Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Fear has gripped 48 traditional rulers in Anambra State, following a suit brought against them for purported procedural defects in their recognition.
In suit No. A/149/2022, the plaintiff, Prince Chinedu Tagbo, who filed the suit on behalf of himself and people of the state, brought the matter before an Awka High Court presided over by Justice Obiora Ikeogu.
However, the plaintiff subsequently filed an interlocutory motion before a Vacation Judge, Justice Alexius Okuma, against the State Governor (first defendant), the Attorney General of the state (second defendant) and the 48 Monarchs (third to fifth defendants), praying Justice Okuma to order stoppage and recovery of salaries, as well as other benefits accruable to the monarchs, pending determination of the substantive suit.
Among the traditional rulers sued were: Igwe Peter Uyanwa of Ukwulu; Victor Ntoka (Nsugbe); Emeka Onuorah (Oraukwu); Alex Onyido (Ogidi); Prof. Augustine Ekezie (Adazi- Nnukwu); Lawrence Nwafia (Eziagulu-Aguleri); Stephen Ezekwugo (Uga); Gerald Mbamalu (Ojoto); Dr. Michael Idigo (Aguleri); Maxi Oliobi (Nimo) and Greg Nwokora (Mbosi).
Others were Igwe Charles Agbala of Uke; Emeka Okezie (Okija); Victor Awogu (Ossomala-Ogbaru); P.I. Egwuacho (Amesi); Prof. Charles Anikweze (Awkuzu) and Obidiegwu of Ihiala.
In the originating summon, dated April 26th, 2022, the plaintiff sought for interpretation of the provision of extant law to determine whether the executive arm of government can issue third to fifth respondents Certificate of Recognition from 2014 to 2020 without, first, obtaining approval of State House of Assembly as provided in section 4(j) of the law.
He also prayed the court to determine if the recognition can stand in the light of governor’s alleged failure to publish the state Traditional Rulers Certificated Gazette No. 1, Vol. 31 (2015 to 2022) dated January 28, 2022, listing the 48 monarchs, before the State Government issued them certificates of recognition as traditional rulers as provided for in section 9(i) of the law.
Again, the plaintiff claims that the Governor issued the monarchs the certificates based on Anambra Traditional Rulers Law, 1981; which, according to him, 1991 law has repealed.