Anambra State Governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo has warned persons addressing themselves as traditional rulers or force anybody to address them as such to desist forthwith.
He said those found guilty of such offenses would be punished with minimum of six months imprisonment.
The governor gave the warning on Saturday while presenting certificates of recognition to four newly elected traditional rulers in the state.
The traditional rulers are: HRH Igwe Alexander E. Azike (Idu III Igboukwu), HRH Igwe Ikechukwu S.C. Ezeofor (Ezedioramma II Umuona), HRH Igwe Barr. Mkpuorah P.S. Ngini (Igwe Gidigidi I Isuaniocha), HRH Eze Augustine I.C. Nwangwu (Eze Ohazurumee Ajali).
They were presented with certificates of recognition at the ANSEC Chambers, Government House, Awka.
Soludo congratulated them for being elected by their people and for having gone through the process in accordance with the constitution, customs, and traditions of their respective communities, leading to their ascension of the throne.
“Under that same law of Anambra State, if any other person addresses himself as a traditional ruler or forces anybody to address him as such, the person is guilty of an offense punishable with a minimum of six months imprisonment. If any such happens, we will grab the person and put him behind bars.
“The Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council is here to admit you all into the council,” Governor Soludo stressed.
The Governor advised the newly elected traditional rulers to be fathers to all in their respective communities, emphasizing his expectation of peace, fairness, justice and love in their various communities.
“The election of Traditional Rulers were quite keenly contested in some places. This is because we are operating a peculiar modern system in which a monarchical system coexists with the democratic system.
“The town union constitution provides processes for the election of Traditional Rulers and most traditional rulers are products of this constitution.
“We are discussing on how to evolve from a town union government to a community government. This is because in a few communities, their Traditional Rulers emerge through a process other than through the constitution of the town union.
“We are trying to solve this by creating a distinct, separate institution of the traditional rulers that coexists with the community governance structure without stepping on the others’ toes”, stated the Governor.
Professor Soludo pointed out that most communities in the state had caretaker committees, and that he understood the politics behind appointing associates, but that it is best for the people to decide.
He said that the state government had gone around to conduct a proper town union election in 110 of these communities, and that the character of his government has no intention to impose anybody, as it has to be the will of the people.
“The state government will only come in when it becomes a situation which the people are unable to resolve”, concluded the Governor.
The Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, Hon. Tony-Collins Nwabunwanne said that the government was able to resolve the issues prevalent in the four communities in line with the Governor’s directive, stating that they passed through the processes including the community, town union and state levels, as well as security clearance.
On his part, the Chairman Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, thanked the Governor for his efforts in ensuring law and order in Anambra communities.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, Head of Service, Barr. Theodora Okwy Igwegbe, Principal Secretary to the Governor, Barr. JPC Anaeto, Chief of Protocol to the Governor, Mr Chinedu Nwoye, among others attended the event.