From Chuks Moses, Awka
One of the contending, presiding monarchs of Nawfia, community, Njikoka Council area of Anambra State, Igwe Chijoke Nwankwo, has warned all and sundry to keep off his domain throughout this weekend, to avoid being held responsible for the gathering storm of threat to peace in the area.
“Nobody should come into Nwafia in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State on Friday, 22nd September,2023 for the purposes of celebrating any new yam festival…”, he warned in a statement.
He declared that the occasion of 2023 New yam (Igu Aro) festival of the community has already been celebrated on September 15, 2023 by himself.
Nawfia incidentally is among numerous communities currently bogged by leadership/rulership crises in the state.
The natural ruler urged members of the public to maintain the peace by staying away from Nawfia on Sept 22, 2023.
The state police command, through its spokesman, Ikenga Tochukwu said they were not aware of the development.
He said, “I don’t have any information on that. If there is any complaint there, Nawfia people should write to us. There’s no security threat as I have heard. This thing you are saying is more like information to me. Nobody has reported anything to us. For me, there is no issue. I don’t have any information on that.”
Igwe Nwankwo’s statement said,
”The general public is hereby warned that anybody parading Igwe/ Eze Nawfia is an impostor, except Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, pursuant to the ruling of Awka High Court of 21st June,2022 and 28th October,2022.
“The ruling has not been upturned nor stay of execution granted.
“It is absolutely imperative to advise the general public to stay out of Nawfia for ANY NEW YAM FESTIVAL as that has been performed on 15th September,2023 by Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo.”
A Chief Ogochukwu Daniel Obele had in a lavish radio announcement invited members of the public to come around,that he would celebrate the New yam festival on Friday, Sept 22, 2023 as a traditional ruler.
The contention that he is traditional ruler of Nawfia was reportedly settled by a court in June 2022 when the presiding judge in his ruling ordered that the status quo ante be maintained until all suits thereto are concluded.
Nwankwo, had earlier on Sept 15, 2023 celebrated the community’s new yam festival which ushered and authorized citizens to start eating new yam freely wherever they are.
Igwe Nwankwo and the state government have been having a running battle for seeking a legal means of resolution of the disagreements over his visit to the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja nearly three years ago.
Consequent upon that visit along with some other monarchs from the State, they were suspended from their positions as traditional rulers by the then governor, Willie Obiano.
Igwe Nwankwo, thereafter went to court, over the government’s alleged high-handedness.
In addition, while the matter lingered, Gov Obiano certified Chief Obele as new traditional ruler of Nawfia community. But Nwankwo obtained a court order stopping Obele from parading himself as the traditional ruler of Nawfia. But the order was ignored, giving rise to the present tense situation and threat to peace in the community.
When contacted, Igwe Nwankwo admitted having officially drawn the attention of the state government in writing, to the development, which the Hon Commissioner for Local Government/Community Affairs, Tonycollins Nwabunwanne who acknowledged that the State Government would brief security agencies on the issue on or before Friday about the court ruling on the matter. He enjoined the people of Nawfia to remain calm as, according to him, government was on top of the situation.