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Okorocha Berated for Alleged Abuse of Power, Dragged to Court By Ousted Monarch

Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha

From Ignatius Okpara, Owerri

The lingering cold war between Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state and ousted Chairman of the state traditional rulers’ council, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, has assumed a new twist, as the monarch on Monday dragged the state government to court over the withdrawal of his ‘Certificate of Recognition’.

Ilomuanya, who is the traditional ruler of Obinugwu autonomous community in Orlu local government area of the state, is praying an Owerri High Court to declare the government’s action as “illegal, unconstitutional and null and void”.

The monarch is also demanding N500 million as a ransom for damages done to him by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Professor. Anthony Anwukah for issuing press statement which purportedly withdrew his Certificate and staff of office as a traditional ruler.

A suit brought before the Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, by counsel to the embattled monarch, Obiora Obianwu, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is contesting that by the provisions of Sections 12(1), 13(2) 14(1) of the Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Community Law No. 6 of 2006 and Section 36 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Governor Okorocha has no power to unilaterally withdraw his Certificate and insignia of Office.

Ilomunanya, also argued that the said resolution of (December 14, 2011) of the Imo State House of Assembly upon which the Governor and other two defendants – the state Attorney – General and Professor Anthony Anwukah based their action, “has been declared null and void and of no effect whatsoever by an Owerri High Court, presided over by Justice Paschal Nnadi, on March 20, 2013”.

Similarly, the monarch contended that by the provisions of Sections 7 of Law No. 6 of 2006 of Imo State and 106(a) (ii) of the Evidence Act the recognition of a person as a traditional ruler is by ‘An Instrument’ and thus, his removal, according to the law, shall also be by ‘An Instrument’ and not by a press statement.

The monarch posited that by the admittance of the Attorney General of Imo State, there was a pending suit of an appeal by the Governor at the Supreme Court in SC/573/2013, against the judgment of the Court of Appeal which issued a restraining order against the governor, thus the decision of the state house of Assembly and Governor Okorocha on the dethronement, amounted to an abuse of court process.

“In spite of this sound proposition of the law relied upon by the Attorney General of Imo State, the defendants purported to remove me from office in utter disrespect, disdain and contemptuous disregard to the order of the Court of Appeal and the pendency of the Appeal at the Supreme Court.

“The Law which they relied on says their conduct is not only an abuse of court process but a nullity and we agree entirely,” Eze Ilomuanya, declared.



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