The embattled traditional ruler of Nawfia in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Ferdinand Nwanko has raised the alarm over his safety and security, warning that the state government would be held responsible if anything happened to him.
The monarch who was among the 13 traditional rulers in the state suspended, and certificate withdrawn by Governor Willie Obiano following their trip to Abuja, also alleged withdrawal of his security.
He said he did not believe on the purported dethronement as he was yet to receive any official letter to that effect.
He said, “I don’t believe I’ve been dethroned nor my certificate withdrawn. My certificate is still intact. I’ve been the Igwe before the governor. This will be my 20th year on the throne.
“The government has caused so many troubles in my community. Twice, they’ve put a President General without election, but by appointment. When they didn’t succeed, they commenced the dethronement process.
“The law states that a traditional ruler must commit offence or fatal misconduct against the customary law, not government before he will be dethroned.
“My crime is my outspokenness and constructive criticism against the Government misrule. I don’t give bribe and don’t take. My going to Abuja with Prince Arthur Eze is protected by Nigerian constitution, section 40, 41.”
While accusing the government of intimidating the legislative and judiciary, the monarch threatened to expose the shady activities of its officials, adding that, “very soon, many of them won’t travel outside the country again.”
He added, “They had expected the purported dethronement to elicit jubilation among my people, but rather the community had remained calm. They even carried out demonstration on my favour.
“Even before my suspension, they formed a parallel security outfit which, since creation has destroyed four houses totalling N50m to fix.
“All the boys in the security outfit have criminal records. From every record I’m getting as the chief security officer of the community, the troubles in Nawfia are not natural, but man-made by the government targeted at creating divine and rule for their selfish interest.”
Earlier, Counsel to the monarch, Bar. Nnaemeka Ejiofor described as undemocratic the purported dethronement of the traditional ruler, accusing the government of not following due process.
He said, “We didn’t receive official letter from the government as regards his dethronement and certificate withdrawal despite its going viral on social media. His highness was still in Abuja when he was suspended.
“That’s why we went to court challenging the withdrawal and demanding they declare null and void the suspension and Certificate withdrawal.
“We’re sounding this note of warning to avert any mayhem. We don’t want any military invasion in the name of searching for certificate. We can’t continue to allow Obiano-led government to continue to bastardize the traditional institution
“If you follow due process to remove the Igwe, of course, as a gentleman, who believes in law and order, he’ll quietly relinquish power and surrender his certificate. But if they want to come through the window when there’s a door, we won’t allow that. We’ll challenge it.”
He said, “Our suit was filed as far back September and you’re making the law in December. Your new law can’t override what is earlier made. Our suit takes effect before amendment. So they can’t clean their mess by making new laws. It doesn’t show integrity. Rather, they should acknowledge their mistakes and tender apologies after withdrawal of suspension.”