A high court sitting in Enugu has dethroned the traditional ruler of an Enugu community, Amorji Nenwe autonomous community, Chief J. S Ifeanetu.
UGAMATV had gathered through a respondent, Chukwu Raphael that the court passed the final verdict on Thursday 11th March, 2021.
Chukwu, who is also an indigene of the aforementioned community told us that, “the throne of the autonomous community of Amorji Nenwe had been in severe contention since 2004.”
“Ifeanetu seizing the opportunity of the kingship tussle, became a self- coronated traditional ruler against every opinion of both the kingmakers and other indigenes. “
“Seeing this, the community petitioned the ministry of Chieftaincy in Enugu, seeking amendment over the kingly anomalies.”
“Ifeanatu was invited for due interrogations, after which, the ministry of Chieftaincy instructed that a verification be done on every kingship aspirant in the community, in a situation where two eligible candidates emerge after the screening exercise, a free and fair election should be done. however, the sitting commissioner was then replaced by another after the expiration of his years of public service.”
“With the new leadership at the Ministry, the instruction was still to get a authentication before proceeding to an election. In 2007, A set of delegates led by late Igwe Tony Ojukwu, were sent to the community to conduct a verification exercise, however, after much lobbying and wooing, the delegates unanimously abandoned their quest to verify the status of the traditional institution. Boycotting the verification, asking for a direct election of the preexisting king.”
“It was alleged that Ifeanetu had employed several coercive tactics to appease the delegates, this is to stop them from discovering his illegalities amid the kingship tussle. Also, to retain his status as king of the autonomous community of Amorji Nenwe, though it was self acclaimed.”
Subsequently, after being pursued with a plethora of doctored documents, a certificate of recognition and staff of office was delivered to Ifeanetu. A peaceful protest had arisen and was taken to the government house, but the case was left unattended.
Prior to these series of events, Chief Cosmas Chukwuogba, the primary candidate of the community was issued a certificate of recognition as ‘Igwe Elect’ of the community, as such he was a major candidate, should there be an election.
Giving this situation, the community jointly sought redress in court.
The court had several sittings and proceedings for the case, Suit no, HAW/28/2008, from 2008 till on Thursday 11th March, 2021, when the final verdict was passed.
The judgement thus reads:
“IN THE HIGH COURT OF ENUGU STATE OF NIGERIA
IN THE HIGH COURT OF AWGU JUDICIAL DIVISION
HELD AT AWGU
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP HON. JUSTICE N.R. OJI
ON THURSDAY THE 11TH DAY OF MARCH, 2021″
SUIT NO: HAW/28/2008
CHIEF COSMAS CHUKWUOGBA & ORS ———-PLAINTIFFS
CHIEF J.S. IFEANETU & ORS ————————DEFENDANTS
Upon this matter coming up before me for judgment today the 11th day ofMarch, 2021 and after going through the submissions of C.C. Okoro Esq of Counsel for the plaintiffs, S.J. Ani Esq of Counsel for the 1st to 5th Defendants, C.N. Onyia Esq of Counsel for the 6th defendant.”
“THE COURT ENTERS JUDGMENT AS FOLLOWS:
The Court hereby declares that the 1st defendant was not duly selected as the Traditional Ruler of Amoji Nenwe Autonomous Community as required by Law.
That the 1st defendant is not qualified to be issued with a certificate of recognition having not been dully selected or appointed in accordance with the Chieftaincy Constitution of Amoji Nenwe as required by S.4 of the Traditional Rulers Law of Enugu State (supra).”
“That the court hereby sets aside the certificate of recognition issued by the Governor of Enugu State and dated 17th January, 2008.”
“That the parties either by themselves or through their agents, servants and privies are hereby restrained from holding out of recognizing either the 1st plaintiff or the 1st defendant as the Igwe and Traditional Ruler of Amoji Nenwe Community pending appropriate action by the relevant authorities in line with the Chieftaincy Constitution of Amoji Nenwe autonomous community and the Traditional Rulers Law of Enugu State (supra).”
“That the court hereby directs ANPU National to follow due process and ensure that the proper procedure is adopted in the selection of a candidate to be presented to the Enugu State Government as Traditional Ruler of Amoji Nenwe Community in line with S.8 (a) of the Chieftaincy Constitution of Amoji Nenwe Autonomous Community and the Traditional Rulers Law (supra) forthwith.”
“No order as to costs.”
“Issued at Awgu under the seal of the Court and Hand of the Presiding Judge this 11th day of March, 2021.”
We gathered that Ifeanetu plans on seeking appeal at a later date.