Alexander Okere, Benin
The traditional ruler of Uromi in Edo State, the Ojuromi of Uromi, Anselm Eidenojie II, has instituted a legal action against the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and eleven others over his suspension for one year as the traditional ruler of the community by the Edo State Government.
The state government had earlier suspended the monarch for seven days for allegedly assaulting one Betty Okoebor during the September 28 governorship election in Esan North-East Local Government Area. The government had directed him to apologise to the woman within the period of the seven-day suspension or risk dethronement.
But in another development, the state executive council, in a letter dated November 4, 2016, and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, extended the traditional ruler’s suspension to one year. It also stripped him of all the privileges and rights of the Ojuromi of Uromi, citing Section 28(1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979), adding that his remuneration from the five per cent monthly allocation to the local government shall be appropriated and donated to orphanages during the period.
But the traditional ruler, through his counsel, Benjamin Iruobe, urged the court to declare that the action of the governor (second respondent) amounted to recklessness and abuse of office, was unconstitutional, unlawful, actionable and without a just cause.
Other respondents in the suit are the state Commissioner of Police, Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Zone 5); the Inspector-General of Police, the Nigeria Police Force, one Betty Okoebor and one Matthew Okoebor.
The plaintiff, in the suit instituted in pursuance to Order Two and Four of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rules, 2009, under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, among others, requested an order of the court for the enforcement of his fundamental rights under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in terms of the relief sought in the statement in support of his application.
The suspended monarch also prayed the court to order that the sum of N1bn be paid to him as compensation for damages against the respondents jointly and severally and as a reparation for the alleged assault, torture, arrest, detention and harassment against him in the course of their alleged unlawful acts.
He further urged the court to grant an injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, agents, servants and or privies or such other persons from oppressing him or imposing any inhibition or restrictions on his freedom of movement or his agents and family, in respect of the complaint.