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HURIWA rebukes Okorocha for persecuting pro-Jonathan royal fathers •Says: ‘Make peace not war’

By News Express on 18/06/2015

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) yesterday sounded a note of caution for the Imo State Governor Mr. Rochas Okorocha to tread softly in his relationship with members of traditional institution so as to maintain communal peace and rapid rural development.

In a statement issued in Owerri and jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the rights group faulted the decision by the Imo State governor in sanctioning with suspension and reprimand, the traditional rulers for only hosting the immediate past President of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

HURIWA said the action of Imo State Governor is a breach of all well known African traditional value system of hospitality and respect which was what those traditional custodians of their respective communities extended to the then President who as at that time was the embodiment of Nigeria’s sovereign powers and therefore deserved the highest levels of respect for both himself and his good offices.

Aside those core issues, the rights group also upbraided the action of the Imo State Governor because it is a breach of the constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and right to personal liberty which are not just local legal provisions but have universal application.

HURIWA said by their suspension, what the Imo State helmsman has achieved is the tyrannical display of overbearing political might and dictatorship even as the import to every discerning minds is that the governor by not wanting these traditional rulers to accord the then president respect and hospitality during his visit to Imo in March 2015, is also conveying the wrong idea that disobeying and violating these revered African cultural values should become the norm in the thinking of the Imo State Governor.

The rights group has therefore advised Okorocha not to enforce hasty and hostile politically vindictive decisions that can backfire and create communal tensions and destabilising the peace of Imo State. The group reminded the governor that the election campaign period is over even as now is the time for real good governance.

“May we humbly refer the Imo State governor to several provisions of Chapter four of the Nigerian Constitution and specifically to section 35 on the right to personal liberty; Section 40 on right to peaceful assembly and association which in the case of the latter unambiguously guarantees every citizen the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons….”

Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha and the traditional ruler of Obi Orodo, Eze Samuel Ohiri, who is also Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, are presently engaged in a battle of wits reportedly with over 64 traditional rulers for suspending some and trying others for alleged insubordination.

Those purportedly slammed with suspension included four first class traditional rulers who are members of the inner council while 60 others are to face a disciplinary panel, according to news report quoted by HURIWA.

The suspended traditional rulers were accused of defying the directive of the state government and receiving former President Goodluck Jonathan, on the ground that he was  not a traditional ruler, in March when he visited Owerri for a parley with traditional rulers in Imo State ahead of the tensed March 28 presidential election in which the opposition All Progressives Congress of Muhammadu Buhari won and ironically that also is the political platform of Governor Rochas.  The former President was the candidate of the then national ruling party of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The four traditional rulers suspended are Eze (Pharm) Emmanuel Njemanze of Owerri Nchi; Eze Desmond Ogugua of Umuore Obizi in Ezinihitte Mbaise local government; Eze Edmund Njoku of Umuenyi community in Isiala Mbano council area and Eze Sunday Okoro of Emii Community in Owerri North council area. The suspension of the revered traditional rulers has considerably sparked off seemingly subdued tensions and mutual suspicions in the state.

•Photo shows Governor Okorocha.

Source News Express

Posted 18/06/2015 06:00:09 AM

 

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