A legal practitioner, Mr. Nnaemeka Ejiofor, has called on the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to handle issues of the state constitutionally especially as it concerns traditional rulers.
He urged the governor to respect the rights of traditional institutions as well as the laws governing the institution.
Addressing journalists in Nawfia on Wednesday, Ejiofor regretted that his client, the traditional ruler of Nawfia Community in Njikoka Local Government Area, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, got to know about the withdrawal of his certificate of Igwe-ship by the State Government over the media.
He said that the announcement was made by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Greg Obi, without any official letter to the traditional ruler.
Ejiofor added: “We took it to be a fake news and unfounded as no letter was served the Igwe, as such the act was not backed by law, but it has continued to be a news item.
“Traditional Ruler’s law of Anambra State 2007, section 10, and section 16 said that no traditional ruler would be suspended from his office or his certificate withdrawn without securing two third of the majority of state lawmakers.
“The law further said that a traditional ruler would be removed from his office if he breaches the code of conduct of his community through majority votes of the state lawmakers.
“This process was not adhered to before the announcement from the state government who made the pronouncement in media outlets.”
He also condemned the action of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Uche Okafor, who called the embattled traditional rulers and advised them to render an apology to the state government.
He said: “Okafor failed to clear up the issues well as promised the traditional rulers, rather he hurriedly amended some sections of the Anambra traditional rulers law 2007 to give credence to illegality exhibited by the State Government.
“Was he in the House to serve the governor or the people? The governor should not feel because he is doing his second tenure in office that things should go wrong.”
Reacting to his sack, the traditional ruler of Nawfia, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, said that his alleged crime was that he travelled with Prince Arthur Eze to Abuja in company of other rulers on August 11 to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
He insisted that the visit neither offended the community, its custom, or infringed on the state.
While expressing fear for his life, he said: “We are not in a dictatorship government, I still have freedom of movement, which is my fundamental right as stated in the constitution.
“Right now, I fear for my life; so much threat coming my way. If anything happens to me, it is the work of government. If there are problems in Nawfia it is not natural, they are man-made and targeted at me.
“They are purporting to have withdrawn my certificate, but as I speak to you, I have not gotten any notice about that. What that means is that I am still the Igwe.
“Even if I go out now to the town square on an unscheduled visit, you will see the people’s support.
“They have done everything, including trying to summon the villages in Nawfia to elect a replacement for me, but the people said that Nawfia is peaceful and happy with their Igwe.
“My crime is my outspokenness. They want to crack me. They are unhappy with me. I have committed no crime against the land and the state.”
News Express recalls that Igwe Nwankwo was among the 12 traditional rulers that were suspended in August for traveling to Abuja with Anambra businessman, Arthur Eze, to see the President.
Subsequently, the State Government withdrew the certificate of office of some of the traditional rulers namely, Igwe Anthony Onyekwere of Owelle, Igwe GBC Mbakwe of Abacha and Igwe Nwankwo
Others include Igwe Kelly Nzekwe of Igbariam, Igwe Dr Emeka Ilouno of Ifitedunu and Igwe Peter Uyanwa of Ukwulu.
Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Obi, failed as calls put to his phone were unanswered.
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