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Deposed Monarch Drags Enugu Govt To Court, Seeks N30 Million Damage

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

The deposed traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous community in Ezeagu Council Area of Enugu State, Igwe Harford Agana, has instituted a N30 million suit against the state government over what was termed unlawful dethrone.

Joined as defendants in the suit Numbered E/422/2014, filed at the Enugu State High Court, are the State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony Ani,(SAN) Commissioner for Chieftancy Affairs, Mr. Emeka Abugu, and Igwe  Nwankwo, who replaces the deposed Agana.

Igwe-Harford-Agana2-680x365AFRICAN EXAMINER Correspondent gathered that the Enugu state government sacked the monarch, following his alleged close relationship with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is currently at logger heads with Governor Sullivan Chime over who represents Enugu Western Senatorial district in 2015.

The deposed Igwe is demanding among other things N20 million from the State Government for the embarrassment caused him by the withdrawal of his recognition as the Traditional Ruler of his community.

He is also praying the court to order compensation of N10 million damages against the three Defendants and (Emeka Nwankwo) for “falsely parading himself” as the Traditional Ruler of the community to his detriment.

Igwe Agana, through his lawyers, is equally asking the Court to declare that the second defendant, who is the Commissioner for Chieftancy, Mr. Abugu “does not have the power under the provisions of the Traditional Rulers Law of Enugu State to suspend from office or withdraw the recognition of the Plaintiff (Igwe Agana) as the Traditional Ruler of  Amadim-Olo Community”.

He sought a declaration of the Court that the Toyota Hiace Bus with registration No. AW 01 HRH and the sum of N1,000,000 donated to him by the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu were his personal property and that the directive by  Plaintiff (Chieftancy Commissioner) to him to hand over the said bus and the money to Igwe Uka “is a breach of the Plaintiff’s fundamental right to own property.”

Agana further urged the Court to declare that the withdrawal of the recognition accorded him by the government as the traditional ruler of Amadim-Olo Community by virtue of a letter dated 18 th July 2014 with reference No. MCA/CM605VOLIII/102 written by the 2nd defendant herein “is arbitrary, unjustifiable and illegal.”

Besides, the embattled traditional ruler sought a declaration of the Court that he was entitled to a fair hearing before the withdrawal of his recognition as traditional ruler.

He therefore prayed the court to make an order setting aside the letter dated 8th July 2014 with reference No. MCA/CM605VOLIII/102 written by the Chieftancy  Commissioner withdrawing his recognition as traditional ruler.

He insisted that he was entitled to continue to enjoy and exercise all the rights and privileges as traditional ruler.

Agana, however, urged the Court to declare that the purported selection, presentation, verification and recognition of Mr. Nwankwo who was accorded recognition by government to replace him as the traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous Community were “illegal, null and void.”

He also sought an “order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant (Nwankwo) from parading or holding himself out in any manner as the traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous Community.”

Igwe Agana told the Court that the state government had on 23rd April 2002 approved and recognised Amandim-Olo community as an autonomous community in the State and this was published in the Enugu State Official Gazette Vol. II on 5 September 2002.

He said that the Amandim-Olo, which is made up of four villages, which in the order of seniority are Umuene, Amagu, Imeama and Umuenemu, through their town union unanimously selected him as their traditional ruler on  July 7, 2002, the Amandim-Olo Town Union unanimously selected the Plaintiff as their traditional ruler and on April 1, 2004, the then Enugu State Governor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, presented him with a certificate of recognition as the traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous Community.

The royal father said he had successfully occupied the throne and rose to become the Chairman of Enugu West Traditional Rulers Council before Governor Sullivan Chime administration moved against him for refusing to surrender to it the gifts he got from Senator Ekweremadu.

The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.

It would be recalled that an Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice (Mrs.) C.I Nwobodo had earlier this year awarded a N10 million damages and N100,000 fine against the Enugu State Government in favour of the former Chairman of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief (Mrs) Ethel Nebo-Ezeabasili, who was illegally removed from Office in controversial circumstances.

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