Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano has suspended for one year the 12 traditional rulers who travelled to Abuja last week for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The monarchs allegedly backed by oil magnate Prince Arthur Eze hit the national capital, allegedly aiming to submit a petition against the governor to Buhari over the alleged mismanagement of council funds allocated since he (Obiano) came to power.
However, they could not meet with the President.The state government is said to be unhappy over the monarchs’ romance with Eze, who has been critical of the Obiano administration in recent days.
In a statement yesterday by the state Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Greg Obi, the state government said the monarchs made the trip without permission.
He listed the royal fathers as Igwe Alex Edozieuno (Mkpunando), Igwe Mark Okonkwo (Alor), Igwe Chukuwma Orji (Ezinifite), Igwe G.B.C. Mbakwe (Abacha), Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo (Nawfia), Igwe Nkeli Nelly (Igbariam) and Igwe Anthony Onyekwere (Owelle).
Others are Igwe A. N. Onwuneme (Ikenga), Igwe Simon Chidubem (Umumbo), Igwe S. O. Uche (Ezira), Igwe Emeka Ilouno (Ifitedunu) and Igwe Peter Udoji (Eziagulu Out).
According to Obi, the suspension took effect from August 11. He also said the certificates of recognition given the traditional rulers had been withdrawn for one year.
The state government warned them against parading themselves as traditional rulers in their communities “or elsewhere in the state and beyond”.
The commissioner said the suspension could be lifted, renewed or upgraded depending on government’s review of their conduct. He added: “Also revoked are their membership of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and any appointments they may be holding in government committees until the suspension is lifted.”
The Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council led by the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, had condemned the suspended monarch’s trip to Abuja.
It was learned that the suspension of the monarchs followed the recommendation of their colleagues after their meeting at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a 56-year-old man, Ben Ifeatu, based in Isiagu, Awka South Council, was arraigned yesterday for allegedly giving false information to the police about the traditional ruler of his community, Igwe Austin Nwankwo.
In his petition dated January 22, 2019 to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bassey Abang, Ifeatu alleged that the monarch had a fake certificate of recognition.
When the matter came up at the Magistrates’ Court III, Awka, the prosecuting counsel, Augustine Obu, said following Ifeatu’s petition, the monarch was arrested.
However, he said the state Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Town Union Matters cleared Nwankwo.
According to Obu, Ifeatu’s offence contravened Section 154, Sub A & B of the Criminal Code Law of Anambra State 1991. After the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, the presiding Magistrate, Mrs Nonye Anyaegbunam, adjourned till August 19, 2020 for continuation of hearing.