The Anambra State Government has warned Chief Austin Ndigwe, the factional Eze Uzu of Awka to immediately desist from parading himself as Igwe Awka. Insisting that the only recognized traditional ruler of Awka remains His Royal Highnesses Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu.
THE DAILY VENDOR reported earlier that the police in Anambra State sealed the palace of the factional monarch of Awka community, His Majesty, Eze Uzu III, Chief Austin Ndigwe.
It was gathered that the monarch was getting ready to hold the celebration of the New Yam Festival in the Awka Kingdom on Saturday when the police stormed his palace and sealed the premises.
Ndigwe had sent out invitations to top politicians, monarchs, journalists and other special guests from across the country to witness the festival.
Invitations sent out had read, “You are invited to the OTITE AWKA 2022 (Iri Ji Ofuu) festival of Awka Ancient Kingdom by the Obi of Awka Kingdom, His Imperial Majesty, Ozo Dr Austin Ndigwe. Date is Saturday 10th September 2022, by 11am, at the Palace of the monarch.”
According to sources, some notable monarchs across the country were already at the palace at about 11am, when a huge detachment of police and military men arrived and sealed the palace, almost shutting in the invited monarchs, who were already seated.
“The policemen and military chased everyone out of the palace, shooting canisters of teargas at youths who had attended the event. There was pandemonium when they started shooting, and a lot of people ran away, while many youths sustained injuries,” the source said.
A policeman, who was not identified said they were acting on orders from above.
But the spokesperson for the Anambra State Police command, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, when contacted, said he was not aware of any order to seal off the palace of the factional monarch.
The traditional stool of Awka Kingdom has been in a tussle over a few years now, after some influential members of the community claimed they have dethroned the monarch, Eze Uzu II, Igwe Gibson Nwosu.
But the state government, while reacting through the Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, insisted that the only recognised traditional ruler of Awka remains Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu II, warning that Ndigwe should desist from parading himself as the monarch.
The commissioner also warned Ndigwe to stop usurping the rights reserved for the legitimate and duly recognised traditional ruler, which, among them is performing the New Yam Festival, adding that such acts would not be condoned by the state government.
He insisted that Igwe Gibson Nwosu remains the only traditional ruler empowered by Section 15 of the Traditional Rulers Law of Anambra State 2007 to preside over such festivals or carry out any function of a traditional ruler.
The statement read, “It has come to the attention of the Anambra State Government that one Augustine Chukwuezube Ndigwe alias “Uzu Awka” is parading himself as the traditional ruler of Awka. Not only that, he has taking steps to perform one of the major harvest seasons traditional rites known as New Yam Festival or “Iwa Iji” of the Awka people, thereby threatening the peace and tranquility of the town. The state government will not tolerate this.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the state government wishes to state emphatically that the only recognised traditional ruler of Awka is Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu II of Awka, whose recognition by the state government has not been withdrawn and he is the only one empowered by Section 15 of the Traditional Rulers Law of Anambra State 2007 to preside over such festivals or carry out any of the function of a traditional ruler in Awka.
“It is a criminal offence for any other person to do so by virtue of Section 20 of the Anambra State laws.
“The said Augustine Ndigwe is not the recognised traditional ruler of Awka and should henceforth desist from parading and portraying himself as the traditional ruler of Awka or attempting to usurp the rights of the legitimate and duly recognised traditional ruler, His Royal Highness Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu. Any such unlawful act in any part of Anambra State would not be condoned by the state government and the state will not hesitate to sanction the impostor according to the relevant laws of Anambra.”