Water Diving
4. Geofesco (Nig.) Ltd. Community Relations
5. Nesco Ltd. Const. & Maintenance
6. Trevi Ltd. Construction Foreign
7. Alcon Ltd. Tank Maint. Foreign
8. A. T. C. Maintenance Foreign
9. Makon Ltd. Meter works Foreign
10. I C C (Nig.) Ltd Corrosion Control
11. Elder Damster Agency Transport Agency
12. Gulf Agency Trans. Agency
13. Tidex (Nig.) Ltd Shipping Foreign
14. Sea Trucks Ltd River Trans. Foreign (?)
15. G. M. Motors Land Trans. Indigenous (?)
16. O. I. S. Company Ltd Oil Servicing Foreign
17. Florina Company Ltd Personnels Contract
18. Chuks Marine Water Trans Indigenous

19. Sudeletra Int. Ltd. Personnel Contract Foreign

20. Khoury Caterers Ltd.
Catering works
21. Kovic Int. Ltd Unskilled labour Contractor Indigenous
22. Zanatex Int. Ltd. Unskilled labour Contractor Indigenous
23. Demain & Demain Ent. Unskilled labour Contractor Indigenous
24. Ambis Ent. Unskilled labour Contractor Indigenous
25. Benabali & Sons Ltd. Unskilled Labour Contractors
26. Ebi-Sam Int. Coy. Unskilled Labour Contractors
27. Charles Tete Sambo Coy Ltd. Unskilled Labour Contractors
28. Jarmason Coy. Ltd. Unskilled Labour Contractors
29. Fieton Coy. Ltd. Unskilled Labour Contractors
Benmore Int. Ltd.
Labour Contractors
31. Easy Motors Road Transport
32. Industrial Medical Services
33. Charpal Ltd. Inspections Foreign
34. G. M. International Pest Control Foreign
35. Karila Motors Transport Indigenous
36. Jemacy Ltd. Tank Maint. Indigenous
37. Tassie Ent. Grass Cutting Indigenous
38. Aye-o-Ben Ent. Unskilled Labour Contractors
39. Edward Ent. Unskilled Labour Contractors
40. Advance Coating
41. Marcom Ltd. Unknown Foreign
42. Mangrove Ltd Maintenance Foreign
43. Plangeria Construction Foreign
44. Baun Ltd (?) (?)
Some of the companies that are operating in the Twon-Brass Agip’s terminal are cla
ndestine in nature and functions as well. Therefore, the name, works/functions
and statues are secretive. In addition, many companies are coming in to the ter
minal monthly. Some also, are on a temporary basis. The numbers of companies,
however, always increase.
1. Environmental Hazards: Water pollution, Air pollution, Soil pollution,
Deforestation, Erosion, etc. The operations of these companies produce all thes
e pollutions, daily.
*Nigerian Agip Oil Company (Nig.) Ltd (Sometimes called Agip or NAOC in Africa)
is a branch of the famous Italian Eni Group of companies. Agip came to Nigeria
in the late 50s.
2. Human Resources Hazards: A lot of Brass men [and women] that work for t
hese companies are under paid, but they are seriously exploited. Also in the ev
ent of any on-the-job accidents, most of the companies have no provisions for he
alth care or insurance for the personnel involved, mostly those working on tempo
rary bases.
3. Occupational Hazards: Majority of Brass men and women are fisherfolks.
However, due to the excessive water pollution, fishing has become a gain-less o
ccupation. The mangrove forest is also a source of livelihood before, but now m
assive deforestation of the forest has rendered the people’s source of livelihood
4. Erosion: Waves induced erosion is a major problem in the town. Day in,
day out, Agip’s big vessels are transporting heavy machines, to and from their va
rious bases via the Brass River. These frequent movements always cause heavy art
ificial waves that wash the Brass seashore soil away1.
5. Illegitimate and Abandoned Children: Agip’s and other companies personnel
(mostly white men) have abandoned and still are abandoning most of the childre
n oil-producing communities’ women delivered/have for them2. Before this time, th
is act was an exceptional case, but now, it has become the order of the day phen
omenon. And the negative psychological cum economic effects of this oil-compani
es staffers’ atrocity in these areas [the crude oil bearing/producing communities
in Africa including Brass] cannot be quantified.
6. Brutalization and Killing of Twon-Brass Youths: Because of the almost u
nholy activities of these companies, they are using the Nigerian Military men to
guard their personnel when doing their works. These Military men are commanded
to kill anybody that dares to speak against the unholy activities of these comp
anies (this was before the advent of militancy in the Niger-Delta). Because of
this order, some of the military men (then) enjoy brutalizing and killing [of Tw
on-Brass Youths, etc]. Some years ago, these military men gunned down three you
ths of Brass community, during a peaceful demonstration against Agip. The cause
of the demonstration was the seashore erosion problem of Brass3. However, Agip
has embanked/sea-walled half of the shoreline [mostly for itself] of the Brass
River now.
We cannot mention all the fiendish activities oil companies and other multi-nati
onals are committing in the Niger Delta (Twon-Brass in this case, see appendix f
or more details). Our politicians, chiefs, elders, governments, youths, etc are
mealy-mouthed in this matter. However, they all know that these abominable, un
holy, noxious operations of the oil companies etc are huge hazards to the people
. At this juncture, it will be beneficiary to reveal the powers and influence o
f these multinationals. Experts on inner-working systems of multinationals in Af
rica have revealed that multinationals (mostly oil companies) are parallel gover
nments in most African nations. They {can} make and unmake governments in their
areas of operations, this they do with the active collaborations with their hom
e countries’ governments. Presidents Salvador Allende, Patrice Lumumba, Mr. Ken S
aro Wiwa, Chief MKO Abiola, etc are examples of victims of multinationals power-
play in black Africa4 and other continents.
Therefore, one of the most peaceful sets of people in the Niger Delta (i.e. Twon
-Brass people) cannot really cross-sword with these multinationals operating in
their God-given fertile land. Some few years ago, the people came out to denoun
ce the atrocities of these companies and they were inhumanly and banefully massa
cred, while our so-called government (then) just stood some few miles away watch
ing. However, we believe that, one day the bird called “Oil Companies” will come ho
me to roost. And that sunny day Twon-Brass men and women will triumph. The oil
companies and their internal collaborators will be put to shame on that fateful


Twon-Brass is known to be one of the most peaceful towns in the whole of the oil
rich, Niger Delta. Twon-Brass people are not interested in any of the inter an
d intra communal clashes that are now engulfing the whole of the decimated Niger
Delta region. However, the town had and is still suffering the by-products of
these, mostly senseless wars. The community is now a refugee camp of a sort for
communal wars victims.
In 1992 and 1997 the Ogbolomabiri and Basambiri conflicts brought internally dis
placed people (locally called: refugees) to Twon-Brass in their hundreds. Immed
iately, after the Nembe refugees were accommodated, the Beletiema, Liama and Igb
abele crisis started. This war supplied Twon-Brass with another set of refugees
; Twon-Brass accepted them. In 1990 and 1998, the Egweama and Okpoma conflicts
with their neighbours produced many refugees to Brass. At present, more than 80
per cent of the Ewoama people are living in Twon-Brass. In the later part of 2
001, the Akassa and Egweama conflict erupted. Refugees came from both sides and
resided in Twon-Brass.
Due to the characteristic generosity and hospitality of the Twon-Brass men and w
omen, the whole of the Imbikiri5 and the market square sections of Twon-Brass ar
e now internally displaced (refugee) camps since then for these our brothers who
were displaced by the above-mentioned conflicts.
The act of happily accommodating and helping victims of intra and inter conflict
s/wars is a highly commendable act all over the world. However, one major stand
ard of internally displaced people/refugees’ management is that, all refugees must
be duly registered6. The people of Twon-Brass, did not/do not register these i
nternally displaced people/refugees; this mistake may (it has actually started a
ffecting) affect the next generations of pure Twon-Brass people that are unaware
of these crises in details. At present, it is becoming increasingly difficult t
o identify a true Twon man and woman because most of these internally displaced
people that we accommodated [and are still accommodating] are now claiming to be
true Brass people.

1. See appendix for details
2. Most of these women are in most cases legally married by these companies’
staffers. However, when they are leaving the town they will abandon the wife or
wives and children. The towns around Twon-Brass also suffered from this child-
abuse phenomenon.
3. The brutalization and killing of Niger Delta Youths by the Federal Gover
nment Military men that were/are deployed to supervise/ guard the multinational
oil exploitation activities in the Niger Delta zones are becoming an everyday pa
st time for these military men. Odi, Elelenwo, Ogoni, etc are examples of areas
that have suffered the gruesome activities of these military men. See, “Okwurume
, The Biography of Chief Eric Aso,” by Solomon Ogwutum. See, also, “A month And A D
ay”. By Ken Saro-Wiwa.
4. For detailed Information, see,
a. “How Europe Under-developed Africa”, by Walter Rodney
b. “Imperialism And Dependency”, by Daniel Offiong
c. “Africa Must Unite”, by Kwame Nkrumah.
d. “Neo-Colonialism: The Last State of Imperialism”, by Kwame Nkrumah.
e. “Insider Magazine”, July Issues, 2001
5. The Imbikiri (Palm Kernel village) was a very famous palm oil and other
European goods business center, in the late seventeen and eighteen centuries. L
ater the Europeans during and after the Akassa war occupied this place. The col
onial government also made the place their site for the administration of the zo
nes. At present, fisher folks from other villages and internally displaced/ ref
ugees reside in this section.
6. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), always duly reg
ister refugees and internally displaced persons/peoples before settling them in
another country(ies) or communities. This is done mainly to prevent further cri
ses between the refugees and the natives of the host communities; because, in mo
st cases these refugees will not go back to their homeland totally, even if ther
e is peace in their homeland. The other reason for the registration is that; in
future the refugees’ children later will not claim to be indigenes of these host
nations, thereby starting another chain of land disputes in these countries. Th
is can also be applicable to town and villages like Twon-Brass etc that are acco
mmodating inter and intra communal clashes refugees.
It is my considered opinion that Twon-Brass is a community that, Providence has
supplied all their needs for today and for our tomorrow. Our celebrated ancesto
rs have largely bequeathed to us good foundations to start to make our voyage to
the not-too-far land of milk and honey. The Twon-Brass men and women are with
what it will take to make the voyage that is difficult for other communities to
embark smoothly. Our ancestors of blessed memories, unlike others, had construc
ted for us the ship we need for the voyage. They used the strongest and toughes
t woods of the mangrove forest to build this ship, for us. Now the ship is read
y, but we are still sleeping. Others are struggling to build their ship; some a
re eyeing our own well-built ship.
It is time to take our ship and start the voyage. Our ancestors-built-ship is o
ur right. Our duty is just to enter this ship and start the voyage. The captai
n and the navigator are waiting for us. If we do not wake up from our slumber,
start the voyage, and allow others to start before us, posterity i.e. our childr
en, our children’s children, etc will level our graves. They will say: we are no
t fit to be buried in Twon-Brass soil. Can we move now?




We the undersigned, for and on behalf of our people of Twon-Brass hereby forward
this Memorandum to the Rivers State government with the earnest hope that it wi
ll look into our complaint.
1. That Twon-Brass is a town with War Canoe chieftaincy houses which were e
stablished, functioning and recognized by the government since the 19th century.
2. That Twon-Brass, the Headquarters of Brass division had an Amanyanabo wh
ose stool became vacant after the death of the late Chief Samuel Ashton Arisimo
3. That there are six chieftaincy houses in Twon-Brass and these are:
1. Cameron
2. Sambo
3. Spiff
4. Shidi
5. James Spiff
6. Kemmer
4. That the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass was in charge of
1. Twon
2. Gbobokiri(Spiff Twon)
3. Kemmer town
4. Ekperikiri
5. Imbikiri
6. Consulate
7. Twon Kubo
8. Agip settlement.
5. It is a historical fact that all ancient treaties were signed by the chi
efs of Twon-Brass.
6. That the chiefs of Twon-Brass are members of Brass Divisional council.
7. No consideration: It was surprising to observe that Dr. Tamuno’s Community
had made no considerations for the existing Chieftaincies of Twon Brass.
8. The Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass: The people of Twon are further surprised t
hat there was also no consideration for the Amanyanabo of Twon. In the circumsta
nces, we as loyal citizens of Rivers’ State, humbly appeal to the government of Ri
vers State to look into this matter of commission from the Dr. Tamuno’s Committee,
and important town like Twon-Brass.
(a) A case for the recognition of the stool of Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, as
a first class traditional ruler in line with his counterparts in other parts of
the State.
(b) A case for the recognition of stools of five(5) Community Heads in Twon-
Brass, as a second class in line with similar positions in other parts of the st
Twon, otherwise known as Brass in Official records, is the Principal Town in the
New Brass Local Government Area; other towns being, Okpoama, Odioma, Akassa, th
e cape Formosa towns etc. Twon has always had an Amanyanabo who exercises Tradit
ional authority over the Metropolis and all associated villages, satellite towns
and settlements including the following: SHIDIAMA, CAMERON AMA, SAMBO AMA, ORUW
ARIKIRI (KEMMER TOWN) and GBOBOKIRI (ADA-SPIFF TOWN). Each of these five units i
s headed by a Paramount Chief, and all these units come under the direct jurisdi
ction of the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, who is the SUPREME and traditionally ackn
owledged the RULER and head of the entire communities. Suffice it to say that th
e paramount chiefs of the five major units also command a large share of authori
ty for which each of these units or the community head, rightly deserves classif
ication as a SECOND CLASS CHIEF by the State Government (emphasis mine). Thus wh
ereas the seat of power of these five (5) major units is Twon-Brass, namely: (i)
Shidi Ama
(ii) Cameron Ama
(iii) Sambo Ama, (iv) Oruwarikiri or Kemmer town (v) Gbobokiri or Ada-Spiff; eac
h of these five units has satellite towns and villages and settlements headed by
chiefs and elders answerable satellite towns like Ekpeikiri, Sabatoru etc; Shid
i Ama has Kalaorubou etc; whilst Cameron Ama and Sambo Ama have satellite towns
like Imbikiri and Twonkubu etc, respectively. These satellite towns and settleme
nts declared above owe allegiance to their Paramount Rulers in Twon-Brass.
Twon itself is an ancient town whose existence predates a number if towns in the
entire BAYELSA STATE, the stools of which have since been recognized by previou
s administrations in the old set-up. Apart from this, Twon has several times bef
ore, been the seat of Administration of a large territory bordering on the lower
Niger in the consular era. It had also served as Divisional Headquarters not on
ly during colonial times but also for Regional and State Administrations. And ap
propriately, Twon has acquired, in recent times, even greater strategic importan
ce since the sitting of the Oil Terminal of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd.,
which also has attracted many Oil Serving Companies in the area. Consequently, t
he town has expanded considerably in terms of population and physical developmen
t, largely because of the oil and related activities in the area- activities whi
ch are gradually being expanded to, and attracting several federal government in
All of these developments in Twon-Brass coupled with its regained status and fun
ctions of the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, to warrant a SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR
ER, We also deem it necessary to demand the classification of the five(5) paramo
itively effective role to back the Amanyanabo in rulership.
In terms of importance, status and geographical spread, the Amanyanabo Twon-Bras
s stands and commands a rating at least equal to, if not, in many respects, weig
htier than some of the other traditional rulers already accorded such recognitio
n by previous Administrations. We do not wish to bother the Committee in this ne
w state with references to our experiences in the past, whereby chieftaincy revi
ews appears to have not recognized the anomaly of failing to give this due recog
nition of classifying the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass as a first class Traditional
ruler, and his five paramount chiefs as named above, as second class traditional
rulers. We are happy to have this opportunity to again submit this memorandum,
which reflects the views of the entire communities (including the Amanyanabo Chi
efs, Elders and People), to enable the panel examine the issue objectively and t
ake positively appropriate decision on this matter.
It is, perhaps, relevant to point out that one paramount chief in the whole Bras
s Local Government Area that has a semblance of recognition. And that is the sto
ol of Amanyanabo of Akassa, classified the recognition we demand, taking into co
nsideration historical facts, the area of jurisdiction, the antiquity of the sto
ol which was established in the late 18th century, and the obvious demand of exp
ansion and developmental responsibilities that may be thrust on the stool. The s
ame considerations apply to the other five (5) paramount rulers of the five (5)
units whose stools were established in the early 19th century see annexure.
Furthermore, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass HRS SERIYSI II is present playing a ve
ry important role in the OIL POLITICS of the entire country, and Twon-Brass in p
articular, having regard to his regular interactions with the Nigerian Agip Oil
Company, operating within his traditional area of jurisdiction. Even on this sco
re, the appropriate recognition is vital to give the Amanyanabo the necessarily
additional leverage to move the powerful oil Barons to become more involved with
the community development activities. The Amanyanabo, has in addition, made sig
nificant contributions to the realization of the dreams of the entire people of
Bayelsa State in its creation, and is coming to play, a sustainable role in the
efforts to develop the State.

In view of the above considerations, we the undersigned (Chiefs, Elders and oth
ers) representing the entire Twon Communities strongly recommend that the AMANYA
R, like his counterparts in other parts of the state.
Similarly, THE PARAMOUNT CHIEFS OF THE FIVE (5) LARGE UNITS, which form Twon-Bra
ss, be equally recognized and classified as SECOND CLASS CHIEFS: see annexure
1. …………………………….. 2……………………………..
3……………………………… 4……………………………..
5……………………………… 6……………………………..
7……………………………… 8……………………………..
9……………………………… 10…………………………….

With reference to the decision of the people of Twon-Brass, at the Mass meeting
of the 18th May 1974, at Opupolotiri, copy attached, the qualified houses are he
reby called upon-under stage 1, of the appointment procedure details to nominate
the candidate of their choice in readiness for the Mass Meeting of the 22nd Jun
Let it be noted that each of the houses qualified , are at liberty to nominate m
ore than one candidate, should there arise any case for the same, and it is expe
cted that every house will co-operate effectively, in the interest of the progre
ss of our land of birth.
General Secretary.

Dear Sir,
We are all witnesses to the act of neglect, oppression and disrespect perpetrate
d to Twon. Governments, Governmental organizations, neighbouring towns and commu
nities and even individuals are the culprits in the perpetration of these heinou
s acts.
Since you are no doubt not unaware of these acts and their culprits, it would no
t have been necessary to mention them but to leave no doubts in your minds for t
he purpose of this letter, it is not out of place if we remind ourselves of a fe
w and perhaps the most recent of them.
In 1976, just before the introduction of local government reforms, the head of s
tate held series of consultations with traditional rulers from all over the coun
try. The Brass Local Government Area and indeed Twon was conspicuously absent fr
om such meetings, and no one as much as raised a voice in protest.
The Brass Local Government which had its head quarters in at Twon has recently t
ransferred it to Nembe. Since even the divisional office has: in the past had th
e singular privilege of being transferred to and from Brass as and when certain
individuals desired, everyone remained silent at the decision to transfer the Lo
cal Government Headquarters.
The recent unprovoked action of the police in Twon against students of the Gover
nment Secondary school is another action by a government organization which has
provoked indignation. The intransigence of the police when Twon chiefs intervene
d in the matter is another exhibition of disrespect for the natural rulers of ou
r homeland.
The actions and attitudes of some of the neighbouring towns towards Twon cannot
be an oversight when discussing disrespect and spite for our chiefs and elders.
Often times, claims have been made by such neighbours for our land, often our ri
ghts have been violated and calculated acts amounting to provocation have been d
irected towards us.
In the face of these acts, we have remained calm and silent, in the face of thes
e acts, we have reacted with maturity and with indifference avoiding protest and
litigations. Our indifference has saved us a lot of unnecessary steam, protests
and litigations but not without a price so costly to us-our land is plundered f
or the benefit of others and the citizens suffer les of regard and respect.
It is the opinion of my union that we have taken enough of the insults and disho
nour and therefore a stop must be put to it. We should as from now assert oursel
ves in our proper place and position. We will only respect and honour those who
reciprocate such honour and respect. This however we cannot do unless we are abl
e to speak with one voice and work together. As a now my union sees us as a peop
le without a leader not united in any form, in order to achieve this much needed
unity and so speak with one voice and work together for our progress, we need a
leader, an Amanyanabo (emphasis mine).
While assuring you of both financial and moral support of my union in this matte
r, your sincere co-operation and early reply to this letter are also expected.
Yours faithfully,
Honorary secretary.

As you were aware no doubt, the above ceremony commences on the 1st of December,
1978, and it entails several other things hinging mainly on finances.
There are a lot of ornamental requirements of the Amanyanabo’s regalia during thes
e three days, such as Coral Beads, Eagle Feathers, Ikagibara and a brass spear w
hich will be used as a staff. Leopard teeth also of these, we have been able to
make available the required number of Coral Beads, a set of Ikagibara and the Ea
gle feathers. We still need another set of brass spear and about three leopard t
Since there is no handy imprest account of town, we are sending the bearer Miss
Christina Charles to you, so that you can arrange to provide her money to buy th
ese items at Port Harcourt.
Secondly, according to tradition, these three days will be a period of merry-mak
ing, drinking and dancing. This again brings us back to finance. These dances mu
st be organized by people with money and therefore the time too. Your presence a
t home for at least days before the 1st of December is therefore very necessary.
And since the community cannot contribute any money from now and the 30th Novem
ber, it has become imperative that the long standing withdrawal; form of N 2000
be cashed if it is still presentable. Well, we hope you will know the best line
of action……


Dear Sir,
There will be a monster mass meeting of Twon people Chiefs, Elders, young men an
d women on Sunday, the 18th of May 1974, at Opupolitiri at 4pm to discuss the de
tails as worked out by the Twon Planning Committee in connection with the above
issue, which had been agitating the minds of the people for a very long time now
It must be made abundantly clear here and now that the Twon Planning Committee d
oes not intend to assume the position of king makers in Twon-Brass, neither it h
as interest in the usurping the rights to the rights of the chiefs of the land,
but the committee is fully committed to working out the necessary details, so th
at the dreams for the people of an Amanyanabo of Twon, will really come true.
This is the mandate given to the Twon Planning committee by the people of Twon B
rass, at two consecutive mass meetings held in January, 1974.
Therefore, we seize this opportunity to advise that we sink all differences (if
only for this matter) and work sincerely together to put Twon on the map.
Fellow townsmen and women, it is now or never, so please co-operate.
Yours faithfully,
Twon Planning Committee
A.T. Amiebi: Gen. Secretary.


The appointment procedure is divided into three stages:-
Stage 1: Writing to advise those houses that are qualified, to make their respec
tive nominations within their folds, that is, their choice of candidate in the h
ouse. The selection or nomination among members of the house will take a period
of about one month.
Stage 2:- Presentation of nominated candidates of the houses concerned, to a mas
s meeting at Opupolotiri will be on the 22nd day of June, 1974.
The mass meeting will then proceed to vote for the candidate of their choice for
the post of Amanyanabo of Twon, Brass
The period between stages 2 and 3 will be, arrangements and preparations, these
include:- (a) Financial arrangements towards the Amanyanabo’s coronation dress.
(b) A temporary palace
(c) Remuneration for the Amanyanabo and
(d) Celebration arrangements
Stage 3: Coronation of the Amanyanabo. The date for the coronation will depend m
ainly on how soon the preparatory arrangements are concluded.
The above details were worked out and presented by the Twon planning committee,
to mass meeting of chiefs, elders, young men and women, held o Saturday, the 18t
h day of May 1974 at Opupolitiri, Twon Brass, under the chairmanship of Chief F.
G. Sambo, and supported by Chief R.B. George Sambo, Deputy Chief Festus Prefegha
(spiff), Deputy Chief F.K. Sambo, Deputy chief Olali O. Amangi, Mr. Simeon Oli
ver, Mr. Iwo Otuka, and Mr. Simeon Kemmer.
Dated 18th May 1974.
A.T. Amiebi
General Secretary


A CIRCULAR 1979. By Twon Planning Committee
Dear Sir,
I have been directed to inform you that the following rates of levy have been ap
proved to carry us through the above celebration, the date of which will be anno
unced later:-
1. Chiefs
2. Deputy Chiefs
3. Male elders
4. Young men
5. Young women
6. Female Elders
Please take note that you are at liberty to pay more than your rate if you so wi
sh and all payments should be made to Chief (Dr.) M.I.W. Kemmer, at No.144 Victo
ria Street, Port Harcourt.
Yours Faithfully
A.T. Amiebi
Your Highness,
There is a rumour now in town that, Chief F.F Sambo and his disgruntled clique a
re planning to install someone, most likely Mr.Lucky Efebo, Supt. of Police, as
their Amanyanabo on Saturday, 16th Dec. 1978. How far this rumour is reliable c
annot be determined now. We do not want to take chances, hence this letter. I wa
s therefore directed by the caretaker committee to write to your Highness and yo
ur local Chiefs this hint so that the rumour could be carefully investigated at
Port Harcourt, and work out appropriate measures to halt same.
We at this end will look at such a move, as an attempt to disturb the peace in y
our town.
We hope the situation will be taken care of.
I remain to be Your Highness’ humble servant,
A.T. Amiebi


Our attention has been drawn to public notice published in the Nigerian Tide of
5th January, 1979.
While we would have liked to dismiss the matter as thoughts coming from weak and
feeble minds, it behoves us to put the records right as to inform the general p
His Highness A.P. Diete- Spiff was duly installed Amanyanabo of
Twon-Brass on Saturday the 4th of November, 1978 at the Opupolotiri (ceremonial
ground for the entire Brass community. He was chalked and knocked on the 14th N
ovember, and completed the Era-Suo ceremonies by the 4th December, 1978. The cor
onation will take place on the 14th of April, 1979.
Diete is the son of Seriyai who is of the Shidi house of Brass. His Highness is
and illustrious descendant of Shidi and ascends the throne in the name of Shidi
Be it known to the general reading of the public and for records purposes.
For and behalf of the chiefs of Brass.
Dated at Brass this day of January, 1979.


We the undersigned declarants, natives of Twon Brass in the Brass Local Governme
nt Area of the Rivers State and members of the Traditional Royal Houses of Twon
Brass, residing at Port Harcourt, for ourselves and on behalf of the entire memb
ers of the Royal Houses, being Nigerian citizens, do hereby swear on OATH and de
clare as follows:-
1. that we belong to the traditional Royal Houses of Twon Brass
2. That at the moment, the Royal throne of Amanyanabo of Twon Brass is vaca
nt, the last incumbent- His Royal Highness Austen Arisimo Sambo- having died six
teen years ago.
3. that for the four main chieftaincy units that make up Twon Brass, only t
hree original units are Royal Houses, namely- Chief Cameron, Chief Sambo, and Ch
ief Alex Shidi while the remaining one, namely Chief Ada Spiff who came from Nem
be to Twon Brass as a refugee in 1872 is a non-Royal unit and so not entitled to
produce an Amanyanabo.
4. that a recent mass meeting held on 30/9/78, a decision was taken to appo
int an incumbent on 4/11/78 to fill the vacant stool of Amanyanabo of Twon Brass
and a Committee, which was set up to draw constitution for the appointment of A
manyanabo, was empowered to receive nominations from all the Royal Houses on beh
alf of Twon council of Chiefs and Elders.
5. That a meeting of Twon Council of Chiefs and Elders was scheduled to hol
d on Saturday the 28/10/78 to screen the nominations and look into other details
before the actual selection day of 4/11/78 but this meeting was not convened by
the Ag. Secretary, who happens to come from the non-royal unit of Chief Ada Spi
ff, and all efforts by the Council’s chairman to convene the meeting on other days
between the 28/10/78 and 4/11/78 were successfully foiled by the Ag. Secretary
to the effect that the Council had no opportunity of looking into the final deta
ils before the selection day of 4/11/78.
6. that on the selection day of 4/11/78, the whole town assembled at the To
wn Square and the chiefs announced postponement of the occasion for the first ti
me because the preliminaries had not been completed and secondly because the Chi
efs wanted to first bury their colleague Chief H.N. Ada Spiff ( the then Head of
Chief Ada Spiffs House), whose corpse was lying at the time but this rant into
an organized vehement opposition from those who had by this time conspired to ap
point Mr. Alfred Diete-Spiff as Amanyanabo and the chiefs, ultimately yielding i
nnocently to this organized pressure, asked for the list of nominations from the
Committee in order proceed.
7. that on receiving the nomination papers, the chiefs found to their disma
y the name of ex governor Diet-Spiff, who is traceable only by his grand father,
Diete Spiff, to the non-royal unit of Chief Ada Spiff (his mother comes from Ch
ief Amain’s house of Ogbolomabiri, (Nembe), as a candidate sponsored by Chief Shid
i’s house contrary to our customary laws and tradition.
8. that this was promptly pointed out by the Chairman of Twon council of Ch
iefs and Elders, who chairmaned the occasions, and Chief Shidi and chief Shidi w
as asked to explain the anomaly but this was not forthcoming, instead the place
was becoming rowdy with the organized group yelling “this is not necessary, this i
s not necessary” and the chiefs then left the place after formally announcing post
ponement of the occasion but those who had planned to overthrow the hereditary h
eirs stubbornly sat back without authority and pretended to select Mr. Alfred Di
ete-Spiff as Amanyanabo of Twon Brass in complete disregard for and in direct vi
olation of Twon tradition and custom.
9. That but for restraint applied by the chiefs, there could have been a br
each of the peace at Twon Brass, restraint which the chiefs have continued to ap
ply in the face of subsequent continued provocation.
10. that Mr. Alfred Diete-Spiff is not, as some people ignorantly claim, an
off sheet of Seriyai (who was once Regent of Twon Brass) but the truth is that M
r. Alfred Diete-Spiff’s great grandfather, Amabebe of Nembe was Seriyai’s son-in-law
by his marriage to his daughter Karimain, the mother of Mr. Donkubo Amabebe; sh
e was not the mother of Diete-Spiff (ex governor Spiff’s grandfather) but Diete-Sp
iff( who should rightly be Diete Amabebe) was only a second son born to Amabebe
by second wife named OWEI which clearly shows that Mr. Alfred Diete-Spiff has no
connection whatsoever with Seriyai’s family.
11. that since there is no provision in our customary laws and tradition for
a Royal House to borrow candidate even from another royal house, Chief Shidi’s ho
use cannot sponsor Mr. Alfred Diete-Spiff and so his so-called selection as Aman
yanabo of Twon Brass is null and void and of no effect.
12. that as far as we are concerned, the appointment of Amanyanabo of Twon B
rass remains postponed as announced by the chiefs on the said occasion on the 4/
11/78 and a proper Amanyanabo will be appointed in due course only in accordance
with the tradition and customary laws of Twon Brass when details shall have bee
n worked out.
13. that in view of the foregoing, any action from any quarters to parade or
present Mr. Alfred Diete-Spiff as Amanyanabo of Twon Brass is not only a traves
ty of Twon Brass traditional custom but a calculated attempt to engender strife
and arouse passion in the town.
14. that copies of this sworn affidavit be served on the Head of State Oluse
gun Obasanjo for his information, the Military Administrator of Rivers State for
his information, the Commissioner for Local Government for his information, the
Rivers State Commissioner of Police for his information and attention, the Chie
f Justice of Rivers State for his information, the Nembe Council of Chiefs for t
heir information, Chief Benjamin Abali-Shidi ( Head of Chief Shidi’s House), Chief
Israel William Kemmer (Head of Chief William Kemmer sub Oruwari House) and the
Divisional Police Officer of Brass for his information and attention.
15. AND THAT WE make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing same
to be true and absolutely correct to the best of our knowledge by virtue of the
provisions of the OATHS EDICTOF 1969
………. …………Chief E.D.U. Opuene (Declarant)
…………………… Chief N.D. Ngeri-Waribuge (Declarant)
……………………Mr. A. Berenengia (Declarant)
……………………Mr. V.A. Irue (Declarant)
………………… Mr. C.D. Clement (Declarant)
Sworn to at the Chief Magistrate’s Court Registry

This Indenture is made the twenty day of February. One thousand nine hundred and
f themselves and the chiefs, elders and people of Twon Brass in the Brass divisi
on of the Rivers State of Nigeria (hereinafter called “the lessors” which expression
shall where the context admits, so include their heirs, executors and assigns)
of the one part and TENNECO OIL COMPANY OF NIGERIA an unlimited liability compan
y incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and having its
registered office at 8/10 Yakubu Gowon Street, Lagos (hereinafter called “the less
ee” which expression shall where the context so admits include its successors in t
he title liquidators and assigns) of the other part…
WHEREAS the Lessors are the owners in fee simple absolute in possession free fro
m all encumbrances of ALL THE area of land comprising 990.08 acres situated at T
won Brass Division of Rivers State which with the boundaries abuttal approaches
appurtenances and measurements there is of more particularly shown and delineate
d on the Three plans hereto annexed and marked;………………..
1. Plan No. ESH, 415 dated 28th March 1966 comprising 670.1 acres (hereinaf
ter called “the first parcel of land”)…
2. Plan No. ISH, 440 dated 16th March 1967 comprising 94.18 acres (hereinaf
ter called the “the second parcel of land”)…
3. Plan No. ISH, 527 dated 31st May 1967 comprising 225.8 acres (hereinafte
r called “the third parcel of land”)…
AND WHEREAS the Lessors have agreed with the Lessee to lease it ALL THAT area co
mprised in the first, second and third parcels of land aforesaid for a term of f
ifty years from the twenty-third day of November One thousand nine hundred and s
eventy at a yearly rent of FIVE POUNDS per acre (subject to the other terms of t
his lease as hereinafter mentioned) and subject to the performance and observanc
e of the covenants and conditions on the part of the Lessee hereinafter reserved
and contained…..
1. IN PURSUANCE of the said agreement IN CONSIDERATION of the payment of th
e rent hereinafter reserved and the covenants conditions and agreements on the p
art of the Lessee hereinafter contained the Lessors are beneficial owners hereby
demise unto the Lessee ALL THAT area of land comprising 990.08 acres situated a
t Twon Brass in Brass Division of Rivers State made up of the first parcel of la
nd together with the second parcel of land together with the third parcel of lan
d and more particularly shown and delineated on Plan No. ISH. 527 hereto annexe
d (hereinafter called “the demised land”) TO HOLD the same unto the Lessee for a ter
m of FIFTY YEARS from the Twenty third day of November One thousand nine hundred
and seventy and yielding and paying therefore a yearly total rent…(subject to the
terms of this lease as hereinafter mentioned) of FOUR TOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND
Payable as to the sum of twenty four thousand seven hundred and fifty two pounds
representing rent for the first five year period up to the twenty third day of
November one thousand nine hundred and seventy five on or before the execution t
hereof ( receipt whereof the Lessors now acknowledge) and thereafter every two y
ears in advance on or before the Twenty third day of November in each alternate
year affixed the day and year first above written


Witness: D.R. TAMUNO
Address: Divisional Office
Occupation: Asst. Divisional Officer


Name Chief NICHOLAS ALEXANDER SPIFF in the presence of S.D. EKE SPIFF
Witness: S.D. EKE SPIFF
Address: MIL Surveyor Office, Port Harcourt
Occupation: permanent secretary
Name Chief CHRISTOPHER DICK NGERI SAMBO in the presence of
Address: Divisional Office Brass
Occupation: Civil Servant


Name Chief BEN ABALI SHIDI in the presence of
Address: P.O. Box 1, Twon Brass
Occupation: Retired Fire Officer
THE COMMON SEAL of the within-named Lessee
Unto affixed in the presence of
Directors-signed for the company
I consent to the transaction herein contained
The Terminal Superintendent,
Nigerian Agip Oil Company,
Brass Terminal,
Dear Sir,
We the sons and daughters of Twon (Brass) your host community in the Balga Area
of the Rivers State wish to bring to your notice the degree of wanton neglect an
d continued acts of destruction of your company has perpetrated on the citizens
and the geographical environment of the Twon landscape.
2. You would recollect that in the original arrangement signed between the na
tives and Tenneco (your predecessor), it was agreed amongst other things that th
e following benefits and assistants could accrue to the community as a result of
your sitting your oil company there :
1. Employment
2. Scholarships
3. Constructions of Roads
4. Provision of electricity and water supply
5. Prevention of erosion
3. But regrettably, although it is now almost a decade since you took over, ther
e seems to be a blunt refusal on your part to honour or implement any of the ten
ancy accord mentioned in paragraph 2 above. Rather, your company has added insul
t to injury by increasing the rate of erosion as a result of the canal you have
dug. The result is that, your presence in Brass which everybody thought was a bl
essing and was duly accepted with pomp and pageantry as is the case with all oth
er host communities to oil companies without exception, is today not only becomi
ng a curse but a threat to the existence of Brass a place are occupied by indige
nous community of human beings. In fact, it has become a singular act of oppress
ion and exploitation: first of its kind in independent Nigeria. Much as we do no
t intend to show any acts of disrespect nor express ourselves in immodest langua
ge, you, as the resident manager of Agip in Brass will agree that the quiet and
peace loving nature of the Brass people which has not allowed them to confront y
ou all these years is now embarrassing the youth and the generation yet unborn.

4. Sir, we are therefore forced to come to you this morning to hand over to yo
u peacefully, but with every sincerity and determination this humble petition an
d also to express ourselves in unequivocal terms that if Agip should be allowed
to exist as bonafide landlord to AGIP and should therefore you dug the canal. In
a word, besides the amenities in the agreement, we want you to make an immediat
e restitution by building a seawall on the town foreshore including the other ba
nk of your canal. There is no gain saying that if your company AGIP has not come
to Brass, surely we could not have lost our soil, including the graves of our f
orefathers to the sea through erosion at this rate.
5. We therefore request that as you turn your back to us with this petition in
your hands and as you go to your office, you should call for the agreement, con
fer with your Headquarters, refer to your records and answer for yourself the fo
llowing questions: since your company was established in Brass,
1. How many Scholarships have you offered to Brass sons and daughters?
2. How many employments of menial jobs like, labourers, cleaners, messenger
s, clerks and others, capable of being done without formal training have you giv
en to Brass sons and daughters. Also find out how many such jobs have been given
to people from outside the Brass for flimsy undefendable excuses coined to suit
the evil desires of the officers placed in position of employment in your compa
3. How many kilometres of roads have you constructed for the community. Als
o ask yourself whether or not your vehicles drive into town and cause pot-holes
which are fast becoming lakes.
4. How many borrow pits have you covered back or made efforts to check over
flooding their environment
5. What efforts you have made to answer the Communities appeals, in all for
ms that you should liaise with the utilities board to give light and water to th
e town as in the case with Bonny and Shell BP, not to talk if other towns outsid
e the State.
6. Sir, we do not intend to embarrass you with an unexhaustive list of fail
ures and lack of any forms of interest in the welfare of human beings but we onl
y want to emphasize that Brass in Nigeria not in South Africa. We do not want to
be made to believe that the unsuccessful sale of the oil to Tankers from South
Africa from your terminal connotes a feeling of your using South African methods
of dealing with natives of African Soil anywhere mineral is extracted. If not w
hy perpetrate these acts of wickedness to human beings.
7. We beg, we appeal and pray that let us be like good neighbours as partne
rs n progress to build a BETTER Nigeria. But surely if charity begins at home: t
hen AGIP, to prove it has good intentions for Nigeria should start off with bras
s, that virgin Community blessed with all gifts of nature and only require a lit
tle of the modern amenities to play a further vital role where also the one and
only terminal of your company AGIP in Nigeria is situated.
We remain,
The District Manager, Mr. Zuofa,
Nigeria Agip Oil Co. Senator for Balga, Salga
Port Harcourt. And Yelga
The General Manager The Commissioner of Police
Nigeria Agip Oil Co. State Headquarters
Lagos. Port Harcourt.
His Excellency Chief M. Okilo
Governor of Rivers State

Distinguish Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we mark the end of a chapter in the history of our operations in this Oil
Terminal. All the efforts geared towards the realization of this Export Terminal
were attained in 1973 when on 19th day of April, 1973 a Danish Tanker by name “KA
RN MAERSK” with nomination No. ANE-76/BRASSI was at Brass terminal to load the fir
st cargo. This tanker started loading at 20:40 hours and completed loading of ab
out 35000 long tons of cargo at 16:30 hours of 20th April, 1973.
Here starts the long story of efficient operation. The terminal was test run unt
il the 30th day of December, 1973 when the then Head of State General Yakubu Gow
on officially opened the terminal. The day was of course marked with some pomp a
nd pageantry. We were then sure that really the Nigerian Agip Oil Company limite
d had set a pace yet to be equaled by other oil companies in the country. You wo
uld all be interested to know that the Brass terminal is still being used as yar
d stick for other oil companies to emulate.
It is on record that Brass terminal is one of the cleanest among the Oil termina
ls in the country operationally. We are proud to say that the operation of the T
erminal has not had any case of land or off-shore pollution. This is due to the
high and efficient standard maintained by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company through
her highly dedicated members of staff operating the terminal.
Ladies and Gentlemen:, we are happy to announce to you that the Nigerian Agip Oi
l Company Limited is 1000 TANKER YEARS OLD today. We are quite happy as well tha
t we have witnessed the successful loading of tanker “GERINA” as the 1000th Tankersh
ip loaded through this terminal.
From the first Tanker KAREN MAERSK to this Tanker GERINA that has just completed
loading, you would be interested to know that the Terminal has handled 694,508,
000 Net Barrels of Oil.
The first Tankership must have been marked with some merriment. It will be out o
f place to let this occasion slip unmarked. The NAOC management decided to celeb
rate amongst the members of staff who have been involved in this overall success
in terminal operation. Hence you are here today for this occasion.
We herby congratulate, on behalf of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company the entire memb
ers of staff of the Terminal who have put in all available dedications day and n
ight not minding inconveniences to their persons to see the Terminal through 100
0th Tankership mark. We are happy to inform you that the Tanker “GERINA” is NNPC Tan
ker and has loaded on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Though between the year 1973 and 1982 looked a short space of time, it has been
loaded with successful operations of the Terminal by the Nigerian Agip Oil Compa
ny Limited.
At this point it will be wise also to say congratulations to the Captain and cre
w of the Tanker GERINA for being the lucky Captain of the lucky Tanker to be the
1000th Tankership to have loaded the 1000th Cargo from the most modern Terminal
in the country “THE BRASS TERMINAL”.
On behalf of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited, I call on Mr. Adriano Pirroc
hi to propose the toast for the well being and future prospects of the most mode
rn terminal Brass Terminal.
Long live ENI, long live NAOC and long live the federal Republic of Nigeria!
Is made on the 13th day of May 1994 Between Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited, a
Limited Liability Company having its Registered office at Engineering Close, Vic
toria Island, Lagos of the one part and the Twon Brass Community of Brass Local
Government Area of Rivers State, of the other part.
• The Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited maintains and operates an Oil Terminal at T
won Brass.
• The people of Twon Brass Community being dissatisfied with NAOC with regard to t
he alleged non-provision of miscellaneous facilities, amenities and opportunitie
s for the community, had, by a letter dated 9, December 1993 drawn the attention
of NAOC to the alleged neglect.
• On the 29th day of November 1993, the said people of Twon Brass had, in a spirit
ed dramatization of their grievance-staged demonstrations at the NAOC Terminal,
• Following the demonstrations aforesaid which led to a strain in relations betwee
n NAOC and the Brass Community, the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Comm
ission (OMPADEC), acting through its Chairman Chief A.K. Horsfall and some other
officials, intervened in the dispute in a bid to achieve an amicable settlement
thereof and ensure industrial tranquility in the operations of NAOC in the Bras
s area.
• In consequence of the aforesaid the disputant parties attended a series of meeti
ngs under the auspices of OMPADEC presided over by, Chief A.K. Horsfall, its cha
irman, the most notable being a meeting held at the conference room of OMPADEC o
n 20, December, 1993; whereof far reaching decisions were agreed upon by all the
parties, leaving only a few matters of detail to be tidied up.
• Following a number of unsuccessful attempts by OMPADEC to have the parties execu
te the accord reached at its instance during the said meeting of 20, December 19
93, the military Administrator, ignited the parties to a meeting at the Governme
nt House Auditorium of Friday, 29 April 1994, which meeting, being inconclusive,
in turn led to another meeting held at the same venue on Thursday, 12 May 1994.
• At the said meeting held on 12, May 1994 the parties hereto continued the delibe
rations which commenced at OMPADEC and arrived at various decisions.


1. NAOC shall, through its Legal l department to look into the issue of the
land lease between Tenneco Oil Company of Nigeria unlimited and the Brass Commu
nity with a view to addressing the grievances of the community in respect thereo
2. NAOC shall carry out the studies to evaluate and analyse the level of al
leged pollution of NAOC canal and its environs, following which appropriate acti
on shall be taken to clean the canal and prevent further pollution.
3. NAOC shall demolish all temporary structures erected on the Twon Brass C
ommunity side of the banks of the canal.
4. NAOC shall at its own cost make the base data used y it in the Brass Ter
minal foreshore protection study available to the Oil Mineral Producing Areas De
velopment Commission (OMPADEC) for use b the latter in its foreshore protection
project in the Community.
5. NAOC shall, provide employment opportunities for qualified indigenes of
Twon Brass Community.
6. The parties hereof shall establish proper communication channels for the
purpose of ensuring adequate two-way information flow regarding the implementat
ion and administration of its scholarship scheme.
7. NAOC shall undertake the provision of a Water Treatment Plant at a cost
not exceeding N2,000,00.00 (Two Million Naira)
8. NAOC shall during 1994 repair all the existing roads previously built by
it using asphalt in order to restore same as nearly as is reasonably practicabl
9. That the community shall make land available for the establishment of a
petrol station, and the company shall exert influence on AGII NIGERIA PLC to est
ablish a Petrol station on the land. The Rivers State Government shall assist th
e community to secure requisite licences and approvals for the realization of th
e project.
10. NAOC shall continue to participate in essential community projects as pa
rt of its community relations programme and the community will priorities the li
st of projects requested.
11. The Rivers State Government will liaise with NAOC to provide two speed b
oats with suitable double engines each for the community.
12. NAOC shall rehabilitate the existing Okulobugo foot bridge in the commun
ity as well as embark on a study for the purpose of evaluating the cost of const
ruction of a moderate bridge and of jetties to be built by the Rivers State Gove
13. NAOC shall give priority consideration to Twon Brass indigenes in the aw
ard of contract PROVIDED that such contractors meet the company’s criteria.
14. NAOC shall during 1995 provide and operate a functional fire fighting su
b-station at Twon Brass.
15. That the company shall as a measure of goodwill and public relations mak
e available the sum of N1,000,000.00 (One million Naira) to the community for de
16. THE TWON BRASS community hereby freely and willingly covenants to create
a peaceful working environment for NAOC staff at the terminal and to ensure pea
ceful coexistence between the community and NAOC.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the parties hereto have by their duly accredited representati
ves set their hands the day and year first above written:
SIGNED BY Engr. S. Palma
Vice Chairman/Managing Director
Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited
For: and on behalf of Nigeria Agip
Oil Company Limited

Engr. V. Di-Lorenzo
General Manager, District
Port Harcourt.
For: and on behalf of Nigeria Agip
Oil Company Limited
Chief C.O. Agim
Public Affairs Manager,
SIGNED BY The under-mentioned Chiefs and People of Twon Brass Community as the d
uly accredited representatives of the TWON BRASS COMMUNITY, for and on behalf of
the entire People of the said community.
HRH Chief (Dr.) Alfred P. Diete-Spiff (Seriaya II)
Amanyanabo of Twon Brass
Chief (Dr.) Ben Abali-Shidi
Chief (Dr.) William-Kemmer
Mr Fienyo Igoniseigha
This above signatures appended by the respective representatives of the parties
hereto was duly witnessed by me on behalf of the Rivers State government.
i. On June 8th 1998, youths of Twon Brass Community peacefully went to Bras
s Local Government Council with a copy of a protest letter of their grievances t
o NAOC Swamp Area Manager but were later confronted at the NAOC Brass gate by tr
oops brought in by the Council Chairman. This resulted into an open confrontatio
n which led to a violent demonstration against the company.
ii. Following the above, operations at the Terminal were disrupted leading t
o the evacuation of staff and scaling down of activities.
iii. Both parties having expressed their desire to settle the matter held pre
liminary meetings on June 14th and 18th 1998 and agreed to conclusively resolve
the matter on June 3, 1998.
iv. Consequent upon the decision in paragraph (III) above, the community (re
presented by the Chiefs of the five principal Housed of Twon Brass, youths leade
rs and women delegates) met with the company (represented by the General manager
District, Public Affairs Division Manager, Swamp area Manager and other key off
icials) on 23rd June 1998 and after further consultations thereafter reached the
RESOLUTION hereinafter set forth.

1. N80, 000,000 DEMANDS

Community demand for N80, 000,000 as appeasement for the gods, part payment for
compensation for pollution and inadequacy of rental paid.
While it was agreed that pollution and inadequate rental would be studied furthe
r, the company agreed to make a payment of N3, 000,000.00 to foster peaceful co-
existence and enable her resume work immediately.
The Company agrees to engage the services of an expert in property, valuation to
carry out assessment and advise on equitable rent which will be presented to Br
ass Community like-wise, Brass Community undertakes to hire its own property val
uation consultant whose report together with that submitted by NAOC will be the
basis for negotiations. NAOC undertakes to pay arrears, if any, for past years a
s well as the current years. The valuation report should be ready by end of July
. Youths of the Community on their part undertake to explore ways of withdrawing
the matter vide suit No. BHC/17/94 – Chief S. Sambo & Ors. V. NAOC from court No.
interim, so that the judicial process will not be contempt.
The Company agrees to carry out studies to determine the effect of pollution fro
m the Brass Canal by mid- September. The Community too undertakes to hire its ow
n consultants. The studies shall provide basis for evaluation of compensation an
d basis for negotiations.
The Company expressed that the responsibility for staff appraisal and deployment
should be left to the Company. This request if implemented can represent a dang
erous precedence, as it is bound to provoke intercommunity animosity. However, t
o maintain peace, the two gentlemen would be taken out of the terminal.
The Company explained that it did not engage new graduates; rather the persons i
n question were Youth Corpers on few months’ contracts to permit the smooth introd
uction of their replacement.
The Company has already withdrawn from the Terminal.
The Company agrees to receive the applications and curriculum vitae of the 11 gr
aduates among others from the community to determine their suitability for vacan
cies that can be identified within company.
The Company is to respond before the end of September 1998
The Company explained that it does not employ technicians and artisans directly.
However, it has a policy of encouraging its contractors to employ this level of
staff from the area of operation. The company agrees to reinforce the monitorin
g of the implementation of this policy in Brass.
The Community pledges to create a conducive atmosphere to encourage operating.
The Company has already developed a skills acquisition project based on assessme
nt of needs and wants in Brass and the swamp area, for implementation, and signi
fies its willingness to implement it in Brass.
The scholarship agrees to carry out a review of its scholarship and bursary sche
me to address areas of concern by the community.
Henceforth all applications from Brass must be endorsed by the Head Chief of the
five respective chieftaincy houses.
Both parties agree that henceforth application for industrial attachment must be
endorsed by the respective Head Chief of the five chieftaincy houses and sent i
n duplicate, one copy to the Human Resources Manager and the other to the Swamp
Area Manager
so that they can be treated along with others.


The extent of works required in these places were unknown hence firm commitment
on activity, costs and period of execution would be made after the community gas
submitted a preliminary assessment of the rehabilitation work required to the c
The company shall within two weeks of the receipt of such assessment report from
the community, send its personnel to the community for evaluation of the job an
d planning the schedule of intervention.
Following the non- implementation by OMPADEC of its undertaking within the Memor
andum Of Understanding signed with the Community in1994, the company agrees to s
end a notable engineering Company foster wheeler of USA, to carry out a study an
d design a method for the protection of Brass shore. The consultant will commenc
e work immediately and then ready by October 1998(depending on the raining seaso
n) implementation will start within 1999.
The Company agrees to carry out remedial job on sections of the roads including
the asphalted reads needing attention to standards acceptable to the community,
concreting of town square and compound square.
The community shall provide suitable land and a concept design for a multifuncti
onal building for detailed engineering and execution by company.
The company explained the weakness of the treatment plant solution based on its
experience and those of other. Hence, the company provided a deep bore hole at a
cost higher than the Two Million Naira limit set by 1994 MOU. However, noting t
hat the result of a deep bore hole is not satisfactory, the company is studying
other solutions which will be extended to the community when successful.
The company expresses its limitations to provide transportation liner, in the li
ght of government policy on the subject
The company agrees to carefully consider a list of local contractors endorsed by
the Amayanabo or any of the Head Chiefs of the various chieftaincy houses, for
The company explained the processes involved in payment of contractors and stres
sed that there is no policy to delay the payment of community contractors, empha
sizing that preference is given to local contractors when there is shortage of f
The company affirms that it carries out periodic review of the wages of contract
personnel in all sectors of the company and this policy will be maintained.
The company affirms that requests from the community would continue to receive a
dequate attention. The office of community relations was established by the comp
any to achieve this objective.
The Company has never stopped to provide assistance to the chiefs from the commu
nity whenever possible and sustain the existing level of cordiality between them
and the company, the recent improvement in the sea truck boarding procedure as
described by one of the chief is a good example of this.
The company explained that it was ready to fulfill its part of the agreement pro
vided the community secured the license.
Noting that the fire station building is not utilized, it was agreed that:-
-the community proposes alternative use for the building.
-the company would be responsible for modifications to make this change.
On the condition that there shall be no reappraisal or stoppage of pay to worker
s by NAOC the community upon signing this document shall allow and guarantee the
company unfettered freedom to resume its operation in the Terminal and accordin
gly assures the company of the safety and security of its staff and contractors.




The dream of every graduate is to be gainfully employed. This dream becomes even
brighter when he/ she come from a region or community that is host to multinati
onal oil companies. However, the reverse is the case for graduates from Twon-Bra
ss who have hosted the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) for nearly three
(3) decades. For the peace loving purposeful and progress oriented graduates of
Twon Brass, it has been a tale of gross disregard and neglect. Getting employed
by NAOC has been more difficult than foreign the camel through the eye of a nee
In June 1998, tired of this neglect and disregard, the youths of Twon Brass stag
ed a protest which led to the signing on 3rd July, 1998, a memorandum of underst
anding (MOU) between the Twon Brass community and NAOC as regards graduate emplo
yment amongst other demands.
It is disheartening, agonizing and provocative to note that a year after the sig
ning of the Memorandum Of Understating (MOU, NAOC) has deliberately refused to k
eep to the tenets of the MOU. The best the company has done was the short-listin
g and invitation on 16th November 1998, of sixteen (16) graduates out of twenty-
two (22) for an aptitude test, dropping six (6) on grounds of age and or of havi
ng obtained a third class honors.
It is quite difficult for us to fold our hands to watch situations whereby NAOC
continues to conduct secret interview at her corporate head office premises in P
ort Harcourt to employ applicants from far-away communities while our brothers a
nd sisters comb the streets for jobs or at best scramble for menial jobs with no
n-graduates of the community. As of if to try our might, NAOC has just employed
and sent for training at Ebocha thirteen (13) persons while fifteen are on stand
by; or perhaps NAOC is taking an undue advantage over the brass man’s patience, hi
s peaceful nature.
We do not want to believe that dialogue is not a veritable tool of conflict reso
lution, and therefore wish to appeal to this honorable house to employ all possi
ble means at your disposal to invite and impress on NAOC to immediately:
a) Explain before the house cause of the delay of the graduate employment ,
and the general implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU)
b) Ratify the appointments of the sixteen (16) who attended the aptitude te
c) Commence the process of employing the others dropped (as they could be u
seful if given the necessary training) compensate for the long – time neglect.
Yours response to this plea of ours will be very much appreciated.
Yours faithfully,
FOR: the Twon Youth’s Forum
Daniel Charles Jonathan Diribodi.
President secretary genera
Randy I. Sorboi Samuel edger
Vice president Asst. secretary general
Ebiye Golen
cc: The General Manager, (District), NAOC Ltd P.H
The Public Affairs Div. Mgr. NAOC Ltd P.H
Bayelsa State House Of Assembly Yenagoa,
His Royal Majesty, Amayanabo of Twon Brass.



I felt constrained to write to you as the senator representing my district Brass

senatorial district, in the National Assembly, to complain about the contemptuo
us attitude of Agip Oil Company towards indigenous contractors of Twon-Brass whi
ch has led to our total marginalization and exclusion from the scheme of things.
You are aware, that Agip as one of the giant multinationals in the country deals
with an innumerable number of contractors or subcontractors. Out of this, only
a handful is from Twon-Brass and belongs to the lowest cadre of contractors hand
ling mostly little supply and grass cutting jobs.
This is despite the fact that Brass is Agip’s major place of operation, hosting it
s only oil exporting terminal in the country and is blessed with very experience
d and qualified contractors handling. Also, you are aware, that unlike other oil
producing communities, brass has had a record of unbroken peace with the compan
y. Apart from one or two very recent incidents, Agip has been working under what
could well be described as an atmosphere of unfettered tranquility since the co
mmencement of its operations in the early 1970s.
While one would have expected that these long years of co-operation and cordiali
ty with the company, would have brought about the establishment of some already
qualified contractors from the community and perhaps the grooming of new ones, o
ur experience has been the reverse. Qualified contractors are completely ignored
while those aspiring to become such are not encouraged.
Rather, outside contractors are patronized. Jobs that could be adequately handle
d by credible indigenous contractors are given to erstwhile managers of the comp
any, who are known to have deliberately frustrated the indigenes during their ye
ars of service. It is clear from the present occurrences that there is an underc
urrent espirit de corp between serving and retired officers of Agip which if not
checked could lead to some unfortunate incidents in the future.
Certainly, a situation where the same managers who made it impossible for indige
nous contractors to register and do business with the company are now coming bac
k as contractors after retirement to do community jobs such as renovation of sc
hools and rehabilitation of concrete roads is completely unacceptable.
It is regrettable that while the rest of the country and in particular the Feder
al Government is doing everything in its power to correct the injustices meted o
ut on the people of the Niger Delta. Agip which is supposed to be one of the maj
or crusaders in this case is still carrying on in its characteristic non-chalant
and insensitive manner.
For the nearly 30 years of its operations in Brass, Agip has not swerved in deal
ing clandestinely and deceitfully with local contractors. That is why up till to
day there is hardly any indigenous firm doing serious business with Agip, our co
ntractors seeking to register with the company are surreptitiously turned down b
y the imposition of unnecessarily stiff and unrealizable access to information o
n available jobs. And since tenders are not invited from the public we are denie
d the right to bid for jobs in our own areas.
Conversely, retired Agip staff who have been a part of the system and were in th
e main responsible for our woes go in at will to obtain jobs that should be righ
tfully ours,
what is more disturbing is the fact that even where the company takes it upon it
self to write to the Amanyanabo and his chiefs to nominate local contractors for
specific jobs and such recommendations are made, the same company turns around
to give the jobs to outsiders and would not as much as accord the turns around t
o give the jobs to outsiders and would not as much as accord the chiefs or the i
ndigenous contractors the simple courtesy of a reply stating the reason for its
I have personally been a victim of these contemptuous and humiliating actions by
Agip and would like to site a few instance to buttress my point.
1. In 1994 I did my utmost to register and request for the award of contrac
t to my company G.M. International construction & Affairs Co. Ltd for the constr
uction of roads in Twon-Brass. Up till today, after five years, there has been n
o communication to me as to the reason for not awarding the contract to my compa
ny are hereby attached.
2. In March 1999, another company of mine, river-creek specialist ltd. was
recommended to Agip by the Twon-Brass Youth Forum to supply motor vehicles for u
s at the Brass Terminal. The company’s attitude toward this matter was most unfort
unate. It bluntly and deliberately failed to make any response.(documents attach
ed herewith)
3. Following a Memorandum Of Understanding (M.O.U .) signed by Agip managem
ent on the one hand and the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, his paramount chiefs and t
he youth forum on the other, it was agreed that rehabilitation work be carried o
ut on the primary and secondary schools, the general hospital and sections of th
e roads. It was also agreed that town squares be concreted 9 paragraphs 11 & 13
of the M.O.U. see attached mou.
4. Paragraph17 of the M.O.U. further stated’ the company agree to carefully c
onsider a list of local contractors endorsed by the Amanyanabo or any of the hea
d chief of the various chieftaincies housed.’ In pursuit to this clause the compan
y wrote a letter on the 4th of may 1999 to the Amanyanabo and the head chiefs as
king them to nominate community contractors. The Amanyanabo and his chiefs recom
mended qualified indigenous contractors to Agip for the award of contracts.
5. my company, G.M. International construction & Affairs Co. Ltd was duly r
ecommended to handle the rehabilitation of schools by no less a personality
than the Amayanabo himself, His Royal Majesty Alfred Papapreye Diete Spiff, Ser
iyai II of Twon Brass and the first Military Governor Of Old Rivers State. But o
nce again, this exercise ended in futility as the contract for the rehabilitatio
n of the primary school has awarded to a non indigene. (Attached are necessary d
We like to state that by intentionally disrespecting our Amanyanabo and his chie
fs and frustrating indigenous contractors Agip is not helping matters. Denying u
s the right to do contracts in our own community will only serve to aggravate ma
tters Agip should read clearly the present posture of the federal government whi
ch is out to improve the criminally neglected people of the Niger Delta and foll
ow suit. Awarding community jobs to erstwhile managers of the company is not the
best. There are experienced and qualified local contractors with strong financi
al standing who can handle these jobs.
It is therefore our plea that Agip should be immediately called to order and dir
ected to award the remaining community jobs as well as other major contract to i
ndigenous contractors of Twon-Brass.
Yours faithfully,
Beinmonyo Rufus-Spiff
Senate president Senator Emmanuel Diffa
National Assembly Bayelsa West Senatorial
Abuja National Assembly
Senator David Birigidi Senator Martin Yellowe
Bayelsa Central Senatorial District Chairman Senate Committee On Petroleum
National Assembly National Assembly
Abuja Abuja
The Speaker The Executive Governor
House of Representatives Bayelsa Sta
National Assembly A
The Speaker The Chairman
House of Assembly Committee on Commerce & Industry
Bayelsa State Bayelsa State House Of Assembly.
Mr Antonio Vella Mr Akin Aruwajoye
General Harcourt Distrct General Manager
Nigerian Agip Oil Company Public Affairs
Port Harcourt Nigerian Agip Oil Company
Port Harcourt
Mr Mauro His Royal Majesty
Swamp Area Manage King Alfred Papapereye Diete-
Brass Terminal Spiff Seriyai Ii
Nigerian Agip Oil Company Amayanbo of Twon-Brass
Chief (Prof) C.T. I. Odu-Cameron Chief A.B. Samuel Sambo
Cameron town. Sambo Town
Chief (Dr.) Ben Abali Shidi Chief C.G.D. Jame Spiff
Shidi Town Spiff Town
Chief (Dr.) William Kemmer Daniel Charles
Kemmer Town. Youth President
Twon Youth Forum


SUIT NO. DHC/19/82
(For themselves and representing the )
members, elders and chiefs of the Royal )…PLAINTIFFS/
Families of chief Waribugo, Chief Cameron) APPLICANTS
and Sambo). )
3rd Plaintiff present.
Defendants present except the 4th.
Mr. Obaye-Ekine for the Plaintiffs.
Mr. A. Ojo for the Defendants.
This action was commenced by a writ of summons taken out on 6th July 1982.
The Plaintiffs on record are Chief N. D. Ngeri-Waribugo, Deputy Chief Ebidiobo C
ameron,Deputy Chief N. K. Sambo, and Victor Iruo, who may say they sue for thems
elves and as representing the members, elders and Chiefs of the royal families o
f Chief Waribugo, Chief Cameron and Sambo. The Defendants are Chief Benjamin Ab
ali Shidi, Deputy Chief Robinson Ababo Shidi, Otonye Ololo, A. T. Amiebi,Deputy
Chief Simeon Kemmer and Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff. Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff is t
he 6th Defendants.
The Plaintiffs claim against the Defendants as follows:-
a. A declaration that under Nembe Native Law and Custom the 6th Defendant i
s not a member of any of the ruling and/or aborigine houses, viz, Waribugo, Came
ron, Sambo,and Shidi, and cannot under the custom be nominated for selection pre
sentation, chalking and installation as the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
b. A declaration that under Nembe native law and custom the 6th Defendant c
annot be presented, chalked and/or installed the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass withou
t being elected by the Waribugo, Cameron, Sambo houses …… and any election, chalking
, presentation or installation of the 6th Defendant as the Amanyanabo of Twon-Br
ass without the participation of each of the four houses or the four houses incl
usive is contrary to the Nembe native law and custom, null and void.
c. An injunction restraining the 1st – 5th Defendant for installation as the
Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass or holding him out as the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and/
or restraining the 6th Defendant from parading himself as the Amanyanabo of Twon
The Plaintiff filed an amended statement of claim of twenty-five paragraphs. Th
e Defendants filed an amended statement of defence of twenty-four paragraphs but
which spans though ten typed foolscap pages with paragraph 23 alone having sub-
paragraphs a to y. The statement of defence is rather verbose. The Plaintiffs
also filed a reply to the amended statement of defence.
In this judgment I will refer to some of the paragraphs in the pleadings, which
will show the areas of contest between the parties.
In some of the paragraphs of the amended statement of claim, the Plaintiffs aver
red, inter alia as follows:-
“1. The Plaintiffs are chiefs and elders of the Royal Chieftain of families o
f Waribugo, Cameron and Sambo……………..
“2. The1st – 3rd Defendants are members of Shidi Royal
chieftaincy House …… The 4th Defendant is a member of Ada Spiff war canoe House and
was the acting secretary of the Twon-Brass Council of Chiefs and Elders.
“3. The 5th Defendant is a member of the Kemmer Chieftaincy House of Twon-Brass
and the 6th Defendant is a member of the Amain Royal House of Ogbolomabiri. Al
l (the) parties are members of Nembe community and are subject to (the) Nembe Na
tive Law and Customs.
“4. ……. Under Nembe Native Law and Custom ……. only the Waribugo, Cameron,Sambo and Shid
i Houses have (the) right to produce the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass. The Ada Spif
f war canoe House like the Kemmer House are not Royal Houses and cannot nominate
, or install (sic) their members as (an) Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass”.
“8. In 1929, the leader of the Twon-Brass Community was styled an Amanyanabo, a
nd the first so styled was Ashton (sic) Arisomo Sambo. The King was of Chief Sa
mbo Royal House and he reigned until 1962. …….. Twon-Brass hs remained without n Ama
nyanabo since then and the affairs of the community is(sic) run by the Council o
f Chiefs and Elders.
“9. ………. Tunwo (the founder’s) descendants were grouped into three war canoe Houses, vi
z, Cameron, Sambo,and Shidi. The founders of these Houses were Chief Jacob Came
ron, Chief Samuel Sambo and Chief Alexander Shidi …….. under Nembe Native Law and Cu
stom new houses are carved out from an existing large House and the new House is
classified equally as the parent House.
“10. ………. Chief Kemmer House and the Waribugo House are Houses carved (out) from large
r Houses. The Chief Kemmer House was carved (out) from Chief Oruwari House of O
gbolomabiri ……….The Waribugo House was careved out from the Cameron House …….. and the fou
nder …….. was Chief Waribugo.
“11. ……… (In) about 1872 Chief Thomas Ada Spiff of Ogbolomabiri escaped (sic) from his
house and settled at Twon-Brass …………………………………..
“12. ……………….. Chief Ada Spiff and the Chief Kemmer Houses are war canoe Houses in Twon-Br
but are not descendants of Tuwon the founder, consequently they are not king ma
kers or persons having a traditional right to be installed Amanyanabo of Twon-Br
“13. ………………….. Seriyai was a descendant of Tuwon the founder and he lived an reigned as (
ader of Twon-Brass before the House system was founded. Chief Shidi married Seri
yai’s niece called Sarah Tein and had a single child called Willaim. William was
(the) father of Chief Nicholas Alex Spiff ………. Although 6th Defendant’s grandfather Diet
e Spiff is (sic) a member of the Spiff House at Ogbolomabiri, he is (sic) not a
member of the Chief Ada Spiff’s House of Twon.
“14. …………. The 6th Defendant ……… is not a descendant (sic) of Tuwon the founder or Seriya
all ………………………………… Plaintiff will contend ………… that 6th Defendant is a native of Ogbolomabir
ves are settled at Twon and under (the) Nembe Native Law and Custom he cannot as
pire to an aboriginal (sic) stool of Twon or be their Amanyanabo”.
“16. ………………………. The Twon Council of Chiefs and Elders had a meeting on the 20th day of Se
1978 and a decision was taken to elect a person from the four Royal Houses to be
installed the Amanyanabo. A committee was appointed to receive nominations fro
m the Houses and to recommend how the Community will provide the welfare of the
Amanyanabo when installed. The meeting was adjourned to 28/10/78 for reception
of the recommendation, list of nominees and to screen them for election. The in
stallation of the Amanyanabo was scheduled for 4/11/78.
“17. ………………… the Acting Secretary (5th Defendant) neglected to convene the meeting on 28/
“18. The Acting Secretary reconvened the meeting on 4/11/78 at the Twon’s (sic) sq
uare. Chiefs from the Royal Houses argued that the meeting be adjourned to enabl
e the Community bury Chief H.N. Ada Spiff ……………….. It was opposed by counter arguments by a
organized group. Eventually the Chiefs received the nomination list and found
the name of (the) 6th Defendant as a nominee from Shidi Royal House. Royal Hous
e candidate was Mr. C. D. Clemet nominated by Chief Sambo House. The Cameron an
d Waribugo Houses did not nominate any candidate.
“19. ………………………… the Chairman (chief F. G. Sambo) asked Chief Shidi to explain how his Hou
d a member of a non-Royal House and stranger as their candidate …………….. The Chiefs, partic
ularly of the four Royal Houses in annoyance announced an adjournment of the mee
ting and left the town square.
“20. ……………………. Later, the organized group who remained at the Town square dispersed jubil
hat Alfred Diete-Spiff, ex-Governor of Rivers State, is elected Amanyanabo of Tw
“22. ………………………. the only relationship of (the) 6th Defendant to (sic) Seriyai is that his
and mother, Owei, was married to Amabebe who also married Keremain daughter of S
eriyai …………………………..”
In some of the paragraphs of the amended statement of defence, the Defendants, a
verred, inter alia, as follows:-
“3. ……………………………..Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff ……. Is a native of Twon being a great grandson
on and also a direct descendant of Piri – one of the two first settlers on the lan
“4. It is in correct to aver that there are royal families in Twon ……………………….”
“11. ……………………. Chief Samuel Sambo …..came to Twon in the mid 19th Century as a sojourner
red chieftaincy status later. Both Sambo and Ada Spiff Houses are accorded full
recognition as autonomous chieftaincy Houses in Twon like Shidi and Cameron.
“12. …………… none of the founders of the paramount chieftaincy Houses in Twon, namely, Shid
, Cameron, Sambo, and AdaSpiff descended from the so-called Tuwon – a fisherman fr
om Fernando Po.
“13. Seriyai is a descendant of Piri – one of the original founders of Twon. Chie
f Alfred Diete-Spiff is a great grandson ofAmabebe who was a direct descendant o
f Piri. His grandfather, named Diete, is (sic) a bonafide member of Ada Spiff H
ouse of Twon. There is no Spiff House at Ogbolomabiri. During the Calmday cris
is of 1875, Amabebe and Kiente, then members of an autonomous family in Twon bec
ame absorbed in Ada Spiff House while their sister Omoni …… got absorbed in Sambo Ho
use. Omoni is the grandmother of Ahton (sic) Arisimo Igobi who became the first
Amanyanabo of Twon ………………. Arisimo ….. and Alfred Diete Spiff’s father (Claud Diete Spiff)
first cousins.
“14. Chief Alfred Diete Spiff on installation as Amanyanabo of Twon, assumed the
title Seriyai II by virtue of the fact that Seriyai himself was at one time a r
egent of Twon. Under the prevailing Nembe custom, Alfred Diete-Spiff can inspir
e (sic) to the Amanyanaboship of Twon through his great grand father Amabebe, a
direct descendant of Piri,(a)co-founder of Twon”.
“16. …………………………………. Twon has no royal houses (or king makers) as such ………………… a meetin
1/7/78, at the instance of the Chiefs and Elders, the decision was taken to app
oint a special committee to draft rules and regulations for the appointment of a
n Amanyanabo. At a subsequent mass meeting of 30/9/78 attended by all the chief
s, after adopting the draft Rules and Regulations, the special Committee was fur
ther mandated to issue and collect nomination forms from prospective candidates
as well as screening (sic) the candidates …………… The mass meeting of 30th September 1978 ap
pointed the 28th October 1978 as nominations closing date,and November 4, 1978,a
s the date for election of the Amanyanabo. A mass meeting was then summoned of
that date (4/11/78) at the public square and was presided over by the Chairman o
f the special committee …… Deputy Chief S.O. Kemmer …… Late Chief T.K. Cameron openly an
nounced he had no candidate to present. Late Chief F. G. Sambo nominated Mr. O.
D. Clement, and Chief Benjamin Abali Shidi nominated Mr. Alfred Diete Spiff. T
he voting was overwhelmingly in favour of Alfred Diete Spiff and he was accordin
gly declared the Amanyanabo elect.
“17. ………………………….. Under the approved Rules and Regulations all the Chieftaincy Houses …..
d to nominate candidates but late Chief T. K. Cameron (supported by Chief Waribu
go) wanted only Shidi ….. and Cameron ……. The original founders of Twon to nominate ca
ndidates for the election …….”
PW1 was Chief Ateimie Samuel Sambo. He said the Plaintiffs are members of Chief
s Waribugo, Cameron and Sambo Houses. They are royal houses. The 1st, 2nd and
3rd Defendants belong to the shidi chieftaincy house – a royal house too. The 4th
Defendant is a member of Ada-Spiff house in Twon-Brass. He was the acting secr
etary of the Twon-Brass council of chiefs. The 5th Defendant belongs to Kemmer
Chieftaincy house. The 6th Defendant belongs to the Chief Amain chieftaincy roy
al house at Ogbolomabiri in Nembe; he does not belong to any royal house in Twon
-Brass. Under Nembe Native Law and Custom the houses in Twon-Brass that can pro
duce an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass are the Waribugo, Cameron, Sambo, and Shidi roy
al houses. Twon-Brass was founded about the 12th century by Tunwo who came from
Bason in Ijaw area. Upon his death Tunwo was succeeded by Isele, followed by B
outebe, Piri, Waribugo, Seriyai, Cameron and Uraih Opueme Cameron.
They are the descendants of Tunwo and those who came to join him in settling the
re. It was in 1929 that the leader was styled “Amanyanabo”, and the first to be so
styled was Ashton (sic) Arisima Sambo from Sambo chieftaincy house. He reigned
till 1962 when he died. Since his death no one had been selected as the amanyan
abo, and the community has been run by the council of chiefs and elders of the t
own. House system was created during the reign of king Ockya in the 19th centur
y. The houses created then were Sambo, Cameron and Shidi. The founder of Sambo
house was Chief Samuel Sambo; Cameron by Chief Jacob Cameron; and Shidi by Chie
f Alexander Shidi.
Under Nembe Native Law and Custom more houses can be founded, and are being foun
ded. Once a new house is created, it assumes a status equal to the existing one
s. Chief Kemmer house was created out of Oruwari and Ikata group of Houses in O
gbolomabiri Nembe. Waribugo was created out of Cameron house. At the moment th
ere are eleven houses in Twon. The 1st Plaintiff was the founder of Waribugo ho
use. Chief Thomas Ada Spiff came from Ogbolomabiri to Twon-Brass about 1871. C
hief Ada-Spiff house has now been recognized as a native of Twon-Brass. The hou
ses in Twon that have the traditional right to install or to produce the amanyan
abo of Twon-Brass are Sambo, Cameron and Shidi. This is because they are the ab
origines of Twon, Seriyai descended from Oturu. His mother was from Ogbolomabir
i- Nembe. Her name was Apo the daughter Princess Ina. Seriyai’s leadership came
before the creation of chieftaincy houses. Sarah Tein was his niece who was mar
ried to Chief Alexander Shidi. Her only child was William. Chief Nicholas Alex
Spiff was the son of William. 6th Defendant’s grandfather was Diete-Spiff who was
a member of Kulo house and Ada Spiff house in Ogbolomabiri Nembe. He is not a d
escendant of Seriyai. Nobody made him the Amanyanabo of Twon. Amabebe had two w
ives, namely, Karemain and Owei. Karemain was the daughter of Seriyai. Owei was
the mother of 6th Defendant’s grandfather – Diete. Amabebe was a native of Ogbolom
abiri Nembe. Under Nembe Native Law and Custom the 6th Defendant is a native of
Ogbolomabiri Nembe. His grandfather – Diete – was part of Ada Spiff house of Twon.
On 30/9/78 a meeting was held and it was decided that a person be elected from
the ruling royal families to be installed the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass. A comm
ittee was appointed to look into the way and manner the amanyanabo would be nomi
nated. It decided that nominations should be forwarded to the Chiefs and elders
council. The next meeting was adjourned to 28/10/78 when the nominations were
to be screened. The date set down for the actual installation was 4th November
1978. The meeting scheduled for 28/10/78 did not hold because the Secretary did
not convene it. He convened it for 4th November 1978, a date fixed for the inst
allation, and it was at the Town Square. When they attended the meeting, the Ch
airman said the meeting should be adjourned to give way for the burial of the re
mains of a late chief. There was a re-action from a group which said it was not
necessary to bury the remains of the late Chief before embarking on the amanyan
abo issue. Eventually the chiefs agreed that the meeting should go on and reque
sted for nominations first. The nominations were submitted and it was found tha
t the 6th Defendant’s name was there. He was nominated by the Chief Shidi house.
Another nominee was Mr. C. D. Clement. He was nominated by the Sambo hoyuse.
The Cameron and Waribugo houses did not submit any nomination. Chief Sambo – the
chairman – queried Chief Shidi for nominating a person who is not a member of any
of the royal families. Chief Shidi did not give any reason. The organized grou
p still insisted that the installation must be had on that day. The chiefs and
elders from the royal houses were not happy with the organized group. The chair
man then declared the meeting closed since they did not want to listen, and the
three families – Waribugo, Cameron, and Sambo left the meeting. The members of th
e organized group stayed behind. Eventually they heard that the 6th Defendant h
ad been elected as the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, and they were jubilating. Late
r the 6th Defendant accepted and published himself as the Amanyanabo. The Shidi
house cannot on their own elect and install an Amanyanabo. It is the prerogati
ve of all the four main houses. The 6th Defendant published himself as Seriyai I
I. Seriyai was not a member of Shidi house. 6th Defendant was not Seriyai desc
endant. His great grandmother Owei was married to Amabebe. Amabebe also marrie
d Seruiyai’s daughter called Karmain. The 6th Defendant is of the Amabebe and Owi
line. He said they sued the 1st – 5th Defendants because they are the members of
the organized group who pronounced the election of the 6th Defendant as the ama
nyanabo – elect. The 6th Defendant has not been installed the amanyanabo. Twon w
as founded by Twon. Piri and Boutebe later came to join him as strangers, and b
ecame natives. The offsprings of Piri are members of Shidi chieftaincy house.
Those of Boutebe are Cameron and Sambo. He said the draft rules and regulations
have not been approved. He said he is the head of the Sambo house.
Under cross examination he admitted that he was aware that the 3rd Plaintiff (De
puty Chief N. K.Sambo) has written to this Court disassociating himself from thi
s suit. He agreed that the founder Sambo house, late Chief Samuel Sambo was an
Hausa man who came and settled at Brass on his own. He became a Christian and s
o was known as Samuel. He agreed that he (witness) was a descendant of that Hau
sa man. He agreed that Diete’s father was Amabebe, and that 6th Defendant’s father w
as Chief Claudius Diete Amange. He said 6th Defendant’s connection with Twon is t
hat his father was from the Ada Spiff house of Twon which is not royal house, wh
ile his mother was from Amain house in Ogbolomabiri Nembe. The 6th Defendant’s wi
fe has a big storey building in Twon Brass. He said according to Nembe custom, t
hey claim matrilineally, but that now they lean towards their fathers, and that
is why he (PW1) is the head of his father’s house. He agreed that Twon had not ha
d an amanyanabo since the death of Chief Ashton (sic) Sambo in 1962 because of a
dispute. Piri was one of the strangers who came to join the founder of Twon.
Boutebe was also a stranger who came and settled at Twon. Ada Spiff is a house
in its own right in Twon. He agreed that in essence, Sambo, Shidi, Cameron and
Ada Spiff houses are all houses of persons who came and settled at Twon, and all
of them did not come at the same time.
Under re-examination he said there is no difference between the original houses
and the latter ones.
PW2 was Deputy Chief Ebidiebo Cameron (the 2nd Plaintiff). In his testimony he
said in the meeting held on 4/11/78, the Shidi house presented the 6th Defendant
as a candidate for the position of amanyanabo of Twon. Before he was presented
they had got the hint and so they entered into an argument because he is not Tw
on man. There was therefore a strong objection and the meeting dispersed. The
houses that can present an amanyanabo of Twon are Cameron, Waribugo, Shidi and S
ambo. There has been no election of an amanyanabo by these houses since that 19
78 to the best of his knowledge. The 6th Defendant has no relationship with Ser
Under cross-examination he agreed that Thomas Kakain, an elder (sic) man, is fro
m the Cameron house. He agreed that Chief Ibuama the father of Chief Cameron (t
he founder of the Cameron house) was from Nembe. He does not know if Chief Ada
Spiff is the 6th Defendant’s relation. He does not know if Chief James Spiff is h
is relation too. He knows that Chief Ada Spiff and Chief James Spiff belong to
the Ada Spiff house of Twon and they are the Treasurer and Secretary respectivel
y of the Twon Chiefs Council. Witness admitted that his own great grandfather w
as from Okpoama, and that Okpoama is not Twon Brass. He said it does not matter
that the present head of his Cameron house is an Ibo man. He said his chief’s fat
her was an Ibo man, but his mother is from Twon. He identified the old man Thom
as Kakain on two photographs (identified as I. D1 and I.D2). He denied that the
community set up any committee to draw up any document on the selection of an a
PW3B was Mr. Ilegimo-Kuma Allison who said he is a native of Ewoama; a fisherman
. He said the Sambo house invited Chief Iyabi to the election of an Amanyanabo
of Twon on 4/11/78. He went to Twon on that day in company of Chief Iyabi. The
venue was filled with people for the election. Chief F. G. Sambo nominated Mr.
Cornelius Clement, while Chief Shidi nominated the 6th Defendant. Chief F. G.
Sambo objected to the nomination of the 6th Defendant saying he was not a native
of Twon-Brass. What followed was confusion and strong arguments from both side
s. The meeting ended and they left. He did not know if the 6th Defendant was s
elected after that date, but not on that day.
Under cross examination he said he is conversant with the tradition of his town,
and not that of another town.
PW4 was Chief Sagbe Oruwari, who said he is a member of the Nembe Divisional Cou
ncil of Chiefs, and knows the tradition and custom of Nembe people. The 6th Def
endant is from Ogbolomabiri. He said before you can be an amanyanabo, you must
be linked by blood to the royal family. The 6th Defendant’s mother and father wer
e from Nembe.
PW5 was Clever Ayah who said he is from the Shidi house. He said he had heard
of Seriya. Before the advent of the house system of Shidi house. The 6th Defen
dant is not from Twon. The 6th Defendant is not of Karemain lineage. On 4/11/7
8, when Shidi house nominated the 6th Defendant, there was uproar, and so people
left the place in disarray.
Under cross examination he said his own father was from Ewoama while his mother
came from Shidi house in Twon.
DW1 was Chief Benjamin Abali Shidi (the 1st Defendant). He said he is the overa
ll head of Shidi House. The 6th Defendant was sponsored by the Shidi House to b
e made the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass. The 6th Defendant is a great great grandso
n of Seriyai of Shidi house. Seriyai descended from Piri –The founder of Twon-Bra
ss. Seriyai was a great grandson of Piri. One of Seriyai’s daughter called Karim
ai was married to Amabebe and they had a son called Diete. Diete’s son was Claude
Diete who was the father of the 6th Defendant. He said the blood of Shidi is f
lowing through Karimai to the 6th Defendant. He called the 6th Defendant his so
n. As the head of Shidi house no one is better placed to tell him who his son i
s. He was present at the installation of the 6th Defendant, and members of the
other houses participated in it. They took photographs of the installation that
Under cross-examination he agreed with the suggestion that Seriyai was one of th
e leaders in Twon before the house system was set up. He said John Abogha was 6
th Defendant’s uncle because Claudie Diete and John Abogba were Amabebe’s children.
They were children of the same mother. He denied that there was commotion when
he nominated the 6th Defendant that day.
DW2 was Samuel James Udonyo. He said on 4/11/78 he was engaged as a photographe
r by some people to take them photographs. It was to cover the event of the ins
tallation of the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass. He went and took the people many pho
tographs. He said he is not from Twon-Brass.
DW3 was Edward Cameron. He was about 76 years old when he testified. He is a r
etired Manager of U.A.C. He is from the Cameron House in Twon-Brass. He is the
most senior elder in that house. He said the 6th Defendant was installed and c
halked the amanyanabo of Twon on 4th November, 1978. He said in December 1982 t
hey wrote to the Court saying that they did not mandate the Plaintiffs to instit
ute this action. Deputy Chief F.K. Sambo also wrote to the Court withdrawing fr
om the case. He said there were several meetings held over the amanyanaboship,
and so they decided that the five houses should contest it.
Under cross examination he said there are Cameron, Sambo, Shidi, Kemmer and Ada-
Spiff houses in Twon; and there are other subordinate houses like Waribugo, and
James houses. He said Piri founded Shidi house, and at the time of Boutebe and
Piri, there was no house system. Professor Odu Cameron is the head of Cameron h
ouse now.
DW4 was Atonyefa Teidigiesuyo Amiebifa the 4th Defendant, who said he was about
73 years old when he testified. He was the assistant Secretary of Twon Council
of Chiefs and elders at its inception. He said on 1st July 1978 they held a mee
ting and resolved to elect an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass urgently. They decided t
o appoint a committee to work out the process for selection. That was necessary
because there was no guideline for the selection of an amanyanabo then. The fi
ve main houses – Cameron, Ada-Spiff, Sambo, Shidi and Kemmer were represented in t
he Committee. They met and recorded the proceedings in a minutes book. He was
the acting Secretary when the Secretary resigned. Their recommendations were pr
esented to an extra-ordinary mass meeting which also adopted them and authorized
the committee to send out nomination forms to the five houses. The forms were
sent out, and were later returned to the Committee which was empowered to run th
e election for Twon Community. The forms were sent out to be returned before th
e 28th of October 1978 to the Secretary of the Draft Committee. Shidi and Sambo
houses returned their nomination forms. Thomas Kakain was a member of the Comm
ittee, and at that time was the oldest man. He was present at the meetings and
he performed the traditional knocking of the head of the amanyanabo-elect (the 6
th Defendant). The 1st amanyanabo was appointed by the directives of the then D
istrict Officer in 1929, and he (the amanyanabo) was chosen from the house whose
founder was an Hausa man.
Under cross examination he said he belongs to the Spiff house. Thomas Kakain is
from the Cameron house. The community decided that the installation of the 6th
Defendant as the amanyanabo should be low keyed. There are five main houses in
Twon besides the subsidiary ones. The five are Sambo, Shidi, Cameron, Spiff an
d Kemmer.
In the final addresses of counsel, Mr. L. E. Nwosu, for the Defendants, said the
Plaintiffs failed to prove the Nembe native law and custom which disqualified t
he 6th Defendant from being the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass. He referred to the e
vidence of PW1 who admitted that the founder of his Sambo house was an Hausa man
, and the evidence of PW2 who admitted that the present head of Cameron house is
an Ibo man from Akabuka. He said, on the outer hand, the 6th Defendant’s mother
belonged to the Shidi house which also nominated him.
On the nomination of candidates for the position of an amanyanabo, he referred t
o exhibit D6 and submitted that there is no known procedure for the selection of
one. He also referred to exhibits D7 and D8.
In his own submissions, H. Senibo, Esq. Learned counsel for the Plaintiffs said
the two principal claims in paragraph 25 of the amended statement of claim are d
irected against the 6th Defendant, and yet he did not give any evidence in defen
ce thereof. It was only the 1st and 4th Defendants that testified in Court, and
the Defendants did not seek leave to defend the suit in a representative capaci
ty. He referred to Order 11 Rule 8, of the Rules of the High Court; and Quaker
Vs. Bob-Manuel (1967) 1 all N.L.R. (Pt. 1) 113 at 14. Where a number of defenda
nts are sued personally, each is duty bound to give evidence in his defence if h
e wants the suit defended, counsel contended. He said the evidence of one defen
dant is not evidence of a co-defendant. He referred to Plateau Publishing Ltd V
s. Adophy (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt. 34) 205; Okesuji Vs. Lawal (1986) 2 NWLR (pt. 23) 4
17; and Ajikawo Vs. Ansaldo Nigeria Ltd. (1991) 2NWLR (Pt. 173) 359.
He said having filed a joint defence, the Defendants ought to have met the case
by giving individual evidence, as pleadings are lifeless without evidence. Coun
sel submitted that the defence filed by the Defendant to give life to the pleadi
ngs by giving evidence.
On the allegation that the 6th Defendant is not from Twon-Brass, he referred to
the evidence of DW1 who said he is of Seriyai lineage. Counsel said that eviden
ce is in conflict with the averment in paragraph 13 of the amended statement of
On the election of an amanyanabo, he submitted that from the pleadings and evide
nce, the candidates were never screened, and that the guidelines for the screeni
ng was not tendered in Court. He submitted that the 6th Defendant did not pass t
hrough the process as pleaded by the Defendants.
He urged the Court to hold that there was no election that day.
He referred to the photographs tendered and said they did not show that there we
re Nembe Chiefs dressed in the chieftaincy regalia to install the 6th Defendant.
He urged the Court to take judicial notice that in the Niger Delta area, chief
s attend installations ___________________________________________
From the pleadings and evidence, and particularly the claims as formulated by th
e Plaintiffs against the Defendants, I will make a finding, amongst others, of t
he following issues:-
1. Whether there are Royal or Ruling and or “Aborigine houses” amongst the main
houses in Twon-Brass.
2. Whether such houses or Ruling or “aborigine houses” have the exclusive prese
rve, under the Nembe native law and custom, of presenting their member to be ins
talled the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
3. Whether the 6th Defendant is not a member of such a house in Twon-Brass
that could produce an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
4. Whether the 6th Defendant was duly nominated, elected, chalked and or in
stalled the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
In paragraphs 1 and 2 of the amended statement of claim the Plaintiffs pleaded t
hat the Royal Chieftaincy families of houses in Twon-Brass are Waribugo, Cameron
, Sambo and Shidi. They also pleaded in paragraph 4 that apart from those four,
there are others like Ada Spiff war canoe house and Kemmer House. These, they
averred are no royal houses.
On the other hand the Defendants pleaded in paragraph 4, 11 and 12 of the amende
d statement of defence that there is no house classed as a royal house in Twon-B
“Royal” is an English expression. The Advanced Learners (English) Dictionary define
s it as belonging to the family of king or queen.
In his testimony, PW1, Chief Ateimie Samuel Sambo,said of the foundership of Two
n, that Tunwo founded it in about the 12th century. He did not say he had child
ren of his body or blood who succeeded him. He only said Tunwo was succeeded by
Boutebe, Piri, Waribugo,Seriyai, Cameron, and Uriah Opene Cameron. He glossed
over that by saying they were his descendants (if any). He said emphatically th
at Tunwo founded the place, and later he was joined by Boutebe and Piri as stran
gers. He called them strangers who later became natives. He said the descendan
ts of Piri are the Shidi while those of Boutebe are Cameron and Sambo. He admit
ted that Waribugo house was carved out of Cameron house.
It is not only the Shidis, Camerons, Sambos and Waribugos he showed by his evide
nce to be strangers to Twon-Brass after Tunwo had founded it. He went further t
o admit that the founder of his Sambo house (which he called a royal house) was
an Hausa man and that he (PW1) is a descendant of an Hausa man.
From his evidence, members of Shidi, Cameron,Sambo and Waribugo are descendants
of Strangers after Twon had been founded by Tunwo.
He also said that Chief Thomas Ada-Spiff came from Ogbolomabiri Nembe in about 1
871 and settled at Twon-Brass. Chief Ada-Spiff house has now been recognised as
a native of Twon-Brass. In addition he said Chief Kemmer house of Twon was cre
ated out of Oruwari and Ikata group of houses in Ogbolomabiri Nembe. That is to
say that the founders of Ada-Spiff and Kemmer houses of Twon also came from Ogb
olomabiri – Nembe.
It is interesting to note what this witness, who called Sambo, Cameron and Shidi
houses royal houses of Twon-Bass, said under cross examination where he answere
d thus:
“………………… The founder of Sambo house was late Chief Samuel Sambo. I agree that he was an Ha
rader, who came and settled down at Brasson his own and became a free man.
I am a descendant of that Hausa man.”
And towards the end of his testimony he said:
“………………. In essence the Sambo, Shidi, Cameron and Ada-Spiff are all houses of persons who c
to settle at Twon ………………..”
As for Seriyai, he even said Apo, his mother came from Ogbolomabiri.
In his own evidence, PW2, who said he is Deputy Chief Ebidiebo Cameron (the 2nd
Plaintiff) said his own great grandfather came from Okpoama which is not Twon-Br
ass. He also said the father of the founder of Cameron house- Ibuama came from
What is, therefore, clear from the evidence of PW1 and PW2, who respectively fro
m Sambo and Cameron houses, is that the founders of their Sambo and Cameron hous
es were strangers, and indeed that the founders of the five main houses of Camer
on, Shidi, Sambo, Waribugo, Ada-Spiff and Kemmer were all strangers to Twon-Bras
s after Tunwo had founded the place.
In spite of that historical account, PW1 and PW2 stil lsaid those four houses, n
amely, Sambo, Cameron, Shidi and Waribugo are royal and are those qualified to p
roduce an amanyaabo. These witnesses did not say what made them royal out of th
e number.
As I observed above, the expression “royal” has a meaning. It is not just enough to
merely allege that those houses are royal houses. They do not become royal by
merely ascribing royalty to them just like that. He who asserts must prove. Se
e sections 135 (1), 136 and 137 (1) of the Evidence Act 1990. In particular Se
ction 135 (1) provides as follows:
“Whoever desires any Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability def
endant on the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts ex
In claim No. A in paragraph 25 of the amended statement of claim the Plaintiffs
changed the expression from “royal” to Ruling and/or “aborigine.”
Here again, none of the witnesses gave evidence to show what made Sambo, Shid
i, Cameron and Waribugo houses the ruling houses or what made them aborigines th
an Ada Spiff and Kemmer houses or other houses in Twon-Brass.
The stand of the Defendants from paragraphs 4, 11 and 12 of the amended statemen
t of defence is that there are no royal families in Twon. DW3 – Edward Cameron – a
76 year old man when he testified, and DW4 Atonyefa Amiebi, maintained in their
testimonies that there are five main houses in Twon-Brass, namely, Shidi, Camero
n, Sambo, Ada-Spiff and Kemmer,and that there are other sub houses like Waribugo
and James houses.
From what I have reviewed above, I do not, therefore, believe PW1 and PW2 (and i
nfact the Plaintiffs) that there are royal or ruling or “aborigine” houses in Twon-B
rass. I do not believe them that Sambo, Shidi, Cameron and Waribugo (out of all
the houses) are the royal or ruling or “abvorigine” houses in Twon-Brass.
I believe DW3 and DW4 that what they have in Twon-Brass are main and subordinate
houses. I believe them that the main houses are Shidi, Cameron, Sambo, Ada-Spi
ff and Kemmer houses, and that there are other sub-houses like Waribugo, and Jam
es houses.
It follows, therefore, that the Plaintiffs have failed to prove that there are r
oyal or ruling or “aborigine” houses amongst the main houses in Twon-Brass.
The 2nd issue is whether such houses or ruling or “aborigine” houses have the exclus
ive preserve, under Nembe native law and custom, of presenting their member to b
e installed the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
What is the custom alleged by the Plaintiff?
They averred-
1. That all the parties are members of Nembe Community and are subject to N
embe Native Law and Custom –paragraph 3; and
2. That under Nembe Native Law and Custom and tradition of Twon-Brass only
the Waribugo, Cameron, Sambo,and Shidi houses have the right to produce the ama
nyanabo – paragraph 4
What does the alleged Nembe native law and custom say about Waribugo, Cameron, S
ambo,and Shidi houses which make them to have the exclusive right of producing a
n amanyanabo?
I have read through the statement of claim and I have found no where it is plead
ed why, under the Nembe custom, members of other houses are excluded from aspir
ing to the position of an amanyanabo in Twon-Brass. There is no where it is even
pleaded in the amended statement of claim that the alleged custom is based on r
oyalty or foundership (which in the case of the said four houses I have already
Parties are not, and should not make assertions or claims and give them the flav
our of custom for the sake of doing so. A claim or a contention does not just p
ass for the custom of a people by merely alleging so. Custom is defined for the
purposes of evidence law by section 3(1) of the Evidence Act and it states:
“Custom is a rule which, in a particular district, has, from long usage obtained t
he force of law.”
It follow, therefore, that to be relevant, a custom which is relied upon must be
pleaded with clarity and particularity.
It is when such a custom has been pleaded properly that a party, relying on it,
proceeds to prove it by evidence, unless it is of such notoriety and has been so
frequently followed by the Courts that judicial notice can be taken of it. See
per Taylor F. J., in Giwa Vs. Erinmilokan (1961) All N. L. R. 294 at 296.
Here, from the references I have made to paragraph 3 and 4 of the amended statem
ent of claim it is not shown what the custom relied upon is all about.
It is a well established principle of law that native law and custom is a matter
of evidence to be decided on the facts presented before the Court in each parti
cular case. See Giwa Vs. Erinmilokan (supra).
Apart from the fact that the pleading in this case, as regards the alleged Nembe
custom, is unsatisfactory, none of the Plaintiffs witnesses did any good to it
in evidence. None of PW1, PW2 or PW3 testified as to, how under the Nembe nativ
e law and custom, where all the five main houses in Twon-Brass were founded by a
ll strangers, some of them will be royal or ruling or “aborigine” houses and others
are not, and how under the alleged custom, some will have the exclusive right of
producing the amanyanabo.
The conclusion I reach here, therefore, is that the Plaintiffs failed to prove t
hat under Nembe native law and custom it is only the Sambo, Cameron, Shidi and W
aribugo houses that have the right to produce an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
Whether the 6th Defendant is not a member of such a house in Twon-Brass that cou
ld or is allowed to produce an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
Before I consider the very recent developments in Twon-Brass, as disclosed in th
e evidence in this case, relating or leading to the decisions or agreements reac
hed by the Twon Council of Chiefs on the election and installation of an amanyan
abo, let me deal with the relationship (if any) of the 6th Defendants with the h
ouses in Twon-Brass his geneology (sic) or pedigree.
The Plaintiffs pleaded in paragraphs 6, 13, 14, 15 and 22 of the amended stateme
nt of claim that the 6th Defendant is a member of the Amain royal house of Ogbol
omabiri; that although his grand father, Diete Spiff, was a member of Spiff hous
e of Ogbolomabiri, he is not a member of the Chief Ada-Spiff house of Twon; and
that he styled himself Seriyai II when he is not a descendant of Sereyai.
In particular, they pleaded, inter alia, in paragraphs 14 and 22 as follows:
“14. ……………………………. the 6th Defendant …………… is not a descendant of Tunwo the founder or Se
had two wives, viz, Keremain and Owei. Karemain was daughter of Seriyai. Amabe
be and Karemain were parents of John Abogha Dokubo, great uncle of 6th Defendant
. Amabebe and Owei were parents of Diete-Spiff 6th Defendant’s grand father, and
6th Defendant is (the) son of Chief Amange ………….. 6th Defendant is a native of Ogbolomab
iri whose ancestors’ relatives are settled at ____________________________________
“22. …………………… the only relationship of 6th defendant to Seriyai is that his great grand
, Owei, was married to Amabebe who also married Karemain, daughter of Seriyai, a
nd his only relationship to (sic) Chief Ada Spiff House in Twon is that his gran
d father, Diete Spiff was a member of Chief Ada Spiff House of Ogbolomabiri – a Ho
use members are relatives of the Spiff House of Twon.”
They averred in paragraph 7 of the amended statement of claim that one of the le
aders of Twon was Seriyai. It means that, if the 6th Defendant is a descendant
of Seriyai, he would have the right to aspire to the stool of the amanyanabo of
Twon. But they contend that he is not his descendant.
In his testimony, PW1 said Amabebe married Owei (f) and by that union begat (sic
) Diete, the grand father of the 6th Defendant. Amabebe also married Karimain (
f) the daughter of Seriyai.
PW2 also said that the 6th Defendant has no relationship with Seriyai.
If the pleadings in paragraphs 14 and 22 of the amended statement of claim and t
he evidence of PW1 and PW2 are accepted, it means that the 6th Defendant has no
relationship with Seriyai.
For the Defendants, they admit in paragraph 14 of the amended statement of defen
ce that Seriyai was in his life time a leader of Twon. In paragraph 22 they ave
rred that Seriyai was the grand father of Diete through his mother Karimain the
daughter of Seriyai.
And in evidence DW1 said the 6th Defendant is the great grandson of Seriyai. He
said Seriyai of Shidi house was a descendant of Piri. Karimain was Seriyai’s dau
ghter, and she was married by Amabebe. Their son of (that married) was Diete-th
e 6th Defendant’s grand father.
The difference in the two sets of contentions that link to Seriyai’s is that, whil
e the Plaintiffs say Owei was the 6th Defendant’s great grand mother, the Defendan
ts say it was not Owei, but Karimain - the daughter of Seriyai.
Both parties agree that Amabebe married the two women.
Though the two versions of history are not accounts within living memory, neithe
r PW1, who is from Sambo house, nor PW2 who is from Cameron house said they came
by that version of history. None of them said who told them that out of the tw
o women that were married to Amabebe the one that was the mother of Diete was Ow
ei and not Karimain. None of them said he read if from any written or recorded
account either. They merely asserted that it was Owei and not Karimain.
On what basis can the Court consider the veracity of that history they want the
Court to accept? When one is giving an account of an event or transaction that
took place beyond living memory, the one ought to furnish the Court the source o
f such information before the Court can place any value on it, otherwise it will
remain a mere assertion which any person can wake up one morning and originate.
So that, in the absence of such basis, the Court is in a difficulty believing or
accepting that evidence by PW1 and PW2 that Owei was the great grand mother of
the 6th Defendant and not Karimain.
On the other hand DW1 in his testimony said he is the overall head of the Shidi
house; that Seriyai belonged to Shidi house.
As I remarked above PW1 and PW2 are not from Shidi house. The mere fact that DW
1 is the overall head of Shidi house gives his evidence relating to what affects
a member of Shidi house more credence. Here, there is a better foundation upon
which the Court can test his historical account of Seriyai and his descendants,
being the overall head of Shidi house.
Infact he asserted, inter alia in his evidence, as follows:-
“……………………….. 6th Defendant is a great great grandson of Seriyai of Shidi house. Seriyai wa
i house.
He descended from Piri …………………… Seriyai married a woman and had issues of which one was Kar
(f). She was married to one Amabebe and got an issue by name Diete. Diete him
self married and has a son called Claude in turn married and produced Chief Alfr
ed Diete Spiff – 6th Defendant. Through Karimain the blood of Shidi is flowing in
the 6th Defendant. He is my son. As the head of Shidi house, no one in that h
ouse is better placed to tell me who my son is.”
Learned counsel, in his address, referred me to the evidence of DW1 under cross
examination as to whether at the time of Seriyai there was a house system, sugge
sting that Seriyai could not have belonged to Shidi house which was not then in
existence. I must say that the evidence of this witness on that point does not
affect the substance of his evidence on the relationship between Seriyai and Shi
di because PW1 himself said in his testimony that the Shidi house descended from
Piri, and the Descendant said Seriyai descended from the same Piri.
So that, from the different accounts given by PW1 and PW2, on one hand, and that
given by DW1, on the other, I do not believe PW1 and PW2 that it was Owei, and
not Kerimain that was Diete’s mother. I rather believe DW1 that Seriyai was a des
cendant of Piri, and that he was of Shidi house. I believe him that Seriyai’s dau
ghter Karimain – married Amabebe, and that one of the issues of that union was Die
te (the 6th Defendant’s grand father).
Further more, it was the Plaintiffs who pleaded in paragraph 14 of the amended s
tatement of claim that John Abogha Dokubo (Karimain’s son) was the 6th Defendant’s g
reat uncle.
From that unprompted averment, it is more probable that Karimain’s said son – John A
bogha Dokubo was the 6th Defendant’s uncle because he, John Abogha Dokubo and Diet
e, the 6th Defendant’s grand father, were children of the same mother, than that t
hey were children of different mothers. That is what the Defendants are saying,
and I therefore hold that the 6th Defendant is the great grand son of Seriyai o
f Shidi house in Twon-Brass.
This finding that the 6th Defendant is the great grandson of Seriyai of Shidi ho
use settles the issue whether he is a member of any of the Cameron, Sambo, Warib
ugo or Shidi houses that is so talked about by the Plaintiffs in this case. But
besides, there are other main houses that are made relevant in this case, namel
y, the Kemmer and Ada-Spiff.
Though the Plaintiffs pleaded in paragraph 13 of the amended statement of claim
that, although the 6th Defendant’s grand father Diete Spiff was a member of Spiff
house at Ogbolomabiri, he is not a member of the Chief Ada-Spiff house of Twon,
that pleading is clearly in conflict with part of PW1’s testimony (in evidence in-
chief) on 19/2/91 where he said as follows:
“…………………………………. 6th Defendant’s grandfather Diete was part of Ada Spiff house of Twon ……………
From the above evidence, it is also clear that the 6th Defendant has relationshi
p with (and also belongs) to the Ada-Spiff house of Twon through his grand fathe
The findings I have made, on the geneology (sic) of the 6th Defendant, from the
available evidence in this case, is that the 6th Defendant is a member of the Sh
idi house, and also a member of the Ada Spiff house, both of Twon-Brass.
Now, on which house could produce an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, from the pleading
s and evidence of both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants there is no dispute tha
t Shidi house is qualified to produce an amanyanabo, and I have held that the 6t
h Defendant, by his genelogy, (sic) is a bonafide son of the said Shidi house an
d also qualified for that position.
But what of the members of other houses namely, Cameron, Sambo, Ada-Spiff, Kemme
r and Waribugo houses?
Again, both parties agree that Cameron and Sambo houses qualify to produce an am
anyanabo. In respect of Waribugo house, both parties agree that it sprang up fr
om the Cameron house. It, therefore, means that a member of Waribugo house can
aspire to that position at least through his link to the Cameron house.
For Ada-Spiff and Kemmer houses, the Plaintiffs agree that they are autonomous w
ar canoe houses now. I have earlier also, found that they are main houses in Tw
on when I rejected the Plaintiffs’ contention that there are royal or ruling house
s in Twon-Brass.
Besides, my attention has been drawn to the procedure adopted by the Council of
Chiefs in the choice of an incumbent. I will here now deal with what is disclos
ed in the pleadings and the evidence of the parties relating to what had been th
e practice before this time.
The Plaintiffs pleaded as follows in paragraph 8 of the amended statement of cla
“In 1929, the leader of the Twon-Brass Community was styled an amanyanabo, and the
first so style was Ashton Arisomo Sambo. The king was of Chief Sambo Royal Hou
se and he reigned until 1962 ………………. Twon-Brass has remained without an Amanyanabo since th
n and the affairs of the community is run by the Council of Chiefs and Elders.”
PW1 gave oral evidence to that effect.
What that averment means is clear, that it was only in 1929 that Twon-Brass had
a leader styled “amanyanabo”; since he died in 1962 they had had no amanyanabo. PW1
agreed that they had had none because of disputes. And DW4 said that only aman
yanabo was appointed by the directions of the then District Officer.
But when the Plaintiffs contend, as they do, in paragraph 4 of the amended state
ment of claim and the evidence of PW1, that under their custom only Waribugo, Ca
meron, Sambo and Shidi houses have the right to produce the amanyanabo, they gav
e the impression that such has been a regular, usual indisputable and consistent
From the evidences of both parties the only amanyanabo (not merely a leader of t
he town) they had ever had was appointed by the Colonial administration. Since
that one died in 1962, they had had none because of disputes.
From the evidence before the Court, it seems the Community, tired of the dispute
, in 1978 decided to instal (sic) one.
The Plaintiffs pleaded in paragraph 16 of the amended statement of claim; suppor
ted by the evidence of PW1, that on 30/9/78 the Council of Chiefs and elders met
and decided to elect a person from either of the Sambo, Cameron, Shidi or Warib
ugo houses.
The Defendants said that was not the decision. DW3 Edward Cameron – himself from
Cameron house – a retired Manager of U.A.C. who was 76 years old when he testified
, said their decision was that any of the five main houses, namely, Sambo, Shidi
, Cameron, Ada Spiff and Kemmer was fit to produce a person to be made the amany
DW4, the then assistaent (sic) Secretary of the Council supported the evidence o
f DW3 and, indeed, said since there was no guideline before then, a committee wa
s set up to work out the process for the selection. The five main houses had re
presentatives in that Committee. They met and their recommendations were presen
ted to an extraordinary mass meeting which also adopted them, and authorised the
committee to send out nomination forms to the five houses. Thomas Kakain was a
member of the committee.
The question is, which version is to be believed – that the Council decided to exc
lude the Ada-Spiff and Kemmer houses from putting their members on the contest,
or that the Council decided that any of the five main houses was eligible?
The basis for the Plaintiffs’ contention is their claim that there are royal house
s in Twon-Brass out of which Ada-Spiff and Kemmer houses are excluded. I have e
arlier rejected that contention.
Besides, DW3 (who is from Cameron house himself) an old man, retired as U.A.C. M
anager disagreed, with that claim. I have looked at that old man while in the w
itness box. He did not seem to be a witness procured or induced to come and tes
tify against the interest of this house. He said in his evidence that in Decemb
er 1982 their house wrote to the Court saying that they did not mandate the Plai
ntiffs to institute this action. This man seemed to me a witness of truth with
Further on this, DW4 said the deliberations were recorded in the Twon Council of
Chiefs and Elders Minutes Book- Exhibit D6.
I have read the minutes of the meetings on the crucial days of 30th September, a
nd 4th November 1978 respectively. Some of the decisions as recorded on 30/9/78
1. that the person qualified to be made the amanyanabo “must be a native by b
2. “He must be mentally sound and without any
history of insanity.”
3. th “nomination of candidates should get to the Secretary of the Committee
not later than Saturday the 28th October 1978.”
The minutes do not show that the Council decided that only the houses of Shidi,
Sambo, Cameron and Waribugo were qualified.
I therefore do not believe the Plaintiffs and their witnesses that the council d
ecided, on 30/9/78 or at any time that only those houses were qualified to conte
st for the position of the amanyanabo.
I believe DW3 and DW4 that the Council decided that any member of Shidi, Sambo,
Cameron, Ada-Spiff and Kemmer houses was eligible.
I believe DW4 that the Council set up a Committee to work out the procedure for
the selection, and I believe him that that was so because as at then, there was
no guideline. I believe him that its reports were adopted by the extra ordinary
mass meeting of the town. I believe him that Mr. Kakain from Cameron house was
a member of the Committee, and that they were mandated to send out nomination f
orms to all the houses.
From the above findings, it is quite clear that the 6th Defendant who, through h
is grand parents and parents, is from both Shidi and Ada-Spiff houses of Twon-Br
ass was qualified to be nominated to contest for the position of amanyanabo of T
The last issue is whether the 6th Defendant was duly nominated, elected, chalked
and installed the amanyanabo of Twon.
The Plaintiffs say he was not.
All the parties agree that Shidi house nominated him as a candidate.
PW1 said the date set down for the actual installation was 4th November 1978. P
eople were summoned at the town square. He said when they gathered, the Chairma
n, Chief Sambo, said the meeting should be adjourned to give way for the burial
of the remains of late Chief Ada-Spiff. A group said it was not necessary to st
ay the installation. Eventually the Chiefs agreed and requested for the nominat
ions. The 6th was nominated by Shidi House, while Mr. C. D. Clement was nominat
ed by Sambo house. There was no other nomination. The Chairman Chief Sambo que
ried Chief Shidi why the 6th Defendant was nominated. That inquiring threw in c
ontroversy as the Chairman, instead of proceeding to the election, unilateraly (
sic) declared the meeting closed. A group insisted that the election must go on
. He said Waribugo, Cameron and Sambo members left the place, while the other g
roup stayed behind. Eventually they heard that the 6th Defendant had been elect
ed as the amanyanabo and people were jubilating.
PW2 and PW4 supported his testimony in saying that when the 6th Defendant was no
minated, argument ensured, and some people left the meeting.
Even from the account given by the Plaintiffs’ witnesses, it is abundantly clear:
i) that the installation was fixed for the 4th of November 1978.
ii) that all the houses were in attendance at the venue.
iii) that nominations were called for.
iv) that two people were nominated to go for the contest, one of them being
the 6th Defendant.
v) that the meeting was not formally and duly adjourned or closed.
vi) that some people willingly walked out and thereby abandoned the contest.
I have earlier held that the 6th Defendant was qualified to contest for that pos
ition. He was duly nominated by the Shidi house. But when it came to the real
Clement (so to say) gave up the contest; and conscious of the consequences, with
their eyes wide open abandoned the area.
Will Twon-Brass drop the scheduled election and installation of their amanyanabo
because Chief Sambo and his supporters illadvisedly staged a walk out at their
own peril? Of course not.
And so, even by the evidence of PW1, the rest of the people stayed behind, and w
hat they heard later was that the 6th Defendant had been elected the amanyanabo
of Twon-Brass, and people were jubilating in the town.
From the evidence of PW1 can it be contended that there was no election that day
? From his account, those of them who supported Mr. Clement abandoned the fligh
t, but the Community stayed behind. What did the rest stay behind to do? PW1 s
aid he later heard that they elected the 6th Defendant. Of course having given
that account, the Plaintiffs cannot say that there was no election that day.
DW3 said the 6th Defendant was elected, installed and chalked the amanyanabo of
Twon-Brass on that 4th of November 1978.
DW2 the photographer said he was engaged to take photographs covering the instal
lation of the amanyanabo on that day, and the Defendants caused to be tendered t
he negative and print copies of the photographs.
Learned counsel for the Plaintiffs in his address said the photographs did not d
epict chieftaincy installation because those in it were wearing “Woko” and “eight bob”,
instead of chieftaincy regalia. He said the Court should take judicial notice o
f the fact that in the Niger Delta area Chiefs attend such installations in chie
ftaincy regalia.
Counsel did not satisfy the Court of the notoriety of that practice such that it
has been frequently followed by the Courts for judicial notice to be taken of i
The minutes of the meeting of 4th November 1978 (exhibit D6) gave a detailed acc
ount of all that happened that day. The meeting was attended by over 1000 peopl
e including all the Chiefs. The venue was Opupolokiri. It started by about 3.4
5pm. The area was decorated with flags from the various war canoe houses in Two
Inspite of that elaborate preparation, it was chief F. G. Sambo who wanted to di
srupt the exercise that day by asking for its postponement. The reason he gave
was that they had the remains of late Chief Ada Spiff to bury.
Chief Sambo is not from the Ada-Spiff house, and he was rebuffed even by members
of the Ada-Spiff house, (especially Deputy Chief Festus Spiff) who saw it as a
ploy to abut the election and installation.
The minutes show that the said Chief F. G. Sambo threatened the exercise on seve
ral occasions that day.
When he did not succeed in getting the postponement on that excuse, he turned ro
und to say that the Chiefs were not given the opportunity to screen the candidat
es. The answer given to dislodge that excuse was that there was no provision fo
r the screening of the candidates by the Council.
PW1 said those that supported Chief Sambo’s nomination walked out.
From exhibiting D6, it seems their withdrawal did not affect the progress of the
exercise that day, because it was recorded that when the Chairman of the Electi
on Meeting, Deputy Chief Kemmer put the names of the contestants – Commander Diete
-Spiff and Mr. C. D. Clement for voting.
“Commander A. P. Diete-Spiff was unanimously returned as the amanyanabo-elect,” and
the usual traditional Eagle marching went through the whole town-jubilating.
The conclusion I have reached from the foregoing is that in the meeting properly
convened on 4th November 1978 the Twon-Brass community represented by their Chi
efs, elders and young men, duly nominated, elected, chalked and installed the 6t
h Defendant as the amanyanabo of Twon-Brass.
Learned counsel for the Plaintiffs made an elaborate submission on the fact that
the 6th Defendant did not go into the witness box to give oral evidence, since,
according to counsel, the first two major reliefs are claimed against him. He
submitted that where a number of defendants are sued personally, each is duly bo
und to give evidence in his defence if he wants the suit defended. The evidence
of a co-defendant is not evidence of a co-defendant he said. One of the cases
he relied on is Plateau Publishing Ltd Vs. Adophy (supra). That is a case for b
reach of copyright. The Respondent sued the appellants to protect his literary
publication in respect of which he claimed damages in the copyright which is inc
orporeal. There the 3rd defendant did not enter appearance and did not file ple
adings. One of the decisions in it is that where the claim against the defendan
ts is joint they are bound by the case of one of the defendants and also liable
for the default of any one of them.
With due respect to learned counsel I wonder the relevance of that case in this
matter, or even the legal content of the point made by him on this in his submis
The Defendants herein are sued individually in one action. All of them briefed
one counsel who prepared and filed a statement of defence for them.
They led oral and documentary evidence in support of that statement of defence f
iled on their behalf.
If the oral and documentary evidence led for the Defendants met the relevant iss
ues raised by the Plaintiffs in their statement of claim, would it matter that n
ot every and all the defendants entered into the witness box to give oral witnes
The relevant issues, as far as I can make out, are whether some of the houses ar
e royal and others are not for purpose of presenting a candidate for the positio
n of an amanyanabo of Twon-Brass; whether the 6th Defendant is not a Twon man un
der the Nembe native law and custom for the purpose of aspiring to that stool; a
nd whether the 6th Defendant was nominated, elected and installed the amanyanabo
The Defendants called four witnesses and tendered some documents in pursuant of
the statement of defence they filed. I have earlier referred to the substance o
f their evidence.
If defendants’ evidence, oral and documentary does not meet plaintiffs’ evidence on
relevant issues, too bad. But where their evidence, even from a single witness
or a piece of document or item meets the plaintiffs’ evidence to require the two s
ets to be put on the balance for weighing, the result of that exercise determine
s ________________________________________
Here, what was it that was particular for the 6th Defendant to have gone into th
e witness box to challenge, which as he did not, lands weight or assistance to t
he Plaintiffs’ case”
The Defendants tendered evidence that dealt with
i) whether there are separate houses that are royal in Twon-Brass or not;
ii) the 6th Defendant’s election pedegree or geneology (sic);
iii) his nomination, election and installation.
In these circumstances, must the 6th Defendant and no one else, be the person to
give evidence as to the foundership of Twon-Brass and the founding of the main
houses there? Must he be the person to say when and how he was born if there ar
e his fathers and elders to say that? He did not nominates, elect, chalk or ins
tal himself, and so must he be the person to say all that, if there are those to
say so? Or must he be the only person to give acceptable evidence of the Nembe
native law and custom relating to the choice of a candidate for the position of
an amanyanabo because his selection for that stool is made an issue by the Plai
Counsel for the Defendants – Mr. L. E. Nwosu – submitted that the Defendants filed a
Statement of defence, and led both oral and documentary evidence which, by the
nature of the claims, as formulated by the plaintiffs against them, each and eve
ry one of them, and particularly the 6th Defendant, is entitled, in law to rely
on. I agree with Mr. Nwosu.
That point is therefore, with due respect to learned counsel for the plaintiffs,
From the foregoing I have made findings as to, and reached the following conclus
1. That there are no royal, or ruling or “aborigine”
houses in Twon-Brass.
2. That at the moment there are five main houses in Twon-
Brass, namely, Cameron, Shidi, Sambo, Ada-Spiff and
Kemmer houses
3. That each of the main houses is qualified to nominate
its member to vie for the position of the amanyanabo of
4. That by virtue of his geneological (sic) link through his
great grandmother Karamai (the daughter of Seriyai),
the 6th Defendant, under the Nembe native law and
custom can aspire to the stool of the amanyanabo of
Twon-Brass under the Shidi house.
5. That since his grand father (Diete) was a member of the
Ada-Spiff house of Twon-Brass, the 6th Defendant is also
a member of the Ada-Spiff house of Twon-Brass.
6. That the 6th Defendant, Chief Alfred Diete Spiff, was duly
nominated, elected, chalked and installed the
amanyanabo of Twon-Brass on the 4th November 1978.
The final result, therefore is that the Plaintiffs have failed to prove any part
of the case against the Defendants, and I hereby dismiss all their claims in th
eir entirety. The Plaintiffs should pay to the Defendants costs which I fix at
N4, 000.00.

I. N. NDU, Ksc


The recent crisis in Twon-Brass is the fall out of an election to fill the posit
ion of President of Twon Youths. A peculiar democratic zoning arrangement worke
d out by youths from the five war canoe houses of the oil-rich community, (Camer
on, Shidi Kemmer, Sambo and Ada) had mandated Shidi and Cameron War Canoe Houses
to produce a candidate each to contest the election. Given the rising profile
of youths in oil politics and community affairs in the Niger Delta and the privi
leges and the benefits attached to the position, the candidates presented by bot
h houses together with their backers worked frantically, covertly and overtly to
outsmart one another.
The candidate of Shidi War Canoe House, Mr. William Abadi, is accused of being t
he leader of the banned and dreaded Isena Asawo Cult, and of using this terror g
ang to cow the entire community. He is also said to be the favoured candidate o
f the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and the first indigenous Governor of old Rivers S
tate, Commander Alfred Diete Spiff (rtd), whose claim to being a Shidi scion is
dismissed by his opponent as bogous. To support their argument, they point out
that seriayai title that he has taken has no genealogical anchorage in Shidi but
in Sambo. And to impress on the Shidi that he is one of them, Diete Spiff, who
se ancestry has been traced to Ogbolomabiri, Nembe where his late brother Diete-
Koki had contested the kinship with the incumbent HRM Ambrose Alagoa, and anothe
r of his brother, Percy Spiff, a retired Deputy Comm. Of Police, is chief Kien,
openly backed the Shidi candidate who in education and general acceptability is
inferior to the Cameron War Canoe House candidate. His opponent also alleged th
at in concert with the Rufus Spiff brothers, who are from the Ada War Canoe Hous
es – Inatimi (Comm. For Education in Gov. DSP Alamieyeseigha’s cabinet and one time
secretary to Government in the old Rivers State), Abraham (recently appointed Se
cretary of the Brass Local Government Council) Beinmonyo (a rich business man, m
ember of the defunct NSM, now integrated in ruling PDP and power broker of immen
se stature of the L.G.A.) – the Amanyanabo intends to use the youth leadership ele
ction to prop up his rulership. The Shidi candidate also has the backing of a s
elect group of chiefs and youth leaders of Twon communities who have been discla
imed as apostates by their respective War Canoe Houses.
The candidate of the Cameron War Canoe House, Mr. Kienyo Olali, a graduate of el
ectrical electronics engineering and a more popular of the two, has the backing
of the majority of the youths and people of the community. His group is curious
ly alleged to have got the Council chairman, a Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff surrogate a
nd a descendant of Sambo to counterbalance the formidable combination of Shidi W
ar Canoe House, their adopted Royal Son, Diete Spiff, the politically calculatin
g and the astute Rufus Spiff’s and a powerful faction of Spiff War Canoe House.
The election for the president of Twon youths which was originally billed for
Sunday September 2,2001 was marred by electoral malpractice. Kienyo Olali who c
laims he was clearly leading his Shidi house rival at the botched polls, accuses
his opponent and the Isena Asawo Cult members for disrupting the counting when
it became clear that Abadi was losing. At that botched election and the controv
ersial September 19 repeat election, Option A4 was adopted.
If the more cunning and political Abadi group, under the tutelage of the wily Ru
fus Spiff had resorted to exploiting the fragility of Option A4 to disrupt the S
eptember 11 election, Olali, guided by the arcane wisdom of his educational back
ground sort a legalistic and politically counter to the machiavelism and thugger
y of his opponent. Thus, his group got the Council Chairman, Hon. Joseph Ayeban
oa to postpone the rescheduled election of Wednesday, September 19, 2001 to some
later date. The chairman sited as his main reason a possible breakdown of law
and order. On Tuesday and Wednesday, September 18 and 19, the Bayelsa State Rad
io aired the chairman’s statement calling for the postponement of the election. I
n addition, the community’s Public Address System with loud speakers strategically
located at each of the five main compounds of the town also repeatedly the putt
ing off of the election.
Mr. Olali and his backers were satisfied, especially with the Divisional Police
Officer in charge of Brass openly agreed with the leaders of both parties that t
he radio announcement was made by a superior officer and that it was binding.
But the artful and politically tested Rufus Spiff who had installed Hon. Ayebano
a as Council Chairman will not be put off by the Executive pronouncement of a la
ckey. So the company went to work countering the chairman’s order using one of th
em, Abraham Rufus Spiff, they got the commanding officer of the Naval contingent
in Brass to supervise their own election. The Naval officer, popularly known a
s “Oscar 1” has since been deployed as a result of protest from youths of Cameron Ho
use against a seeming partisan role and defiant order of the Council chairman wh
o is the chief security officer of the Council.
A video clip shown to The Beacon and shot at the instance of the Rufus Spiffs to
prove that the election went on peacefully, shows the DPO, some Naval personnel
and the SSS officer present at the September 19, 2001 sham election. No unifor
med policeman was, however, present. The DPO, worried about the consequences of
contravening the chairman’s order, could be heard in that video clip expressing s
ome reservation about the going ahead with the election. He did not come across
as a patriotic police determined to discharge the duties of maintaining law and
order in the LGA.
Speaking the mind of the hired crowd, Ernest Columbus, chairman of the CDC, coul
d be heard insisting that the election must take place that day. And, in appare
nt reference to the council chairman’s postponement order, he said, “Nobody can push
us (around).” Expressing the mood of that crowd, he affirmed he was willing to g
o to any length and to bear the consequences.
In this mood the counterfeit election, with Hon. Christian Omukoro, Councilor re
presenting Brass Ward II, acting as Returning Officer, was conducted. Under the
watchful eyes of Abraham, the head of the Naval contingent in Brass, the SSS of
ficer, and some armed Naval personnel providing security, Omukoro ensured that h
is chairman’s postponement order was defied. Working under cover of a purported a
greement signed by the youth leaders of the five war canoe houses with the DPO,
the SSS boss and the head of the Naval detachment as witnesses, Omukoro allowed
a controversial element to be introduced into the conduct of that election – an ar
rangee electorate made up of 20 delegates from each of the five War Canoe Houses
. The Olali group and many Twon youths who spoke to The Beacon insist that clau
se is an aberration; in fact, that the document is a forgery as such a clause wa
s not in the original document.
A cousin of Olali told The Beacon that the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Educat
ion, Mr. Inatimi Rufus Spiff, had a week before the September 19 election offere
d Olali a N2m bribe and had requested him to step down for Abadi. Asked why he
thought Inatimi would want Olali out of the race, he said, “Because of the forthco
ming LGA polls. Whoever controls the youths controls Twon-Brass. Olali is a gr
aduate and an idealistic young man who wouldn’t play ball with the politicians.”
Olali confirmed he was approached by Inatimi who wanted him to step down for Aba
di. Though he equally confirmed the bribe story, he was silent on the amount, on
ly saying that the Commissioner also offered to secure for him employment with t
he Bayelsa State Government. According to him, a desperate Inatimi said he was
willing to give him whatever he wanted only if he would accept to step down for
Abadi. He said when he refused Inatimi’s blandishments, he threatened to frustrate
A second motive adduced by Olali’s articulate and perspicacious cousin is the fact
that that the position of youth leader is an influential one which brings the h
older a lot of financial benefits. He went ahead to enumerate the benefits accr
uing to an elected youth leader:
(a) Easy access to Agip.
(b) He and his exco alone has the right to negotiate with Agip contractors t
he number of youths to be employed and to fix the salaries and wages of youths s
o employed;
(c) Anticipated role in the LNG project that would commence in 2003 and to b
e completed in 2005.
An elderly family source close to the Rufus Spiffs, but opposed to what he descr
ibed as “the meddlesomeness of Beinmonyo”, put the blame at the doorstep of the busi
nessman-politician/state Electoral Commissioner. This family source insists Bei
nmonyo and his fellow sponsors of the dreaded Isena Asawo cult want to strategic
ally position themselves so as to corner the goodies that would result from the
LNG project.
This close relative of the Rufus Spiffs, like most indigenes of Twon Brass who s
poke to The Beacon on condition of anonymity, and in some quiet place out of ear
shot, also maintains a politically ambitious Beinmonyo is responsible for the c
risis in the community. According to him, Beinmonyo is determined to impress on
Gov. DSP Alamieyeseigha and AGIP that he is relevant in Twon Politics. Linking
Beinmonyo to the Isena Asawo Cult (which he calls the Teme Group) he corroborat
ed the claim by most natives that Beinmonyo and his group were responsible for t
he disruption of the botched September 2 election. Said he, “The election took pl
ace at the St. Barnabas playground”. The method of voting was the Option A4 Open
Ballot System. Voters lined up behind their respective candidates. The Teme Gr
oup found out that Olali was clearly leading. As the women sang victory songs a
nd taunted Abadi and his Teme Group who had earlier boasted of victory, they got
angry and disrupted everything.”
The Rufus Spiff family source further revealed that this unhealthy, unprecedente
d development was reported to the outgoing youth leader, Charles Daniel, who adv
ised that a two-week cooling period be observed for tempers to cool. He said th
at after the two weeks it was discovered that “the atmosphere was still charged” as
the Teme Group continued to harass and intimidate members of the community. “This
,” he argues, “is what informed the Council Chairman’s unconditional postponement of t
he rescheduled youth leadership election. The unruly Teme Group refused and wen
t ahead to conduct the election their own way.”
He confirmed that “the Cameron House candidate, Kienyo Olali, for fear for his lif
e failed to show up.” The reason? “The Teme Group had gone around town firing sho
ts from AK 47 rifles and other small firearms.”
So, the election went according to the rules laid down by the masters of the Aba
di group. According to Mr. Ernest Eke-Spiff stepfather of the slain youth obito
boye Ikioye, “millions of Naira was brought into town in “Ghana-must-go-bags” to induc
e the youths. Each youth got at least N5, 000.00. Those who do not want to wor
k with them have been chased out of town.
The video clip which Abraham Spiff presented to The Beacon has their version of
what transpired on September 19 indicate that the vociferous crowd knew what to
As Christian Omukoro called out the names of the accredited delegates of the var
ious houses, each man answered to his name and each twenty formed a single file.
Under the watchful eyes of some armed men, the SSS boss in the area, Abraham Ruf
us Spiff, council secretary and known supporter of Abadi, each twenty came out t
o identify with its candidate.
At the conclusion of the election, Abadi, who was physically present, had sevent
y-two men standing behind him. Olali, represented by a bottle of beer, had just
nine youths identifying with him. Even Sambo War Canoe House, which traditiona
lly identifies with Cameron House, appears to have switched sides as the presume
d youth leader of Sambo Canoe House could be heard in that video clip declaring,
even before the election kicked off, that his house is for Abadi. It is certai
n that these imposters and other Nineteen from Sambo House were frauds. Abadi h
imself admitted to The Beacon that the youth leaders of Cameron and Sambo Houses
had informed the DPO at a meeting between him and the youth leaders of the five
houses that they are not ready for the September 19 election.
Since the youths and leaders of Cameron Canoe House had agreed they will comply
with the Council chairman’s order and boycotted the election, how Omukoro came by
his list of twenty from Cameron House remains doubtful. Had they been genuine a
ccredited delegates representing the interests of their house? It is certain th
at they would all have voted for Olali.
Inatimi’s threat to a recalcitrant Olali was just beginning to unfold. Having won
their election, Abadi and his group proceeded on the traditional egele gban (vi
ctory match/ parade). Starting with the Ada House Mausoleum, the victorious Aba
di group went around the community and tombs of the founding ancestors of the fi
ve War Canoe Houses.
When, however, the jubilant crowd got to the Cameron House mausoleum, it was bar
red from going in by youths of the House, who, according to their deputy leader,
William Obuala, were “to ponder the best way forward.” There, eyewitnesses informe
d The Beacon that members of Isena Asawo cult in the crowd who were armed with
guns started shooting into the air as soon as they got to the Cameron House maus
oleum. At the sound of automatic gun fire, there was pandemonium. The unarmed
youths of Cameron House took to their heels. Two women who watched from their s
afety of their homes said it was at this point that the late Ikioye, Olali’s nephe
w, was hit in the back of his head by Baribotei Amakiri, a notorious youth who h
ad been involved in two such violent attacks in the past. Several others receiv
ed matchet cuts. Overwhelmed, the youths of Cameron House abandoned their mauso
leum. The irate mob destroyed the white plastic chairs on which the fleeing Cam
eroun had been seating. Bottles of soft drinks they found there were broken and
used to stab the flat-footed Cameron House youths, therefore the victorious Aba
di was said to have urinated on the tombs of the founding fathers of Cameron Hou
Not done with the irate Isena Asawo cult members went after the fleeing youths o
f Cameron House. Conscious of the danger facing them, Olali and his supporters
fled the town. But the terror gang did not know this. They broke into the home
s of their opponents, looting and destroying household equipment. Those whose h
omes were looted or vandalized are: Twonbo Braah, Jacob Solomon, Ayibatonye Chri
stopher, Pagiye Ipagamote, William Obuala, Dogiabofa John, Timipre Braah and Toi
npre Isaac.
Meanwhile, the fatally wounded Ikioye laid groaning in a pool of his own blood.
Two of his aunts, Catherine Magnus (Mrs.) and Mrs. Rachael Dede, who witnessed
the savage attack came to the aid of the dying youth. With the help of a motorc
yclist, they rushed Ikioye, who was now at death’s door to the general hospital, B
Rachael informed The Beacon that they ran into Isena Asawo cultists on their way
to the hospital. She said the group was returning from Kemmer town, having con
cluded the traditional victory match and visit to the tombs of the founding fath
ers of the five War Canoe Houses that made up the town.
Hear her: “As we were taking the deceased to the hospital, we met the Isena Asawo
in the egele gban (victory match) at Kemmer town. They threatened to finish hi
m off. It was Emmanuel who pointed a riffle at him, threatening to finish him o
ff. But another member of the gang, a youth from Egwema pleaded with him. The
Egwema youth said, “after inflicted such a wound on him, it is wrong to kill him.”
“The motorcyclist can bear me witness.”
At the hospital, the medical doctor in charge of the General Hospital Brass, was
not in town that fateful Wednesday, September 19, 2001. Rachael and Catherine
did all that was humanly possible to save his life. They immediately raised eno
ugh money to charter a speed boat to convey the dying youth to Nembe, a forty-mi
nute boat ride from Twon-Brass. There, he was admitted at the General Hospital,
where the Doctors fought frantically to save his life. Ikioye, who had lost so
much blood from the gash in the back of his head, died at about 9am the followi
ng morning. His corpse was brought back and deposited at the General Hospital B
rass. And, as the news of his death spread in the town, the Isena Asawo cult me
mbers went wild. They poured out of their lair in Shidi Ama and headed for the
residence of William Obuala, the deputy youth leader of Cameron House. The hapl
ess William, who had refused to flee Twon, like Olali and others, was at home.
He was set upon by the barbarous group and savagely beaten up. He also received
several matchet cuts. Bleeding and groaning in pains, he was dragged, first to
the operational base of the Isena Asawo cult where he was falsely accused of th
e death of Ikioye and thereafter to the Divisional Police Station Brass. Dumped
at the Police Station, his assailants instructed the DPO to arrest and detain h
im as the murderer of the deceased Cameron youth. Of course, the DPO refused to
comply, insisting rather that the mutilated and bleeding William be taken to th
e hospital. The berserk and pitiless cultists will not oblige the DPO.
William Obuala who narrated his ordeal to The Beacon named: Gida Colombus, Gabri
el Patience, Ekine Ikiomogha Komiyere, Moses Blacky, Sisei Piri, Claudius John a
nd one Oruamabo as members of the Isena Asawo who brutally attacked him and left
him half dead at the Brass Police Station on Tuesday September 20th, 2001. He
also accused his cousin, chief A. B. Obuala Oturu as being one of the sponsors o
f the terror gang that viciously attacked him. . . .


Maria Ebikake, former chairman of the Brass Local Government Area and now PDP Wo
men Leader in the Bayelsa East Senatorial District is a journalist’s delight any d
On Monday, July 29, 2002 she opened up on the bloody, botched PDP primaries in B
rass. In a no-holds-barred interview with THE BEACON’s Associate Editor, G. Ebiny
o Ogbowei, she blamed the bloody crisis on the Bayelsa State Governor D.S.P. Ala
mieyeseigha and his Education Commissioner, Inatimi Rufus Spiff.
You have just returned from Abuja. Was the trip in relation with the botched PD
P primaries in the State?
You are quite correct. We have been in Abuja now for almost two weeks in respec
t of the party primaries. You are also aware that the primaries did not take pl
ace in Brass Local Government Area. And that we put in a protest letter. Fortun
ately, the National executive Committee listened to us and set up a panel to loo
k into the matter. We went there in order to face the panel, unfortunately, we
have not done that. We are gong back this week.
Madam, before we come back to this panel issue, can you tell us what transpired
in Brass during the primaries?
July 5, there were the PDP primaries all over the country, so we went to Brass.
Before then we has gathered the materials were being distributed from Governmen
t House in Yenagoa. That was the first shocking news. We wondered why party ma
terials would be distributed in Government House. By virtue of my position in t
he party,. I went to Government House with some other EXCO members, but we were
not allowed in. And before we knew what was happening, we told materials were b
eing transported to Brass by Agip Helicopter / we got to Brass some minutes past
ten in the morning. So many people came from the ten wards. Twon-Brass is the
Headquarters and so many people came an we waited until 7:35pm. But we did not
see the materials. But later in the day – at about 5:00p.m., the combined team of
the Navy and Army who were supposed to take care of the pipeline installations,
but later turned out to be party materials conductors, came and we were all won
dering why the materials had not arrived. They said they came so that they coul
d escort the materials down. But until 7:35pm there were no materials. The DPO
is a living witness. We left for Yenagoa at about 8:15 p.m.

Was there any fracas that led to materials not arriving at the party Secretariat
No, there was no fighting. What really happened was that the materials actually
were accompanied by the present Commissioner for Education, Inatimi Rufus Spiff
and one of the SIEC officials, Beinmonyo Spiff. Apparently, the two brothers a
ccompanied the materials to Brass. From that alone you can see the fraud, becau
se party materials were not supposed to be handled by State Exco members.
I think they are aware that they are not popular. By the time they heard that t
here were so many people from all the wards to pick up their materials, and know
ing fully well that all alon they had been deceiving the State Governor, Chef DS
P Alamieyeseigha that they are on ground … When they saw the number of people wai
ting for them there, they were not comfortable so they did not come to the party
Were the members of the electoral committee present there?
I wouldn’t know the people who were there because when we got to Government House,
we were not allowed in. from all what we gathered, the materials were handled
by the State Exco members from the different local government areas in Alamieyes
eigha’s cabinet. In other words, the Alamco leaders of the Alamieyeseigha 2003 ca
mpaign team were the ones who handled the materials.
But a different committee was supposed to handle them …?
The State Electoral Committee was headed by the Deputy Chairman of the party, Mr
. Fineman Wilson. But I would go further to state that even the Deputy Chairman
of Govt. Alamieyeseigha’s atrocities.
Now, let’s return to the party primaries in Brass. They said they were not held a
t all due to some unrest?
I am just reading that for the first time. There was nothing like that.
What do you think is the interest of Rufus Spiff brothers in the party primaries
in Brass?
Inatimi Rufus-Spiff, the Commissioner for Education is the co-ordinator of Alamc
o in the area, and in Bayelsa State all the elected people in government want to
return in 2003. He has planned all these stooges who came from NSM (National S
olidarity Movement), who won that seat in Brass Local Government through violenc
e. From all indications, from the happenings in Bayelsa State, you can see that
Alamieyeseigha believes in violence! That’s why we strongly believe that these p
eople would always use government. So, they have to exclude the party executive
from taking part in the party primaries.
Madam, don’t you think it is strange that your Governor would trust new entrants f
rom an opposition party, the NSM, and fully integrate them into the PDP mainstre
am, choosing to rely more on them then staunch members of the PDP who even took
the party to that LGA?
The Governor himself believes in violence as I said. On several occasions I hav
e has cause to discuss developments in Brass LGA with him. But every time he’d te
ll me. “Look, there is no way you can undermine Inatimi”. And I asked him, “Is it bec
ause they believe in violence?” And you also are aware that the Federal Governmen
t does not want to hear about violence. Even the Inspector General of Police do
es not want to hear about violence.
And we’ve tried as much as possible to impress on the Governor that we want PDP to
be on the ground.
I am not, by virtue of my party position, interested in who wins the primary. B
ut I insist the proper thing should be done. When something is being done fraud
ulently, I will never be part of it. And I have made Gov. Alamieyeseigha to und
erstand this. But, because he is a man whose second name is Violence, he has de
cided to put all his trust on those who are for violence.
Madam, the Rufus-Spiff brothers have been said to be part of the problems of Bra
ss politics in the last two years.
Not only in the last two years. The problems of Brass LGA started from 1999. A
fter that they went into the Community-Youth leadership thing. As I am talking
to you, one of the youth killed by this Rufus-Spiff group is still in the mortua
ry. Up till now, the Police have not done anything about it. And to add salt t
o injury, the State Government is giving them full support, and all the allegati
ons, protests we have made to the State Police Commissioner for Education and hi
s brother, SIEC Commissioner, Brass has not known peace.
What is the Business of AGIP in party primaries?
Well, when we noticed that materials for the primaries were not forthcoming, imm
ediately we got to Yenagoa, the party leaders put in a protest letter to the cha
irman od the electoral body, who is the Deputy Chairman of the party, Fineman Wi
lson. Before the letter was written, we has met with him and told him. He said
he was aware. Fortunately for the group, when we went to submit the letter at
the party secretariat, the Governor too was there, and I has a one-one-one discu
ssion with him. I told him, “Your Excellency, there was no party primaries in Bra
ss. Your people came with the materials and sat over it”. Do you know the Govern
or asked me? “Why didn’t you come over to Agip to do the election?”
I replied, “Your Excellency, how do you expect me to go to Agip? Is that where we
have the party secretariat?” And, for your information, we have already written
to Agip in respect of that anomaly they committed. And I personally handed over
the protest letter to the Governor.
Then to my uttermost surprise, after two days there was this announcement that t
here was an election in Brass. But the RSTV carried the news in its bulletin th
at there were no primaries in Brass. NTA too carried the report that there were
no primaries in Brass.
And I want to ask a few questions: What has Agip got to do with party affairs?
Number two, the Amanyanabo, (king Diete-Spiff) is somebody I respect so much … I c
an claim that I was responsible, with the assistance of my father, for making hi
m the Amannyanabo. When he became the Amanyanabo, there is this ritual … when you
install an Amanyanabo, you must look for so, so and so, and I was appointed to
make that preparation for him …. But since these two brothers came into PDP politi
cs in Braass, it has been something else, even with the Amanyanabo.
It’s been something else with the Amanyanabo. For now, I do not want to say anyth
ing about him.
Brass use to be a peaceful community. How has the Amanyanabo’s alliance with the
Spiff brothers created problems …?
I think I have to back to history again. When I was Local Government Chairman,
Inatimi Rufus-Spiff happened to be one of those that made it possible for me to
be chairman. Not in terms of financial support, but because of the moral suppor
t he gave me. His brother was then leading the GDM (Grassroot Democratic Moveme
nt). When I won, we went to the Tribunal. You know the system in this country.
When you don’t have money you don’t win cases. I didn’t have money to spend. I did
n’t have money to give to the tribunal, so I lost at the lower tribunal and at the
Appeal Tribunal. However. What brought us back to power was the Constitutional
Court which the then government (sic) brought in. The Appeal Court that sat in
Port Harcourt on April 25, 1998 reversed the decision of the other tribunals.
Do you know that after my victory, Inatimi Rufus-Spiff came to my room? We were
together in my bedroom and he asked me to give N3m to his younger brother, then
leader of GDM! And I told him …
On a montly basis?
No, for them not to go to court. That’s pay-off. I said, “Look, there’s no way I can
get three million Naira. Number two; are you talking of GDM as a whole, or you
as an individual?” He said it’s him that he had been spending so much money, and s
o I should give him the money. I now said, “If that is the case, then let them go
to court”. That was why they went to court. I did not give them any money. And
, towards the end of my tenure, the day the (late) Head of State, Gen. Abacha di
ed, there was youth restiveness in Brass, which involved Agip and the youth. Ap
parently, they used Agip as a base. And I went into it as the Chief Security Of
ficer of the LGA. In the evening we pronounced a curfew. It didn’t go down well
with them until July 9, 1998 when we driven away from Brass by some mercenaries
brought in by Beinmonyo Spiff and Inatimi Spiff.
You know, when I refused to honour that request we started having problems, myse
lf and Inatimi. That was the beginning of the problems in Brass LGA. They made
it impossible and I was driven out of that place …
So, this restiveness, this violence started from Inatimi Rufus-Spiff and Beinmon
yo Spiff. That was the genesis …
And to be frank, the Amanyanabo came to pay me a sympathy visit at my house, wit
h some other chiefs. Then I was still wearing my POP (Plaster of Paris). He sp
oke at length on how we were going to curb these excesses. That was then. Pres
ent-day happenings, I am really worried that he (Amanyanabo) could take sides wi
th these brothers.
Recently, you know, some of the boys that were arrested during the primaries, te
n people, including Hon. Belief, representing Constituency III in the State Hous
e of Assembly and on Inatimi’s side, who was caught with a pump-action gun and amm
unition … himself and two others from Okpoma and another two from Akassa. The com
bined team impounded the consignment from them. But, I don’t know how this same g
roup that was arrested with guns and ammunitions convinced the combined (securit
y) team. They went to town, moving from house to house and found matchets in a
house where about seven of my loyalists were. They arrested these seven boys.
As I am talking to you right now, my brother these people are in Police cell in
Yenagoa. Some are in NNS Okemmini, some at the Rivers State Police Command, som
e in Yenagoa Police Headquarters. Strangely they have refused those who were ca
ught with matchetes bail.
But those caught with guns were allowed bail?
No, no, they are still there. It is only the House of Assembly guy that was rel
eased. He was set free the same day they caught him with the gun! So, we don’t r
eally know what is going on in this country. We really don’t know! You see them
committing an offence and you cannot hold on to that thing because of government
al interest.
Madam, after the botched primaries, because your group refused to go into Agip C
amp for the primaries, there followed an interesting pattern of destruction.
Yes, the primaries were to have been held of a Friday. So many people came from
all the ten wards except Okpoma. So about 9 wards’ representatives were there fo
r the primaries. As the two brothers learnt of the population of party supporte
rs that had gathered, they did not come with the materials. Inatimi Spiff’s minor
ity group was scared. They ran into the bush. And with the help of the combine
d team. They were able to bring them out. But they were afraid the larger group
might overpower them. The combined team brought them together to sign an under
taking that there would be peace in Brass. That undertaking was signed on Sunda
y (July 7, 2002).
So, when you talk of signing, who signed the undertaking?
The Inatimi group, his younger brother who happens to be the Local Government Se
cretary; so you can see that they are very triumvirate. Three of them control B
rass Local Government. So, they now signed to be of good behaviour. The combin
ed team made them sign on Sunday, but to my utmost surprise, on Monday they coo
ked up a story and convinced the Bayelsa State Police Command, the Commissioner
of Police, that some people has been driven into the bush.
However, when the Police arrived they confirmed that everywhere was peaceful. B
ut apart from that, the Navy itself told the Police that everything was peaceful
. To my surprise they started a spate of destruction, and that was how they des
troyed Prof. Ordu’s house. So many houses were destroyed in that protest. Some p
eople were beaten into a state of coma. Even the mother of a member of the Sta
te House of Assembly representing that Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Charles, was
beaten into a state of coma. So many party supporters had their limbs broken.
Right now, some of them are still in hospital!
One of them is right here in your house, madam?
Yes. Because we found out that he was not being taken care of in Yenagoa, we de
cided to move him to Port Harcourt. Yes, he is one of the victims. Look at his
face, it is stitched. His house, everything, destroyed!
We are told he is a very popular hotelier in Brass, and has lost everything.
And those who did this are the same people who signed the undertaking to keep th
e peace?
Yeah! The same Inatimi brothers, Abraham Rufus-Spiff, they were aided by the Mo
bile Police. As they were destroying, the Mopol group was covering them.
And that is the problem I have with the Governor of Bayelsa State. I stand by t
he truth and I tell him to his face. He is responsible for all the trouble we h
ave in Brass Local Government.
We read in the papers that the Speaker of the Bayelsa State Assembly has been su
spended, and from the grapevine we are told he was involved in a case of kidnapp
There is no need pretending, when you know the facts. On one of our trips to Ab
uja, we were to meet with the (PDP) National Executive Committee, headed by Chie
f Audu Ogbeh. All those who put in protest letters were invited. We protested
on behalf of Brass Local Government. About 31 of us were there, with the state
party chairman and secretary.
In Bayelsa PDP, the Central working Committee (CWC), has 11 members. Seven memb
ers on one side, three on the Governor’s side, and one neutral member who happens
to be the Legal Adviser of the party. So. We were now asked to state whatever g
rievances we had against the aborted primaries. I did not fail to tell the Gove
rnor that there no primaries. I also did not fail to tell the National Executiv
e Committee that the materials were distributed from Government House, airlifted
by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company. In short, all the discussion I held with the
Governor I laid it open there.
When the Legal Adviser stood up to say something on Ekeremor LGA, he narrated ho
w Policemen were kidnapped, how he was hit on the head with a St. Remmy bottle;
how he was kidnapped and kept in Hon. Ebibi’s (Bayelsa House of Assembly Speaker’s)
house. The Governor himself corroborated the story, explaining how he pleaded
t\with Ebebi to release the Policemen who were taken hostage. It was then the N
ational Chairman suspended Hon. Ebebi from the party. That number one.
Two, the Transport Officer, who happens to be a cousin of the Governor’s too, was
reprimanded there by the National Chairman through the Governor, who was asked t
o curb his cousin’s excesses, arguing that as a civil servant, a Transport Officer
he has nothing to do with party politics.
Before then, Gov. Alamieyeseigha was asked to make his own comment. So, after i
ndicting Ebebi, he went further to insist that if the National Exco should call
for a repeat of the primaries he would resign as the Governor. He went further
to say that even if the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria insists on
a repeat of the primaries, he (Alamieyeseigha) was going to resign …
So it’s confirmed now, because Hon. Ebebi is the child of Alamieyeseigha …
As far as I am concerned, if I am to give him (Alamieyeseigha) a second name, th
at name will be Violence.
In Abuja, the Governor did say, and it is no longer a secret, … that with the quan
tity of arms and ammunition that we have in Bayelsa State we can favourably figh
t, compete with the Federal Government. And I felt that was a pregnant statemen
t …
What is your impression regarding the apparent pattern of violence unleashed on
Nembe, Brass, and Ogbia …?
… In case of Ogbia, the Woman Leader of the state PDP stood up during our meeting
with the National Exco, where the Governor and his Deputy were in attendance. S
he confirmed that … there was no election. The materials went to Otuoke, Dr. Jona
than’s home base, instead of Ogbia town, headquarters of the LGA … The statement was
that the police were shooting,.. some people got shot in the leg. …
…I want to use this medium to thank the Inspector General of Police . . . . He mad
e it possible for me to have an audience with him and he listened carefully to a
ll our problems. And for the past few days now, you can see some changes in the
security situation in Bayelsa State.
We the members of the Twon Council of Chiefs write once again to complain to the
office of the Commissioner of Police Bayelsa State, where we have made several
complaints in writing and personal appearances to complain of the lousy state of
affairs in Twon Brass. Our first letter of complaint dated 4 October 2001 (see
photocopy attached) was on “Recent happenings in Twon Brass leading to the death
of a youth and serious injury to many others”. We followed up our letter and had
detailed discussions with the then Commissioner of Police Udo Udo Ubam. We disc
ussed in details our problems with a group in Twon Brass by name Isena-Asawo tha
t were well armed and constituted a menace to those who were not in support of C
ommander Alfred Diete-Spiff (rtd) because a case contesting his Amanyanaboship o
f Twon Brass was with the Appeal Court Port Harcourt.
Some two weeks before our letter of 4 October 2002, the Youths and Elders of Cam
eron House Twon Brass had on 20 September 2001 written to the Commissioner of Po
lice on the “Breakdown of law and order, malicious damage, loss of life and furthe
r threat to life” (see copy of letter attached to the copy of 4 October 2001). In
the letter of 20 September 2001, the sponsors of the Isena-Asawo group were men
tioned. It must be noted that some of them notably Hon. Christian Mukoro saw re
ason for abandoning the useless cause of the Isena-Asawo group and withdrew his
support for them and as a result he was made to suffer this time for his effront
ery in abandoning the useless group.
We hasten to clearly state here that the Isena-Asawo group was joined just recen
tly (about April 2001) by the Twon Brass boys but their nefarious activities hav
e not gone down well with the parent bodies at Odiama and Nembe and they have th
us being disowned and now go by the name Yanawari boys.
The activities of the Isena-Asawo boys in Twon Brass had earlier given us the im
pression that it was a cult group. It was when the Twon Brass Isena-Asawo was o
stracized by the parent body at Odiama and Nembe, that we came to realize that t
he aims and objectives of the Isena-Asawo group was noble and essentially was ge
ared towards peace and harmony in a community.
The current sponsors/leaders of the Twon Brass Isena-Asawo now Yanawari Boys, ar
e Mr. Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff, Mr. Abraham Rufus Spiff, Chief A. Obuala –Oturu, Chie
f Friday Ezima Otikiri, Chief Ololo Demain, Mr. Wilberforce Olali, Mr. Muda Tonw
orio Bendick, Mr. Earnest Columbus, Mr. Emmanuel Ngeri, Mr. Suoyo Goodhead and M
r. Tekenate Isaac, all working for the interest of Commander Diete Spiff (rtd).
In spite of the letters of 20 September 2001 and 4 October 2002, nothing was don
e by the Police by way of arrest and investigation into our claims. This tended
to support the boasts of the Isena-Asawo now Yanawari Boys that their leaders a
nd sponsors have so much clout that no matter the report, the Police will do not
The Council of Chiefs again wrote the Commissioner of Police on 26 March 2002 on
“Further Acts of Indiscipline by the Isena-Asawo Cult Boys in Twon-Brass” (see copy
attached). It must be stated here that after Commissioner of Police Udo Udo Uba
m was transferred from Yenagoa, we met his successor Commissioner Yusuf Haruna w
ho we very much regretted lasted for just about a month because he was promoted
AIG. He showed every sign and willingness to solve the menace of the Isena-Asaw
o now Yanawari Boys in Brass.
It is now your tenure Commissioner of Police Udo Ekpo Udom and this petition req
uires your urgent attention. We have taken pains to chronologically list the th
reat and menace of the atrocious activities of the Isena-Asawo now Yanawari Boys
, which was first, reported to the DPO Brass by the Secretary of the Twon Counci
l of Chiefs on 19 April 2001, to be able to draw your attention to the indiffere
nt and nonchalant manner in which our complaints were treated to date.
The purpose of this letter is to intimate you of the most recent actions of the
Isena-Asawo now Yanawari Boys who on 8 July under the supervision of the Mobile
Police (MOPOL) selectively carried out the destruction of the property of those
cult boys believe or perceived to be opponents of Commander Diete-Spiff (rtd) pa
rticularly those involved in the appeal case against him as Amanyanabo.
Many Youths who were not towing the line of the Isena-Asawo now Yanawari Boys we
re shot or matched and seriously injured. The antecedent to this was the PDP pr
imaries slated for Brass on 5 July 2002, which did not hold because two factions
of the PDP did not agree with one another. Prior to this the Twon Brass Commun
ity was highly polirised into the Pro and Anti Commander Diete-Spiff camps but t
his was not a political polarization.
The fracas between the intra PDP groups resulted in some unrest in Brass and the
Naval personnel at the Brass Terminal brokered peace between the two party fact
ions over the Primary weekend and a peace accord signed on Sunday 7 July 2002 by
both sides. It was surprising therefore that on Monday 8 July 2002 a contingen
t of the Mobile Police (MOPOL) entered Brass and with the assistance of the MOPO
L stationed at Okpoama escorted some boys and men into Brass and gave cover to t
hem by shooting into the air to scare away the inhabitants of Brass and supervis
ed the selective burning/destruction and looting of the houses belonging to the
Chiefs and people of Cameron, Sambo and Kemmer Group of Houses that were perceiv
ed to be against Commander Diete-Spiff the contentious Amayanabo.
We had thought that the MOPOL were usually sent to keep peace in a restive commu
nity. We never for once ever imagined that they would actively supervise people
carrying out destruction. Many of the inhabitants of Twon Brass are willing to
come out and testify to the fact that the boys loyal to Alfred Diete-Spiff led
by Beinmoyo Rufus Spiff, Abraham Rufus Spiff, Chief A. Obuala-Oturu, Chief Frida
y Ezima-Otikiri, Chief Ololo Demain group was responsible for inviting the MOPOL
to Brass. Specifically those who arrange for the MOPOL to invade Twon Brass ar
e Mr. Inatimi Rufus Spiff, Commissioner of Education, Bayelsa State, Mr. Beinmo
nyo Rufus Spiff, a Commissioner in the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commi
ssion, Mr. Abraham Rufus Spiff, Secretary of the Brass Local Government Council
and Mr. Ngo Nathaniel Silver, their candidate for the Local Government Council C
hairmanship election. Those affected who are not in politics see no reason to h
ave been included in their political vendetta.
Those who led the MOPOL in their destructive campaign in Twon Brass and pointed
houses for destruction were Mr. Wilberforce Olali (a.k.a. Fearless), Mr. Twonbo
Braah all from Twon Brass and both Mr. Seigha Firstman (a staff of the Ministry
of Commerce and Industry, Yenagoa) and Mr. Iponomokuma Omubo from the neighborin
g Okpoama. We attached herewith the list of the youths who actively took part i
n the destruction as well as details of those whose properties were destroyed.
The invasion by the MOPOL on the invitation of Mr. Inatimi Rufus-Spiff, Commissi
oner of Education, Bayelsa State, Mr. Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff, a Commissioner in t
he Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission with the active support of Com
mander Alfred Diete-Spiff, raises one pertinent question and that is how come th
e Bayelsa State Police command paid deaf ears to all our complaints and overacte
d by destroying properties of people who are not involved in politics when the I
natimi Rufus-Spiff, Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff and Commander Alfred Diete-Spiff group
made their complaints? We demand justice from you by apprehending both the MOP
OL and the leaders and youths involved in the massive destruction and injury per
petrated on Monday 8 July 2002.
We remain.
Yours Sincerely,
On behalf of the Twon Council of Chiefs.

The Inspector General of Police, Abuja
The Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 5, Benin.
BRASS 8/7/2002
1. Mr. Abraham Rufus Spiff
2. Hon. (Fearless) Wilberforce Olali
3. Mr. Ngo Nathaniel Silva
4. Mr. Abadi Willian (Youth Leader)
5. Mr. Amakiri Baribote
6. Mr. Nimiworio Kwesi (alias Akanaka)
7. Mr. Ikisa Ezimah
8. Mr. Okoro Ezimah
9. Mr. Timipre Braah
10. Mr. Twonbo Braah
11. Mr. Emeka Barnaman Festus
12. Mr. Police Barnaman Festus
13. Mr. Claude John
14. Mr. Daddy Ngeri
15. Mr. Temple Berenengia
16. Mr. Kukubaye Lawrence Loveday
17. Mr. Ebinyo George
18. Mr. Diboy Olali Appah
19. Mr. Lucky Kakain
20. Mr. Ayiba Alagoa
21. Mr. Sunday Newton
22. Mr. Parker Standfast
23. Mr. Ablessy Blessing Komiyere
24. Mr. Bomo Ngeri
25. Mr. Jonathan Diribodi
26. Mr. James Abrakassa
27. Mr. Emmanuel Ngeri
28. Mr. Iponomokuma Omubo (recruited from Okpoama)
29. Mr. Seigha Firstman (recruited from Okpoama)
1. Chief (Prof.) C.T.I. Odu-Cameron House damaged, property looted,
lost about N350,000.00 over N76,000.00 seized from wife
2. Chief J.B. Charles-Eremfamokuma House damaged, property and documents bu
3. Chief M.I. William-Kemmer House damaged.
4. Chief (Surv.) Bio Ibogomo-Gbeyasa Property destroyed/burnt
5. Chief J.E. Temebara-Akimigha House damaged, property burnt.
6. Chief K.B. Pogo Sieri Seriously beaten, house damaged, property burnt.
7. Chief D.S.P. Eminah Seriously beaten, house damaged, property burnt.
8. Dep. O. Charles Sinte-Kemmer Seriously beaten, house completely burnt
, store completely burnt with all property.
9. Mr. Godwin Oniye Seriously beaten and wounded, property burnt, lo
st four teeth.
10. Mr. Ayebatonye Christopher Seriously beaten and wounded, property b
11. Ms. Sia Opuakpa Property burnt, beaten and sum of N30,000.00 stolen
12. Mr. Alagoa Charles All property burnt
13. Mr. Ayebaifie Charles Property burnt, N125,000.00 stolen
14. Mad. Grace Barigha Seriously beaten, property burnt.
15. Mrs. Inagbo Hannah Eminah Beaten to a state of coma, property burn
16. Mr. Ikaebinyo Charles All property destroyed.
17. Mr. Ebifate Williams Property including books burnt.
18. Mr. Kingsley Amange Seriously beaten and wounded, property burnt.
19. Blessing Amange Store destroyed and vandalized
20. Mrs. Susanah Ibogomo House damaged, property burnt.
21. Bubeleye Charles Property destroyed/burnt.
22. Ms. Ayonaemi Sonny Seriously beaten, wounded and property burnt. W
rist watch worth N20,000.00 stolen.
23. Mr. Ebiye Golden Property burnt.
24. Ms. Paulina Komiyere Property burnt.
25. Mr. Isreal Charles Property burnt.
26. Mr. Paul Jacob Property burnt, N83,000.00 stolen.
27. Hon. Christian Mukoro House destroyed, 200 bags of cement, property de
28. Ayebasuonyo Debo Property destroyed.
29. Wanate Dakolo Property destroyed.
30. Delayefa Charles Property destroyed.
31. Seiyefa Jacob Property destroyed.
32. Charles Jonah Property destroyed.
33. Numoipre Pogo Property destroyed.
34. Madam Fifagha Edward Property destroyed.
35. Ms. Ibitere Sonny Property destroyed and N50,000.00 stolen.
36. Ms. Helen Sibo Property destroyed.
37. Ms. Alafuro Charles Property destroyed.
38. Mad. Rachael Dede Property destroyed.
39. Olaye Georgewill Property destroyed.
40. Inain Aboki Property destroyed.


The Inspector-General of Police,
The Nigeria Police,
Force Headquarters,
Louis Edet House,
Dear Sir,
We recently on 12 July 2002, wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police Bayels
a State Command, Yenagoa and copied same to you (we attach another copy for your
perusal). In the letter we listed chronologically our earlier petitions to the
Commissioner of Police stating our unhappiness with the nonchalant attitude of
the Bayelsa State Police since we first reported the case of some armed youths u
nder the control of Mr. Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff, a Commissioner in the State Indep
endent Electoral Commission (SIEC), Mr. Inatimi Rufus Spiff, the Commissioner fo
r Education, Bayelsa State and their mentor Commander Alfred Diete Spiff (retire
d) who constituted themselves into a serious menace in Twon Brass. We followed
this with a petition to the then Commander of Police when the rampage of these a
rmed youths led to the death of one Mr. Obiteboye Ikioye on 21 September 2001.
The corpse of this boy is still at the mortuary Brass and since our report, ther
e has been no investigation and/or arrest of those who committed the crime. Det
ails of all these are contained in our petitions of 26th March and 4th October 2
001 attached to our petition of 12 July 2002, again hereby attached.
It has become imperative that we now directly appeal to you to save our souls si
mply because the attitude of the Commissioner of Police when we went to have an
interview with him after our last petition of 12 July 2002 was such that there w
as no iota of doubt that he is under the strong influence of the Beinmonyo Rufus
Spiff brother working actively for Commander Alfred Diete Spiff whose Amanyanab
oship of Twon Brass is currently on appeal at the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt.
We see the destruction of our properties as a deliberate attempt by the supporte
rs of Commander Spiff and his cohorts using the recent PDP primaries as an excus
e to cause deliberate damage. Commander Spiff seems to have secured the support
of the Bayelsa State Police Commissioner and Governor as the youths who carried
out the dastardly action on our properties boasted openly that they have the ma
ndate to even kill if necessary because they have been assured of the backing of
Commander Diete-Spiff and the Governor.
The attitude of the Commissioner of Police Bayelsa State to us was therefore not
surprising because rather than investigating the report, he chose to invite tho
se whom we reported and us to interview as can be seen from the copy of the Poli
ce Wireless Message attached he sent to the DPO Brass. This has always been the
pattern. Any time we make a report on some serious matter, calling both partie
s is the order of the day while if the Spiff group does so; it is a question of
quick arrest and detention.
The Police Wireless Message attached is very instructive. The Commissioner rece
ived our petition on 15/7/2001 and sent the wireless message next day to the DPO
not for him to investigate our complaint, but to invite those whom we complaine
d about to dialogue with us. This was the driving force that made us feel our c
omplaints will go uninvestigated as usual especially when we had complained that
the MOPOL supervised the wanton destruction of our properties.
Our prayer to you therefore, is that justice be done to us by you, using your go
od offices to investigate all our complaints, which the Bayelsa State Police has
failed to do for obvious reasons. We are encouraged to take solace from the st
atement made by President Olusegun Obasanjo on 4 August 2002, during his monthly
media chat on the NTA, that he cannot allow the encouragement by Governors, of
groups that unleash violence, and his determination to deal with such groups ser
iously and in a way they will know that violence will not be tolerated.
We remain.

Yours Sincerely,
On behalf of the Twon Council of Chiefs.


The Managing Director,

Nigerian Agip Oil Company,
Plot PC 23, Engineering Close,
P.O. Box 1268,
Victoria Island,
Dear Sir,
Multinational Oil Companies operating in Nigeria have on various occasions been
accused of a number of atrocious activities. Prominent among these activities i
s their instigation of inter and intra communal clashes in their operational are
as. These activities are the divide and rule tactics which multinational oil co
mpanies have sometimes been erroneously accused of in their bid to achieve their
self-interests. We very enlightened and seasoned community leaders do not beli
eve it is a deliberate policy of the multinationals to cause confusion and disaf
fection within their operational areas but rather, some lousy oil company offici
als who are in contact with these communities are responsible for giving their c
ompany a bad name. Such officials act arrogantly and do not care much about the
corporate image of the companies they represent, knowing fully well that the hos
t communities take the actions of such officers as representing the policies of
their company.
We have chosen Captain V. Mauro, Swamp Area Manager, NAOC, Brass to illustrate o
ur postulate of oil company executives being responsible for the disaffection mu
ltinationals have with their host communities. We attached herewith nine (9) ph
otocopies of newspapers publications and letters written in the past to buttress
our allegations.
Our problems with Captain Mauro started when he put the lives of some of us in d
anger when he refused permission of a Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)
helicopter carrying some of us to land on the NAOC helipad in Brass despite the
fact that Bristol helicopters, the operators of SPDC charter, had got clearance
from NAOC’s Aero contractors at Port Harcourt and Brass before leaving Port Harco
urt for Brass (see attachment 1 from Banner News). It must be noted that this a
trocious act was not linked to the then General Manager, Mr. Antonio Vella
(see Attachment 2 from the Weekend Tide).
Despite the publication in the South-South Express Newspaper of September 8, 200
0 (Attachment 3) that Agip apologized over the chopper incident, we received no
such apology. Instead, the relationship between NAOC Brass and us became sourer
as Captain Mauro decided to dabble into the local politics of the Brass Communi
ty by taking sides (see Attachment 4) with a section of the community. This is
the Amanyanabo (King) led faction of Alfred Diete-Spiff – a group supported by Mr.
Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff whom NAOC has allowed to act as a privileged NAOC executi
ve in the Brass Terminal. The Amanyanabo’s led faction surfaced because Alfred Di
ete Spiff’s Amanyanaboship was challenged in Court.
Captain Mauro recklessly took sides to the extent of teaming up with the Alfred
Diete-Spiff group and virtually making them employees of NAOC by providing accom
modation for them at the NAOC Base anytime they visited Brass. Through Captain
Mauro and acting on behalf of Alfred Diete-Spiff, Beinmonyo Rufus succeeded in t
he cancellation and/reduction of NAOC’s contracts owned by the anti-Amanyanabo gro
up in Brass (see Attachment 4).
Apart from the cancellation and reduction of contracts, Captain Mauro and his pr
o-Amanyanabo group have decided to employ only supporters of the pro-Amanyanabo
group. Before the antics of Captain Mauro, NAOC at Brass had been very fair in
their recruitment of labour and the award of contracts. NAOC always took into c
onsideration nominations from the five Houses system that exist in Brass i.e. th
e Cameron, Sambo, Shidi, Spiff, and Kemmer houses. When the Mauro nemesis start
ed, labour and other contracts were denied the anti-Amanyanabo group in all the
Houses. The Cameron and Kemmer Houses in particular were severely affected; the
headships of these Houses were out tune with the pro-Amanyanabo group. This ostr
acism was even extended to scholarship awards to Brass indigenes. The Heads of H
ouses who as a rule-endorsed scholarship forms for direct submission to NAOC hav
e now been bypassed and left to the Alfred Diete Spiff/Beinmonyo Rufus Spiff gro
Dissatisfied with the image NAOC had painted, the Twon Council of Chiefs on 27th
December, 2002 wrote the General Manager District (Attachment 5). Without any r
esponse we wrote another letter on 23rd January, 2001 (Attachment 6) requesting
an appointment to discuss our grievances. Our request was not granted. Apparentl
y Captain Mauro must have given his superiors such a very had impression that th
e General Manager District did not entertain our request for dialogue. The anti-
Amanyanabo group was debarred from having access to chopper flights to and from
Brass while the pro-Amanyanabo group had free access as well as board and lodgin
g within the NAOC Base at Brass. Alfred Diete-Spiff the Amanyanabo (King) and Be
mmonyo Rufus Spiff reside in the NAOC terminal and eat at the mess; a situation
we consider very derogatory for an Amanyanabo of Twon Brass who should reside in
his Palace within the town if he has one! The family status accorded Alfred Die
te-Spiff and Bemmonyo Rufus Spiff and his brother Inatimi Rufus Spiff resulted
in the NAOC Base being used as a center for rigging the PDP primary elections in
the Brass Local Government Area (Attachment 7,8,9).
We have watched for quite some time the antics of Captain Mauro and his keen int
erest in the local politics of Brass and we feel the time is ripe for NAOC to hi
m call him to order over his activities that have painted NAOC in very bad light
in the Twon Brass Community whose silent majority have been downtrodden as a wa
y of economically strangulation the anti-Amanyanabo group which constitutes the
majority. We with all due respect state that part of Captain Mauro’s problems aris
e from the fact that he has been at the NAOC Base for far too long, about ten ye
ars and begin to wonder whether this is by design or default. We consider it nec
essary that our letter of 23rd January, 2001 be honoured and that we be invited
to enable the Twon Council of Chiefs discuss with you or the General Manager Dis
trict, to air our grievances and find ways and means by which the completely fra
gmented and polarized Brass Community can be restored to the status quo as a mea
ns of restoring the confidence of the Brass Community towards NAOC. This is of
utmost importance as the continuation of the antics of Captain Mauro will lead t
o the point of explosion, the uneasy calm that now exists in Brass.
Yours very sincerely,
The Chief Executive Officer
ENI Exploration and Production Division,
Via Emilia, 1,
20097 San Donato,
The General Manager,
Nigeria Agip Oil Company,
Mile 4, Ikwerre Road.

=The End=
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About the author:
The author of this book, Mr Charles Alfred, is from Twon-Brass, Bayelsa-State of
Nigeria and he is at
present a PhD student

About the book:

This book covers the total historical development and growth of all aspects of T
won-Brass from remembered times to the present. The book in details answered all
puzzling ancient and modern questions about the commercial; the compounds; the
families; the kingship; the social; the religious, the cultural histories and th
e true origin of the geographic space called Twon-Brass in Bayelsa State of Nige