From: Petrus Obi, Enugu
About nine elders of Ugwogo Nike Community in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State have dragged their Igwe-elect to court for allegedly violating customs and traditions of the community as it concerns enthronement of a new traditional ruler.
One of the elders is said to be 120 years old.
The matter, which came up at an Enugu State High Court, on Thursday, was adjourned to April 3, 2017, for mention just as the court granted an application for substituted service on the defendants as requested by plaintiff’s counsel, Agu G. Agu, who expressed concern that the defendants were not in court having been served.
Barr. Agu also informed the court that the first defendant and Igwe elect of Ugwogo, Emeka Ugwu issued an order threatening that anyone from the community who attends the court sitting will be ostracized.
He, therefore, sought the protection of the court for the members of the community whom he noted are mostly the aged who cannot run or defend themselves.
Justice Reuben Onuora, while granting the application for substituted service, refused to make any pronouncement over the alleged threat from the 1st defendant urging the elders to go in peace and be law abiding.
“We don’t expect anything untoward to happen because the first defend is a lawyer and should know how to carry on without taking laws into his hands. But if he does that, we are here and we know what to do in that circumstance.”
Elder Raphael Uguwu, the oldest man, and eight other elders of the community in Suit NO: E/657/2016 are seeking a court declaration that the Igwe-elect is not fit and proper to be installed/coronated the Igwe of Ugwogo Nike for breaching the guideline for selection of a traditional ruler in the community.
They are also accusing the Igwe-elect of failing to perform traditional rites by presenting himself to the Elders in council for the performance of customary rites condition precedent to coronation /installation.
They further claim that the Igwe elect has not been formally presented to the General Assembly before celebration of any kind and indeed functioning as an Igwe.
That the Igwe elect has been holding meetings without full attendance of all organs that constitute the General assembly and its final decision that must be sanctioned by the Council of Elders.
They are further seeking the courts’ declaration that Chief Kelvin Nnamani, and not Nelson Okoh, appointed by the Igwe elect, is the Town Union chairman and Hereford Regent of Ugwogo Nike Community until a new traditional ruler is coronated and installed.