Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has described as laughable, allegations that he suspended 40 traditional rulers in the state for misconduct.
The governor, who debunked the allegations in a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, insisted that he had never interfered in the affairs of the council of traditional rulers in the state to warrant his suspension of the monarchs.
He explained that the state council of traditional rulers had issued the suspension after deliberating and indicting the 40 monarchs of gross misconduct and disobedience to the council.
Okorocha also said the purported restraining order obtained by the monarchs from the court against their suspension was meaningless.
“The reported court order restraining me from suspending the traditional rulers is questionable and even suspicious. We challenge the traditional rulers to publish the reference court order for Nigerians to read, because we strongly believe that an order cannot be given in vacuum. It must be anchored on something”, he said.
The statement further maintained that the council of traditional rulers is established by law and the law establishing it credited some functions to the leadership of the council independent of the state government or the governor.
But the law it added, did not give the leadership of the council the right to sack anybody as an Eze but can suspend any Eze from the council and that he maintained, was what happened.
On the claim that the traditional rulers went to court to challenge his alleged excesses, the governor insisted that the traditional rulers are yet to tell Nigerians the “crux of the matter”.
Okorocha said the traditional rulers in question are “only being hunted by their miscalculation during the 2015 elections. They are running when no one is pursuing them. They allowed themselves to be deceived by the PDP”.
Four monarchs, he explained in the statement, were suspended from the council but not by him.
Okorocha also pointed out that the council law empowers him to suspend, sack or dethrone any traditional ruler found wanting in the discharge of his duties, but maintained that he has never taken any action against any traditional ruler, especially those who went to court.