From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Benin Royal Family has announced the suspension of Professor Gregory Akenzua from the family.

Professor Gregory Akenzua is one of the suspended Enigie (Dukes) who had taken the Oba of Benin to court, challenging their suspension as Enigie in the kingdom.

A Professor of Pediatrics, former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin and former chairman of the Governing Council of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Professor Gregory Akenzua is a younger brother to Oba Erediauwa, the father of Oba Ewuare II.

Addressing a press conference, members of the royal family said Professor Akenzua, against all entreaties, has chosen to challenge the Benin Traditional Institution through his acts “that are utterly at variance with the customs and tradition of the Benin people, and the core values of the Benin Royal Family”.

The press statement read on behalf of the royal family by Prince George Eweka said: “Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua, has betrayed the core values of respect for the Benin Customs and Tradition; devotion and submission to the customary hierarchy of the Benin Kingdom; and respect for customary arbitration process. Instead, he has chosen the path of rebellion.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Royal Family wishes to emphasize that His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin occupies a unique position as the father of every member of the Benin Royal Family irrespective of age. Hence the Royal family does not have an Okaegbe, like other families in Benin Kingdom, but Odion Egbe who is required by tradition to defer to His Royal Majesty.

“The Royal Family also notes that in utter violation of the hierarchy of succession to the Odion-Egbe position of the Benin Royal Family, Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua has been parading himself as the Odion-Egbe of the Royal Family, and has held meetings to assert himself as such when he knows that he is not rightfully entitled to the position being far lower in the hierarchy of seniority in the Benin Royal Family.

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“The Benin Royal Family has given ample opportunities to Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua to retrace his steps and return to the path of honour and dignity.

“Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua has snubbed and rejected the opportunities provided by the Royal Family for him to retrace his wrongful steps.

“After a careful review of the facts, the Benin Royal Family has decided as follows:

“Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua is hereby suspended from the Benin Royal Family for his acts of rebellion against the Benin Traditional Institution.

“Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua is no longer to participate in any activity connected with the Benin Royal Family;

“All members of the Benin Royal Family are strongly directed not to relate, associate, or engage with Professor Gregory Idurobo Akenzua for as long as he remains suspended from the Benin Royal Family,” the family said.

When contacted for his reaction, Professor Akenzua said he was in Lagos “for an engagement” and requested time.

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