Ngige asks Anambra govt to banish 12 suspended monarchs over Abuja trip

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, says the suspended traditional ruler in his hometown, Alor,  and 11 others in Anambra state, ought to be banished.

Mark-Anthony Okonkwo, of Alor and 11 other monarchs were suspended by governor of the state, Willie Obiano, for travelling out of Anambra without government approval.

Anambra government said the governor invoked the state traditional rulers law of 1981 to justify the suspension in August..

Other suspended monarchs include Igwe Alex Edozieuno of Mkpunando;  Chukuwma Orji of Ezinifite; G.B.C Mbakwe of Abacha; Chijioke Nwankwo of Nawfa and Nkeli Nelly of Igbarim.

Others are Anthony Onyekwere of Owelle; A. N. Onwuneme of Ikenga; Ikechukwu Chidubem of Umumbo; S. O. Uche of Ezira; Emeka Ilouno of Ifitedunu and Peter Ikegbunem Udoji of Eziagulu.

The Anambra government said the sanction on the monarchs may be lifted at the end of one year or renewed or upgraded in the intervening period depending on review of their conduct.

Leading a protest against the suspended monarch, Ngigie who also hails from Alor in Idemili south local government area, alleged that Okonkwo was imposed on the people by former governor of the state, Peter Obi, whom he accused of punishing the community.

“He decided to punish the towns thereby starving them of any projects and destabilise their town unions starting from Alor where he dissolved the executives with a caretaker hostile to Ngige and imposed the monarch on the community as against the constitution of the people,” he said.

“When someone is suspended from performing functions of an office, he should be barred from even being in that vicinity.

“So, I advise Anambra state government to relocate these 12 traditional rulers from their communities to avoid a situation likely to cause a breach of public peace.”

Protesters who took to the streets had placards rejecting imposition of the monarch and a caretaker committee in the community put up by the state government.

“Alor rejects the imposition of caretaker”, “Please, Governor Obiano look into this matter”, “This imposition has been on for eight years” are some of the inscriptions on the placards.

Ngige also said that oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze led them to the trip should also be punished accordingly, for sabotage.

The suspended monarch, Okonkwo, while reacting said he was not an imposition to the community, describing the protest against him as the handiwork of his detractors.

He said, “On return from the Abuja trip, I tendered an unreserved apology to our governor, Chief Willie Obiano; the state government, the traditional rulers’ council; members of my cabinet and my subjects, while admitting that I erred by not informing the relevant authorities before traveling”.

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