BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA- EIGHT persons, including Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, are standing trial before the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi, for allegedly refusing to abide by the judgment of an Awka High Court on the issue of autonomous status granted Ugwu Awgbu community in Orumba North Local Government Area of the state by the administration of Dr.Chinwoke Mbadinuju.
Those facing trial with the commissioner are Mike Okechukwu, said to have been selected as the traditional ruler of Awgbu community, Joseph Ezeibe, Obed Obi, Okey Ezeibe, Patrick Ezeamaka, Michael Okoye and C. N. Chukwuma.
The affected persons had already been issued with forms 48 and 49, which are notifications of an existing court order and a reminder that proceedings to enforce the court order would commence against them.
Former Chief Judge of the state, Justice Umegbolu Nri-Nzedi, had on December 11, 2006, in suit no A/98/2004, delivered judgment that favoured the existence of Ugwu Awgbu as an autonomous community, following the community’s suit against the state government for nullifying its autonomous status.
The matter, however, took a different dimension when an indigene of Ugwu Awgbu, Chief Mike Ikechukwu, was named the traditional ruler of Awgbu community, from where the new one was carved out.
This made the people of Ugwu Awgbu community to go to court again, following its recognition by the state government on April 23, 2010.
In the suit instituted by Chief Mike Okafor for himself and on behalf of Ugwu Awgbu community, their counsel, Chief Ugo Ugwunnadi, faulted the recognition of Ikechukwu as the traditional ruler of Awgbu when his area belonged to another autonomous community.
He said: “We submit that recognition and dealing with Ikechukwu from Ugwu Awgbu, who is the 1st respondent in the case as the Igwe of another town, Awgbu autonomous community is strange and unknown to the traditional rulers’ law of Anambra State, 1981 and in disobedience of the restraining order of court.”
However, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, who appeared for the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, said the commissioner in charge of the ministry and the Head of Service of the local government who accepted the recognition of Ikechukwu as traditional ruler of Awgbu, did so under the Traditional Rulers’ Law of 1981 and not on the provisions of the Autonomous Communities (Recognition) Repeal Law of 2004.