BY SUNNY DAVID
The minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has called on the Anambra state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to banish the 12 monarchs that went to Abuja without government’s authorization.
He said the oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze, who led them to the trip should also be punished accordingly, for sabotage.
It would be recalled that Governor Obiano had suspended the 12 monarchs in office for one year because of the trip which government saw as an affront and breach of rules and protocol guiding traditional rulers in the state.
But the Minister of Labour and Employment, in a telephone interview with our correspondent said the suspension was not enough punishment.
Dr. Ngige said “When somebody is suspended from performing the functions of his office, it’s natural that he be barred from being in that vicinity. Allowing him to stay around is risky because he is a threat to peace.
“In order to avert such threat he should be sent out to another place to prevent possible conduct likely to cause breach of law and order in the vicinity.
“So, I advise the Anambra state government to relocate these 12 traditional rulers from their communities to avoid a situation likely to cause breach of public peace. The businessman (Arthur Eze) who took them to the Abuja trip should be punished for sabotage.
A media aide to Prince Arthur Eze, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity on the telephone, described Dr. Ngige’s call as unconstitutional and ultra vires the powers of a state governor.
His call came barely two hours after his Alor community in the Idemili local government area of the state protested against their monarch, MacAnthony Okonkwo for being part of the Abuja emissaries.
The protest which began around 9am on Saturday, was led by the Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Emeka Ezeonu, who is a native of Alor, and other dignitaries of the community.
The protesters who described their monarch as an imposition on them said they were embarrassed by his conduct against the state government by embarking on the Abuja trip. The asked Obiano to withdraw the certificate of recognition of the ruler.
Numbering over 500, the protested took to the streets with placards with different inscriptions, some read, “Alor rejects imposition of caretaker, please, Governor Obiano look into this matter, this imposition has been on for eight years, we dissociate our Community from the monarch who travelled to Abuja without permission from government.
The President General of Alor, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa, while addressing the protesters , said the people of the Community would continue to support Governor Obiano’s administration, adding that Alor would never work against the state government.
Reacting, the Monarch said he was not an imposition to the community, describing the protest against him as the handwork of detractors.
He said, “On return from the Abuja trip, I tendered an unreserved apology to our Governor, Chief Willie Obiano; the State government, the traditional rulers’ council; members of my cabinet and my subjects, while admitting that I erred by not informing the relevant authorities before traveling.