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Ugwuanyi orders suspension of traditional ruler’s election over alleged excommunication

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Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, yesterday, ordered suspension of election of the traditional ruler of Ishi-Ozalla autonomous community in Nkanu West Council slated for next Monday until further notice.

The directive followed a protest by the people of Edeaniagu Village in Ishi-Ozalla over their alleged excommunication by the Ishi-Ozalla Community.

Elderly men, women and youths of Edeaniagu had staged a peaceful protest to Government House, Enugu, alleging that the leadership of the Ishi-Ozalla Community and some politicians in the area led by a former minister, ostracised them from the community after tagging them slaves.

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Carrying placards with inscriptions as “Peace Before Igweship Election,” “All We Want Is Peace In Ishi-Ozalla,” and “Stop Harassing Our Youths And Elders,” among others, they alleged that indigenes of the village had been humiliated and intimidated for being branded as slaves.

Spokesman of the group, Chief (Mrs.) Munachimso Okoye, told Governor Ugwuanyi that her people were no longer allowed to mingle freely in the community, adding: “They placed N200, 000 fine on anyone that relates with them in the community.”

Explaining that Edeaniagu was a bona fide part of the Ishi-Ozalla Community, she stated that it was unheard of in the 21 century that some persons could be treated as slaves

Okoye, who narrated how their elderly men and women were chased out of the Church during worship for being tagged ‘slaves,’ said the move to ostracise them was hatched to scuttle the ambition of a member of the village, who was aspiring for the kingship stool, which had remained empty in the last nine years.

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“Since the last nine years after our traditional ruler died, the Regent took over and has been terrorising the community. He has been using his position to create trouble in the nine villages of Ishi-Ozalla. He wants to be the sole arbiter and has kept Ishi-Ozalla in bondage.

“We want to be redeemed. We say no to ostracism in Ishi-Ozalla, because Edeaniagu is a bona fide member of Ishi-Ozalla and we say no to abominable conducts. If we don’t stop what is happening now, we don’t know what they will call our children in the next 50 years. We are not saying anybody should leave Ishi-Ozalla. We want to live in peace,” she stated

Responding, Governor Ugwuanyi, who was touched by their story, insisted that the state government would not tolerate traditions that demean the people of the state, and suspended the Igweship election billed for next Monday.

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