The Enugu State Government on Tuesday suspended Igwe Anthony Okorie, the Traditional Ruler of Amechi Awkunanaw Autonomous Community in Enugu South Local Government Area.
The suspension is contained in a letter handed over to the royal father by the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, Dr Charles Egumgbe.
Government hinged the action and withdrawal of the Staff of Office from Okorie on the “persistent crisis in the community”.
It stated that the crisis had defied all efforts made to resolve it.
“Undisputably, law and order have broken down in your community, leading to injuries to persons and property.
“And the situation, if not checked, may exacerbate the present security challenge in our land.
“Take notice that your suspension shall subsist, pending the conclusion of investigations,” the letter added.
Reacting to the development in an interview with newsmen in Enugu after receiving the letter, Okorie urged his subjects to remain calm as they await the outcome of the investigation.
He said there was no crisis in his community as alleged in the letter.
He said, “When the commissioner alleged that there is crisis in Amechi, I clearly told him that there is no crisis”.
The traditional ruler said the Divisional Police Officer and Head of the Department of State Service in-charge of the community in all their security reports and meetings with leaders had never complained of any security breach and crisis.
“There is no incident of serious or slight security breach in Amechi.
“I told him that what is causing problems in Amechi community is landed property.
“The community wanted to recover their land earlier given to Satellite Printing and Publishing Press but the company did not take off afterwards.
“I told the commissioner the matter is before the court and we should let the court decide who the owner of that land is.
“But the suspension is a predetermined position. The suspension letter was already written before he invited me to hear from me.
“I urge the entire Amechi and my subjects to keep calm as justice will be served in the matter,” he said.
Egbo said the community earlier donated the land to the state’s Satellite Printing Publishing Press in overriding public interest.
“But where it was not put to use, the community demanded for its return so it could be used for other purposes.
“The matter is in court. We also had a town union matter in court, where we have gone to resolve it. This one again is not a chieftaincy matter.
“So, I did not see why the chieftaincy stool should get involved.
“Our Igwe has never breached any security in the community. I am saying categorically that Amechi community is solidly behind him,” Egbo said.
He called on Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to set up a panel to investigate the issue of land grabbing in Amechi community and “not suspend our Igwe.
“It is not solving the problem rather it is creating more problems,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the state government on Sept. 21 suspended Igwe Christopher Okwor, the Traditional Ruler of Ihekwuenu Aku Autonomous Community in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area.
It was alleged that Okwor sponsored thugs to demolish a two-storey building erected in the community by a philanthropist for one Anibueze Nnadi, living with disability. (NAN)