The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, has faulted the Anambra State Government’s approach to sanctioning traditional rulers in the state for granting chieftaincy titles to certain individuals.

Achebe particularly expressed anger over the suspension of the traditional ruler of Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, lgwe Damian O. Ezeani, who recently conferred a chieftaincy title on the Senator representing Anambra South, Ifeanyi Ubah.

Anambra State Government had last week, through the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Tony Nwabunwanne, suspended the traditional ruler of Neni.

Reacting to the suspension,  Achebe, who is the Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, in a press statement on Wednesday, said the state government should respect the traditional institution.

In the 14-point letter, Achebe bemoaned the dimension that was taken by the state government in the suspension of . Ezeani.

The letter with the caption, ‘Notification for the suspension of HRH lgwe Damian O. Ezeani, the Traditional Ruler of Neni’, was signed by the monarch for and on behalf of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers.

It read, “I am writing in response to your letter, Ref: MLGCCA/HC/2022/T/025/001/103, of the above caption to me dated 8th January, 2024. This response also provides a fuller context of other events relating to the suspension of H.R.H lgwe Damian O Ezeani, the traditional ruler of Neni. Your letter was hand-delivered to me at Onitsha at 6:55pm on Tuesday, 09 January, 2024.

“My suspicion that your letter was an afterthought was buttressed by the fact that your letter of suspension to lgwe Damian Ezeani of the same date, 8th January 2024, was already trending virally on social media for well over 24 hours prior to my receipt of your letter.

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“I was embarrassingly inundated with phone calls and messages from traditional rulers and other persons seeking clarification from me as chairman of ASTRC regarding a situation to which I was not privy. Your letter to lgwe Damian Ezeani was copied to the Commissioner of Police and Director of DSS, Anambra State, but not to the chairman of the ASTRC.

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“This act, amongst many others, was seen by the traditional rulers of Anambra State as a measure of the worth of the traditional institution to the present administration.”

Achebe detailed concerns about the selective application of the Code of Conduct for traditional rulers, the delayed presentation of key documents, and perceived disrespect towards the traditional institution, alleging a progressive dehumanisation of the traditional rulers by the current administration.

“Distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Ubah is not an unknown entity in Anambra State or Nigeria, including to the present administration. Thus, the suspension of lgwe Neni and the threat to withdraw his Certificate of Recognition for apparently violating the Code of Conduct by giving him a chieftaincy title was extreme in comparison with other recent cases,” he added.

Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of Aguluezechukwu in Aguata Local Government Area, Igwe F.E. Ebelendu; traditional ruler of Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area, Igwe Onwuamaeze Damian and the traditional ruler of Ojoto in Idemili South Local Government Area, Igwe Gerald Mbamalu, have withdrawn the chieftaincy titles they conferred on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.