• Attorney-General, others too for intimidation
The face-off between Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, and traditional rulers in the state over their alleged support for former President Goodluck Jonathan in the last presidential election has shifted to the court.
Forty of the traditional rulers have filed a suit at the Imo State High Court asking it to declare as illegal, the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, headed by Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri. Among the plaintiffs are Eze Emmanuel Njemanze, Eze Desmond Ogugua, Eze Edmund Njoku and Eze Sunday Okoro who were purportedly suspended by the Council of Traditional Rulers.
They are challenging their purported suspension and the invitation of over 60 other monarchs to face a disciplinary panel, which they perceived as ‘intimidation’ and ‘harassment.’ According to the plaintiffs, Ohiri’s appointment by Okorocha contravenes Section 2, Law No.6 of 2006 (Imo State of Nigeria Traditional Rulers, Autonomous Communities and Allied Matters Law). Besides Okorocha, who is the first respondent, other defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh, Ohiri and seven others.
The monarchs are seeking a perpetual injunction restraining Okorocha, Umeh and others from stopping their allowances, withdrawing their certificates of recognition and staffs of office as traditional rulers or inhibiting in any manner whatsoever their performance of their duties as traditional rulers in Imo State.
They also asked the court to declare as illegal the governor’s appointment of 27 members into the Council of Traditional Rulers as against the 54 prescribed by law. The plaintiffs urged the court to dissolve the Council of Traditional Rulers as constituted by Okorocha.
The monarchs, in the suit, questioned the powers of the Council of Traditional Rulers to set up a disciplinary panel, with the aim of punishing them, saying an illegal body cannot set up another illegal body. They added that the Council of Traditional Rulers and the disciplinary panel lack the power to suspend or probe any traditional ruler in Imo State. The suit has been slated for hearing on June 23.
-New Telegraph


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