By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has told the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, to banish the 12 monarchs that travelled to Abuja to see President Muhammadu Buhari, without government’s authorization.
He said the oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze that led them to the trip should also be punished accordingly, for sabotage.
Recall that Obiano suspended 12 monarchs from office for one year because of the trip which government saw as an affront and breach of rules and protocols of traditional operations in the state.
Reacting to this, the Minister told journalists at the weekend that the suspension was a very mild punishment.
“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.
Alor community in Idemili Local Government Area of the state (where Ngige hails from) had protested against the suspended monarch, MacAnthony Okonkwo for being part of the Abuja trip.
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 described their monarch as an imposition on them, saying they were embarrassed by his conduct against the state government by embarking on the Abuja trip. They asked Obiano to withdraw the certificate of recognition of the traditional ruler.
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.
The suspended monarch while reacting said he was not an imposition to the community, describing the protest against him as the handiwork of his 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”.