The deposed traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous community in Ezeagu Local Government Council of Enugu State, Harford Agana, has instituted a N30 million suit at the Enugu State High Court challenging his unlawful removal from the throne by the state government.
Mr. Agana is claiming among other things N20 million from the government for the embarrassment caused him by the withdrawal of his recognition as the traditional ruler of his community.
He is also claiming N10 million damages against his successor, Emeka Nwankwo, for “falsely parading himself” as the traditional ruler of the community to his detriment.
Those listed as defendants are the state the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs and Mr. Nwankwo.
Mr. Agana was deposed by the state government in July for allegedly refusing to hand over the assets of Enugu West Traditional Rulers Council in his possession one month after he was suspended by the government.
He is, however, believed to be facing persecution for allegedly being an associate of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is in bitter political battle with Governor Sullivan Chime.
Both Messrs. Ekeremadu and Chime are from Enugu West Senatorial District.
The deposed monarch, though his lawyers, asked the court to declare that the second defendant, Mr. Abugu “does not have the power under the provisions of the Traditional Rulers Law of Enugu State to suspend from office or withdraw the recognition of the Plaintiff (Igwe Agana) as the Traditional Ruler of Amadim-Olo Community”.
He sought a declaration of the Court that the Toyota Hiace Bus with registration No. AW 01 HRH and the sum of N1,000,000 donated to him by Mr. Ekweremadu, were his personal property and that the directive by Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs to him to hand over the said bus and the money to Igwe Uka “is a breach of the Plaintiff’s fundamental right to own property.”
Mr. Agana further urged the court to declare that the withdrawal of the recognition accorded him by the government as the traditional ruler of Amadim-Olo Community by virtue of a letter dated 18th July 2014 with reference No. MCA/CM605VOLIII/102 written by the 2nd defendant herein “is arbitrary, unjustifiable and illegal.”
The embattled traditional ruler sought a declaration of the court that he was entitled to a fair hearing before the withdrawal of his recognition as traditional ruler.
He therefore prayed the court to make an order setting aside the letter dated 8th July 2014 with reference No. MCA/CM605VOLIII/102 written by the Chieftaincy Commissioner withdrawing his recognition as traditional ruler.
He insisted that he was entitled to continue to enjoy and exercise all the rights and privileges as traditional ruler.
Mr. Agana urged the court to declare that the purported selection, presentation, verification and recognition of Mr. Nwankwo as his replacement were “illegal, null and void.”
He also sought an “order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant (Nwankwo) from parading or holding himself out in any manner as the traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous Community.”
Mr. Agana told the Court that the state government had on 23rd April 2002 approved and recognised Amandim-Olo community as an autonomous community in the state and this was published in the Enugu State Official Gazette Vol. II on 5 September 2002.
According to him, the Amandim-Olo, which is made up of four villages, which in the order of seniority are Umuene, Amagu, Imeama and Umuenemu, through their town union unanimously selected him as their traditional ruler on July 7, 2002, the Amandim-Olo Town Union unanimously selected the Plaintiff as their traditional ruler and on April 1, 2004, the then Enugu State Governor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, presented him with a certificate of recognition as the traditional ruler of Amandim-Olo Autonomous Community.
He said he had successfully occupied the throne and rose to become the Chairman of Enugu West Traditional Rulers Council before Governor Sullivan Chime administration moved against him for refusing to surrender to it the gifts he got from Senator Ekweremadu.
The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.