Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Thursday described as a hoax the purpoted ostracism of the people of Edeaniagu village of Ishi-Ozalla in Nkanu West Local Government Area by the community.
Ugwuanyi, who addressed protesters from the village at the Government House, Enugu, said that such practice had no place in the state.
Recall that Ishi-Ozalla Automomous Community had been in turmoil following the alleged labelling of the people of Edeaniagu as outcasts and their subsequent ostracism by the community.
Ugwuanyi, however, described such alleged pronouncement as a practice which did not exist in any part of the state and warned those behind such to desist of face the wrath of the law.
He gave the assurance to the protesters that the state government would take the necessary steps to restore normalcy in the area.
The governor consequently suspended the March 22, 2021 proposed election to fill the kingship stool in the community, which was the cause of the crisis.
According to the governor, a people in crisis cannot be allowed to go into such election.
Earlier, the leader of the group, Chief Munachimso Okoye, said that they came to notify the governor about a looming crisis in their community.
Okoye, a priestess of Edeaniagu village, described the current situation in their village as ominous adding that it needed urgent intervention of the state government.
She said that the community had known no peace since then as some prominent politicians had hijacked the administration of the community.
She said that the crisis was instigated by some of the political bigwigs in the community who wanted to become kingmakers.
She said that the trouble started when Edeaniagu village nominated one Sylvester Nweke to contest the traditional stool.
“This did not go down well with a prominent politician in the community who instigated the rest of the people to tag us as outcasts and subsequently purported that they ostracised us,” she said.
Okoye described Edeaniagu village as an aborigine and the first settlers in Ozalla clan, adding that it was demeaning to tag the sons and daughters as outcasts.
“How can a single person instigate the ostracism of a whole village and put a law that anybody that talks to us will either be banished or pay a fine of N200,000?
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters numbering more that 200 also made a stopover at the Enugu State House of Assembly and were received by the House Committee Chairman on Chieftaincy, Mr Ezenta Ezeani.
Ezeani assured them of the intervention of the legislators to ensure that the right things were done in the community.
NAN further reports that the protesters carried placards with the inscription: ‘Say No to Ostracism’, ‘All we Want is Peace in Ishi Ozalla’, ‘Enugu is our State, Stop Dividing Us’ and ‘Resurgence of Caste System in Ishi-Ozalla is an Act of Greed and Wickedness’. (NAN)