Governor Theodore Orji has threatened to dethrone any traditional ruler in Abia State found to be engaging in or aiding and abetting oil pipelines vandalization or illegal oil bunkering.
Orji handed down the warning when he met with traditional rulers from the oil communities of Ukwa West and Osisioma Ngwa council areas of the state following increased activities of pipeline vandals in the areas.
The governor's threat was also prompted by the allegation that some traditional rulers and well placed people from the LGAs were involved in the illegal activities.
Meanwhile, Orji has sent a bill to the state House of Assembly proposing that illegal bunkering and breaking of pipelines be made capital offences.
According to him, government had received petitions that some royal fathers were involved in illegal oil bunkering and vandalization of oil pipelines. He warned such people to desist forthwith or face being disgraced by government.
"I have called you for a special purpose. The major thing I have called you is because of what is happening in your areas, breaking of oil pipelines and stealing oil. The activities of these people have affected the allocation of the state. Because of this, we have for some months received nothing from 13% derivation and it is affecting the development of the state," the governor said.