Mmaku: Enugu community drags monarch to court, demands 100m naira compensation

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Enugu State
Enugu State

The people of Agunese-Mmaku Autonomous Community, in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, have dragged their traditional ruler, HRH Igwe Cyprian Nevobasi to court seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

The suit was filed by Chief Chuka Ochie, Chief Odinaka Okoli, Okafor Paddy Chijioke and 16 others, while the traditional ruler, Igwe Nevobasi, the Inspector-General of Police, Enugu State Commissioner of police, DSS, Lazarus Udeogbuke, Patrick Ochi, among others are joined as defendants.

Daily Post reports that the suit, currently before an Enugu State High Court, is seeking an order of the court “restraining the 5th-8th respondents from arresting, harassing and intimidating the applicants or infringing on their rights in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria.

“A declaration of the court that the police can investigate a matter without necessarily arresting, detaining the applicants over a Town Union election matter before determining whether the applicants are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.

“An order of the honourable court compelling the respondents to jointly and severally pay the applicants the sum of one hundred million naira (N100,000,000) for harassing, intimidating, distorting their programmes and breaching public peace in Agunese Community by refusing the applicant to conduct the election already scheduled, thereby breaching the applicants’ freedom of association.”

Meanwhile, the community has earlier through the League of Agunese-Mmaku Professionals alleged that a reign of terror was presently being unleashed on the Community by HRH Igwe Cyprian Nevobasi.

In a statement signed by Barr. Vincent Okafor, Eziama-Afam Agunese Village, Hon. Engr. Theophilus Chukwu, Ibitte-Afam Agunese and Chief Nathaniel Okoli, Enugu-Afam Agunese Village, they claimed that “The Igwe has usurped the functions of the Town Union, truncated our scheduled Town Union election last December 30, 2021 on trumped up excuses of directives from the Hon. Commissioner for Rural Development; and insecurity.

“He has unilaterally imposed a Caretaker Committee. Since January 3, 2022 Igwe Nevobasi has terrorized our people with security operatives on trumped up charges; and currently most of our people are in hiding and living in fear of their lives.

“Igwe Nevobasi’s claim of directive from the Commissioner or insecurity during the election is baseless and unfounded because there was a combined team of security operatives that was officially detailed to monitor the election.”

They condemned what they called “the deliberate absence of the Commissioner for Rural Development, Prince Emeka Mamah or any representative from his Ministry to observe the election despite being informed apriori and he promised to come or to send representatives.”

They further stated that “the Igwe has also gone ahead to generate a petition listing 16 prominent sons of our community as members and sponsors of IPOB, ESN and Unknown Gunmen, with the intention of eliminating or silencing all dissenting voices in the community. These men have been declared “WANTED” by the security agencies with a bounty of N1million placed on each of them by the Igwe.

“We have consequently put the Enugu State Government and the general public on notice that Agunese-Mmaku Autonomous Community is speedily descending into chaos and if nothing urgent is done, the situation could snowball into serious violence.”

They called on the Enugu State Government, “especially the Ministry of Rural Development and other relevant stakeholders to intervene in this matter and prevail on the Igwe to refrain from appropriating to himself the functions of the Town Union or constituting himself a cog in the wheel of progress.

“Our people are law-abiding with a strong democratic bent and we will not stand idly-by and watch any person create anarchy in our community. We will resist such an attempt with all our might irrespective of whose ox is gored. Let no one be in doubt of this.”

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