The Edo State Government on Thursday said it had suspended the Onojie of Uromi in the Esan North-East Local Government Area, His Royal Highness, Anselm O. Aidenojie, from office for seven days for an alleged assault.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Peter Okhiria, indicated that the Onojie’s suspension was contained in a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, and dated October 26, 2016, following the decision of the Edo State Executive Council.
The letter titled, ‘Suspension from office as traditional ruler,’ the government alleged that the traditional ruler allegedly attacked and inflicted grievous bodily harm on one Mrs. Betty Okoebor on September 28, 2016, in public “to the embarrassment of those present and causing disgrace to your otherwise esteemed office.”
The Onojie was alleged to have refused to respond to a query issued by the “appropriate authority” within the stipulated 72 hours, thereby demonstrating total disregard and disrespect for constituted authority.
He was also accused of allegedly travelling out of the country without obtaining permission to further demonstrate his disregard for extant regulations and laws.
The state government urged the traditional to tender an apology to the victim and the Edo State Government within the seven-day period or stand deposed as the Onojie of Uromi.
It explained that the state executive council acted in line with its powers contained in Section 28(1) of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979) and all other laws enabling it and arrived at a conclusion that the said misconduct and other acts of misconduct of the Esan ruler were not only distasteful, but also unbecoming of a traditional ruler of his status.
The statement added, “Based on the above, your Highness has denied yourself of the opportunity of entering a plea against the charges against you that were duly conveyed in writing to you, and therefore in exercise of the powers conferred on the State Executive Council, by virtue of Section 28(1) of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979) and all other laws enabling it in that behalf, has approved your suspension from office as the Onojie of Uromi with immediate effect (and) for a period of seven days, that is, from October 26, 2016, to the November 1, 2016.
“Consequently, within the suspension period, you shall cease to be recognised and treated as a traditional ruler or as the Onojie of Uromi in Edo State and you shall not exercise any powers or function or enjoy any privileges provided for under the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979) and all other relevant provisions under the said law.
“Within the seven-day suspension period, you are required to tender unreserved apologies to your victim, Mrs. Betty Okoebor, and the Government of Edo State. However, if within the said seven days no public apology is tendered by your very self, you will stand deposed as the Onojie of Uromi.”
Efforts by our correspondent to reach the Onojie for comments were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.
However, it was learnt that the Aidenojie II maintained that he would not react until his subjects reached a decision.