Governor Martin Elechi of the eastern Nigerian state of Ebonyi has announced the dethronement of two traditional rulers and sacked two village heads in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state for sabotaging government’s programmes.
Elechi said that the affected traditional rulers “sabotaged and decimated” the Nigercem at Nkalagu, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Dr Onyekachi Eni.
The dethroned chiefs are Eze Mathias Nnaji of Nkalagu, Eze Michael Egbo of Amaezu, Prince Benjamin Onwa, regent of Umuhuali and Prince Augustine Okwor, the regent of Nkalaha.
“The traditional rulers and regents were sabotaging government efforts to stem organised decimation of Nigeria Cement factory (Nigercem), Nkalagu. Government views with embarrassment attempts by the traditional rulers to sabotage its effort to reclaim Nigercem from Eastern Bulkcem company which was privatised in 2002 and which in turn sold it to Ibeto Group,’’ the government said.
The Eastern Bulkcem in 2009, dragged the Ebonyi Government to the courts in Enugu and Abakaliki for revoking its Certificate of Occupancy but the courts declined to nullify the order as prayed by the core-investor.
The statement said that neither the seller nor the buyer of Nigercem notified the State Government and people of Ebonyi as strategic partners in the business before the sale.
According to the statement, the government had used every available opportunity to brief the people of the area and the state about developments in the company.
“The State Government, therefore, regrets that in spite of its efforts, some compromised traditional rulers from Ishielu colluded with agents of Ibeto Group to disparage her and sabotage its efforts to stem the organised decimation of Nigercem,’’ it stated.
The government directed the affected traditional rulers and regents to immediately vacate their stools and cease to represent or parade themselves as traditional rulers of the affected communities.
They were also ordered to hand over their certificates of recognition and staff of office to the chairman of Ishielu Local Government Council within 48 hours.