Court Dethrones Calabar King
The Muri Munene, Professor Hogan Itam, the King of Efut and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South Local Government Area, Cross River State, has been dethroned by a state High Court sitting in Calabar presided over by Justice Edem Koofreh.
Justice Koofreh sacked the king in his judgment in a suit by Etubom Nyong Okon and five others against the recognition of Hogan Itam as the Muri Munene and President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers’ Council by the Cross River State Government.
The Etuboms had sought the removal of the king on the grounds that his assumption of the throne contravened Sections 17(2), 18, 19 and 20 of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Law of 2004.
The claimants had argued that by the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council Laws of 2004, the paramount ruler of Calabar South can only be selected by and from among the clan heads in Calabar South. And Itam, they said, is not one.
They said: “We seek a declaration that the recognition of the defendant as the paramount ruler of Calabar South and President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers Council is unlawful, null and void.”
In the judgment, Justice Koofreh held “it is hereby declared that by the combined provision of Sections 17(2)18,19 Laws of Cross River State, the defendant’s selection and recognition as Muri Munene of Efut does not confer on him a right to serve as Paramount Ruler of Calabar South and President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers.”
The judge agreed with the claimants that by the combined effects of Sections 17(2) 19, 20 of the Traditional Rulers Laws of Cross River State 2004, the President of the Calabar South Traditional Rulers Councils can only be selected by and from among the clan heads in Calabar, to which Hogan Itam does not belong.
Justice Koofreh declared that the certificate of recognition issued by the Cross River State Government to Itam as President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers Council is “by order of this court cancelled.”
He restrained Itam, his agents, defendants and privies from parading, recognising or dealing as the traditional ruler of Calabar South and President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers Council and from performing the duties of the President of Calabar South Traditional Rulers Council.
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