Enugu Community Protests Alleged Imposition of MonarchLatest News Saturday, January 4th, 2014
…As Govt Insists there is no going back on its Decision
IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
Scores of indigenes of Eziani community, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu state Friday, besieged the premises of the Enugu State Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters, to protest the alleged imposition of a traditional ruler on them by officials of the ministry.
The placard carrying protesters, comprising old men and women, including youths, stormed the ministry from Nsukka as early as 9 a.m chanting various angry songs.
Some of the placards had inscriptions such as “No to Imposition of Igwe on Our Community”, “Enugu State Government Please allow us as Other Communities Where You Conduct Elections for Igweship”, No to Injustice, Due Process Must be Followed”, Without Justice, No Peace”, among others.
However, in a protest letter addressed to the state Governor, Barrister Sullivan Chime, the aggrieved community members, alleged that contrary to laid down rules and procedures, few highly placed individuals were bent on imposing a monarch on the the people of the area.
The letter read thus: “We the people of Eziani are here to again beg the government of Enugu State to come to our aid, as some few individuals are bent on doing things against the right of the people.
“We listen to news, we go out, we observed that this ministry has been doing well to so many communities by restoring peace to those communities through the conduct of elections for the Igweship positions of such communities.
“It is on record that when the ministry came to our community, Eziani in Nsukka Local Government on 4th June 2012 for verification exercise, the commissioner, Pastor Emeka Abugu promised that the ministry will come back to conduct an election for Eziani people”.
The commissioner was quoted as saying then that “we have seen that there are more than one candidate for the Igweship stool of Eziani community, therefore, we will come back to conduct an election. I also want to let Eziani people know that government make more money when there are multiple candidates, so any other person that is interested should go to the ministry at Enugu and buy form, it is N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira), per contestant”.
The Protestants, lamented that “we complied and two people went to the ministry and bought the forms at the rate of N100, 000 each. Yet up till now, the ministry has not come to conduct the election.
“When government take side on any issue bordering the masses, especially when it comes to their traditional rulers, it is obvious that such government is encouraging bad blood among the people and as such make them fight against themselves, which may lead to loss of lives”.
Meanwhile, when the commissioner in charge of the ministry, Pastor Emeka Abugu, arrived office three hours later, he told the demonstrators that the only option left for them was to seek legal redress.
He said “your foundation, the constitution is faulty; most traditional rulers did not consult the people before writing the constitution, and the rule of government is that we don’t change the constitution when it is time to elect a new traditional ruler.
“As long as government has recognized him as Igwe, there is nothing anybody can do to remove him; the only thing that can remove him is decision of the court; even if you kill everybody in your place, it will not change anything; I cannot overrule myself, just like the INEC cannot go back after it has declared somebody winner”.
He said he would go ahead with the coronation of Chief Tony Ezema as the traditional ruler of the community despite the raging protest.
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