…says Arthur Eze also gave Obiano and aides kola nut money
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The traditional ruler of Nawfia in Njikoka local government area of Anambra state, His Royal Highness Igwe Ferdinand Chijioke Nwankwo, has reminded Governor Willie Obiano that traditional rulers are not political appointees and that he has no right whatsoever to order their movements or determine who they associate with.
Nwankwo said that the traditional rulers who went to Aso Rock to visit president Muhammadu Buhari in the company of Prince Arthur Eze did not commit any sin but only exercised their fundamental human rights of association.
The recognised traditional ruler of Nawfia kingdom who spoke with our correspondent through his lawyer Barr. Nnaemeka Ejiofor at the state assembly complex Awka, said the right to freedom of association gave every Nigerian citizen the liberty and latitude to visit or interact with any person at any point in time.
Igwe Nwankwo said, “I got an interim order of injunction against the Anambra State Government, the Attorney General Anambra State and the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers from the High Court of Anambra state restraining them from giving effect to my suspension as Igwe Nawfia.
“You will recall that sometime on the 11th of August, 2020 a statement was released by the government of Anambra state that the Igwe of Nawfia alongside 11 other traditional rulers who visited the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on a courtesy visit should be suspended.
“I was not given fair hearing. I was not given the opportunity to meet those who claimed I breached the law to interrogate them on whether or not there is a law restraining my movement. That order of suspension interferred with my fundamental rights of movements.”
The monarch further disclosed that the suspension order was an outright breach of the constitution and the Anambra state law; that there was a compelling need for the governor to respect the laws it assented to and also accord the same respect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Igwe Nwankwo stated that granted that some traditional rulers from Anambra state visited Mr. President, he was equally of the opinion that the governor was guilty of the same sin because he also visits President Buhari and that it was the right of every citizen to visit the president.
According to him, “We did not go to Mr. President for inordinate reasons. We went to thank him for the several infrastructural projects in the southeast; the second Niger bridge, the Enugu-Onitsha express road and a host of others, with the hope of attracting more to Anambra state.”
The traditional ruler therefore emphasized that no law prohibited people from visiting Arthur Eze or the President because the governor and his aides also visited Arthur Eze and he gave them kola nut money too. The governor can not determine or decide who visits anybody in Nigeria and it is important to state that traditional rulers are not political appointees because they are created by law.
Igwe Nwankwo however stressed that his prayers in court are that the court should declare the suspension order as unconstitutional, null and void and that Anambra state government should be made to respect the laws of Anambra state made by the Anambra State House of Assembly.
Part of the court injunction reads: “The defendants, their servants, agents and privies are ordered to stay all actions to the subject matter of this case especially as it relates to the suspension and withdrawal of recognition of the applicant as recognised traditional ruler of Nawfia which order shall abate as provided by the High Court Rules of Anambra state, 2019 as it relates to order exparte.”