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Court sacks Cross River monarch

A Cross River state High Court has sacked the paramount ruler of the Efuts in Calabar South LGA, Prof. Hogan Itam.

The court, presided over by Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh, on Wednesday also restrained him from performing the duties and functions of those offices.

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The court order marked Suit No. HC/442/2018 had Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon; Etubom Micah Archibong; Etubom I. D. Henshaw; Etubom Okon Ekpenyong Eyamba; Etubom Bassey Ekeng and Etinyin Orok Asuquo as claimants while Governor Ben Ayade, John Eyikwaje who is the Special Adviser for Chieftaincy Affairs, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice as well as Muri Munene, Itam Hogan Itam as defendants.

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Part of the judgement reads: “It is hereby declared that by the combined provision of section 17(2), 18, 19, and traditional rulers’ law. Cap 14. Laws of Cross River State, 2004, the 4th defendant’s (Prof. Itam) selection and recognition as Muri Munene of the Efuts, does not confer on him a right to serve as the paramount ruler of Calabar South Local Government Area and president of the Calabar South traditional rulers council.

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“It is hereby declared that by the combined effect of sections 17(2), 19 and 20 of the traditional rulers laws, cap 14, laws of Cross River Tate, 2004, the paramount ruler of Calabar South local government area can only be selected by and from among the clan heads in Calabar south local government area.”

Meanwhile, Itam claimed that he was not aware of the order.

“I have not seen the order and I am not aware of it. I cannot talk to you on the issue now until I understand the intention of the claimants and the judgement that was given,” he said.

In October last year, Governor Ben Ayade had issued the certificate of recognition to Itam as the paramount ruler of the area after more than ten years of struggle for the seat and thus dethroned Muri Effiong Mbukpa.

However, soon after receiving recognition from government, Itam was faced with another hurdle as one Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon, leading five others, returned to the court, asking the court to declare his enthronement null and void.

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