Appeal Court sacks Imo traditional rulers' council chair

By The Citizen

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State, has sacked the Chairman of Imo Traditional Rulers Council Chairman, Eze Agunwa Ohiri and reinstated Eze Cletus Ilomuanya who was earlier sacked by Governor Rochas Okorocha.

The Court ruled that he should remain as the Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers until the lawful expiration of his tenure in 2015.

It also restrained the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice as well as their servants, agents from interfering with the activities of the council under Ilomuanya until his tenure expires in 2015.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Philomena Ekpe declared the dissolution of the Traditional Rulers Council under Ilomuanya as null and void and of no effect.

The Court submitted that section 17A of the Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Law 2006 (as amended) provides 'Resignation or Death' as the only two conditions through which any member of the council could abdicate office.

'Eze Ilomuanya neither resigned nor died, and therefore, wondered where the governor got his powers to dissolve the council and remove the appellant from office,' Justice Ekpe ruled.

The Court expressed its displeasure at the Imo State Chief Judge, Justice Ben Njemanze for resolving the matter in favour of the governor without input from the parties in the suit, noting that 'it's a grievous error in law as the Chief Judge had turned himself into a defendant and no longer an impartial Judge.'