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Indigenes of Umuosu Ubakala Community, Umuahia South Local Government Area, have pleaded with the Abia State Government to lift the suspension of Eze Iheonye Simeon Ibezim, their traditional ruler.

The people made the plea at a press conference held in Umuahia, the state capital on Monday.

DAILY POST earlier reported that the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, had suspended the traditional ruler of Umuosu Autonomous Community in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state, Eze Iheonye Simeon Ibezim.

The suspension was contained in a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Deacon J. C Nwanju.

The suspended Abia monarch was accused among other misdemeanors, of alleged high-handedness, intimidation, and insensitivity to the plight of his subjects.

Chief Moses Ekwueme was however appointed as Regent of the Community until the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the Abia Government

But addressing newsmen through their representatives, Chief Chidiebere Ogbonna, Chief Chukwuemeka Asihibe, and Lady Veronica Uwakwe, the Indigenes of Umuosu Community, maintained that their traditional ruler was innocent of all charges leveled against him, saying that his continued incarceration will not only bring anarchy in the community but will affect the PDP he aligns with, in subsequent elections.

According to the Abia community, “the community is virtually PDP and see no reason why their monarch should be blackmailed by those at the corridors of the government house for their selfish reasons.

“Eze Iheonye Simeon Ibezim is a perfect and God-fearing gentleman who since being on suspension has maintained his calmness, not gone to court in spite of obvious and glaring loopholes in their frivolous petition, but has been cleaning down everybody in the community, that Godswill will prevail at the long run.

“This is a retired State Director of Health whose people begged to come out as their traditional ruler after restoring peace in the community in an intractable case hitherto defiled every attempt made by several persons, groups, and even by his coup plotters. The government was deceived into taking a hash decision by suspending the Eze without hearing from him the truth, and it has lasted so long now. His Excellency, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu(Ph.D), in the interest of fairness and lasting peace and unity in Umuosu Autonomous Community, is requested to call off and cancel the suspension placed on Eze Dr. Iheonye Simeon Ibezim, his people’s choice.

Ikpeazu suspends Abia monarch over alleged high handedness, unlawful arrest of subjects

“On the issue of change of name of the Autonomous Community without following the due process as the opposition alleged against the traditional ruler, the Eze said there is no provision in their constitution prescribing or stipulating how Umuosu as a name should be changed. However, the issue of change of name started in 2003 and gained prominence at the December 2020 general conference, it was resolved that Umuosu as a name is being misconstrued by some communities in Igbo land as belonging to the “Osu” Castle system, and has been debating both the male and females the would-be-suitors at times. Others are bad lucks, incessant fights at gatherings (Osulogu), and disunity.

“There was wide consultation to all sons and daughters of the community at home and in the diaspora. Happily enough, the community response unanimously endorsed a change of name and suggested several names. Eze-in-council only harmonized and picked the one that has more acceptance. The process of formalization is still ongoing, that is, publishing it for further criticism, gazette, etc. It is not true that Eze Ibezim did not follow due process”.

“In dissolving the federated Union, it is the coup plot team, those that against our traditional ruler, that dissolved a well-constituted committee set up to amend the community’s constitution, thereafter organize a federated Union election to produce the next OEAUF Executives. If Chief Chidi Okekwu led executive was elected by the people, they would have called or waited for a general conference meeting before writing their frivolous and malicious petition instead of taking laws into their hands by petitioning against their traditional ruler (Eze) within four days of entering into office. It was this secret election that made the Eze-in-Council invite the police to prevent such unconstitutional election to prevent bloodshed, breakdown of law and order, yet the coup plot team had names as executives which they used in writing the unverified malicious petition.

“The crime of our traditional ruler to the politicians from this community against him, our traditional ruler (Eze) was able to restore peace to Umuosu community by solely sponsoring and headed peace committee that restored peace in the community in 2017 after being in court for about twenty-eight years over the ownership of the ancient forest land; a case which the politicians tried on different times to settle without success. The original peace agreement paper is available for viewing. Eze Ibezim refused to join hands with them (the politicians), to illegally dispose of the said ancient land (Okata forest), as discussed at the meeting held in Chief Tony Ukasanya’s house in October 2020. Again, the Eze-in-Council rejected a fake letter purported to have come from the Abia State government dated 02/03/2021 requesting for the new Eze to release the same community’s ancient forest (Okata land). Our Eze is not known to move with any police or soldiers as alleged by the mischief-makers. He is known to have been assisting several indigents and less privileged people in his community; funds special events, women and youth activities, and free medical services through his hospital situated in the same community.

Continuing, the Indigenes of Umuosu Ubakala Community stated, “In his peaceful dispositions, the HRH Eze Dr. Ibezim has sort for the intervention of well-meaning persons in the state including close allies to Chief Ukasanya, for the amicable resolution of any perceived difference. Our Eze has appealed and exhausted all internal processes for a peaceful resolution, to the extent that he had appeared in several summon by a panel inaugurated on 7th August 2021 to investigate the allegation against our Eze, and he has still responded to the allegations leveled against him or the resolution, since that August, report of the panel is yet to be out, about three months now.

“The various groups in the community have since then written to the government house affirming the innocence of their Eze on all allegations leveled against him, namely the Eze-in-Council in her letter dated 28/04/2021 endorsed by all the village heads except Chief Moses Ekwueme, the son of one of the accusers, (Charles Ekwueme) put as the Regent”.

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