Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Tony Nwabunwanne, has stated that it was wrong for Willie Obiano’s government to have dethroned 12 traditional rulers in the state.
He described decision as illegal, unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights of the monarchs, noting that the present government would review the case
Recall that the Obiano government suspended 12 traditional rulers for visiting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja without ‘approval from the government’.
Obiano had accused the 12 monarchs of travelling outside the state with Arthur Eze to visit President Muhammadu Buhari without getting approval from the Anambra State Government.
He said the traditional rulers were lured to Abuja by the billionaire on a chest-thumping mission to demonstrate his ambition to turn Anambra State into his private fiefdom.
According to the circular, Obiano warned the suspended traditional rulers not to parade themselves as traditional rulers anywhere and to stop discharging their functions as traditional rulers in their various communities or anywhere within the state and beyond with immediate effect.
The circular further revoked their memberships of Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and cancelled any appointment they may be holding in government committees until the suspension is lifted.
The circular also stated that the suspension might be lifted at the end of one year, renewed or upgraded in the intervening period depending on government’s review of the conduct of the royal fathers.
According to the circular, the suspension of the royal fathers followed the recommendation of Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council after a meeting held in Awka, Anambra State capital on Tuesday.
The circular stated that Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council headed by the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe had condemned the ill-fated trip of the traditional rulers.
The affected traditional rulers were Igwe Alex Edozieuno of Mkpunando, Igwe Mark Anthony Okonkwo of Alor, Igwe Chukuwma Bob Vincent Orji of Ezinifite, Igwe Engr G.B.C Mbakwe of Abacha, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo of Nawfia, and Igwe Nkeli Nelly of Igbariam
Others include, Igwe Anthony Onyekwere of Owelle, Igwe A. N Onwuneme of Ikenga, Igwe Simon Ikechukwu Chidubem of Umumbo,Igwe S. O Uche of Ezira,Igwe Dr Emeka Ilouno of Ifitedunu and Igwe Peter Ikegbunem Udoji of Eziagulu Otu.
Speaking to journalists on Friday in his office, Nwabunwanne said the Obiano’s government erred.
According to him, even the House of Assembly cautioned Obiano against the dethronement of the monarchs.
He said, “Come to look at it. What did those monarchs do? What offence did they commit. Don’t they have their rights of movement and association?
“Did they castigate the Anambra State Government or the governor during their trip to Abuja?
“Now, assuming but not conceding that the monarchs committed an offence and you suspended them for one year, are you supposed to crown another person in their various communities within the pendency of their suspension? This was what the government then did.
“Many things were done wrongly in the past government in that direction, and that is what we are trying to correct. These things must be got right. Certain impunity should not be allowed to continue.”
He said the government had not taken action to correct the anomaly, especially in the Nawfia case because the parties involved were in court, and refused to embrace alternative dispute resolution option offered to them by the government.
Nwabunwanne, however, said while still awaiting the court judgement on the Nawfia case, his office would make some pronouncements on the matter next week.