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Abia Panel Initiates Review as Monarchs and Others Present Claims

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The Abia State government has launched an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to scrutinize the issuance of certificates of office and Staff of Office to certain traditional rulers by the past administration on May 9, 2023, along with other related matters.

Various individuals, including traditional rulers, presidents-general, youth leaders, and women leaders from the impacted autonomous communities, have been summoned to appear before the Panel. They are required to provide supporting documents for their claims.

According to a statement signed by Chairman Chief Magistrate Uche Uwanuakwa (Rted) and Secretary Chuka Agomo, the leaders of the affected autonomous communities have been asked to gather at the council hall of Ndi Eze within the Abia State ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs in Umuahia.

Among the autonomous communities listed by the Panel are Ndi Ugo, Ugwu Nkpa, Isiala, Oriukwu, Elugwu Akanu Item, Umuhu, Nkwo Amaiyi, Eluama, Ibeku Ngwa, Ugwuawuru, Umutu, Nkwoegwu, and Usaka Ugwu Afugiri.

A traditional ruler from one of the affected autonomous communities, unfazed by the summon, expressed readiness to appear before the Panel as he believed in the legitimacy of his leadership status, having been duly elected by his people. He mentioned a rival who filed a petition against his ascendancy to the throne out of envy.

Similarly, a member from another community indicated that the traditional ruler in their area did not receive unanimous support from the populace, and therefore, he will be present at the panel to present his arguments.

During the inauguration of the Panel of Inquiry, the Abia State Commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Uzor Nwachukwu, urged the members to conduct their duties diligently without bias. The panel’s mandate includes resolving disputes and issues in communities arising from the recognition and certification of traditional rulers dated May 9, 2023, under the previous regime.

Nwachukwu further disclosed that the Panel, tasked with a two-month timeline to finalize its investigations and submit a report to the Abia state government, is also mandated to probe the alleged improper distribution of staff of office to two individuals within a single community.

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