Home Abia Autonomous Communities Head To Appeal Court To Challenge Withdrawal Of Recognition...

Abia Autonomous Communities Head To Appeal Court To Challenge Withdrawal Of Recognition…

Two autonomous communities in the Ohafia local government area of Abia, Eziukwu Ebem and Ekeluogo Ebem autonomous Communities have appealed against the judgment of the Abia State High Court upholding the exclusion of their communities as duly recognized autonomous communities in the state.

The two autonomous communities were in 2002 created out of the Ebem Oha autonomous community by the state government and each of their traditional rulers was presented with a staff of office.

However, in 2010, one Ezie S.A Okorie went to court in suit No: HOH/21/2010 to challenge the legality of the creation of Eziukwu Ebem and Ekeluogo Ebem as autonomous communities and called for their abrogation.

The court dismissed the suit and pronounced the creation of the two autonomous communities as lawful.

This judgment was never appealed! Having failed at the court, findings in the House of Assembly revealed that the same elements who instituted the dismissed Suit No: HOH/21/2010 had gone to the House of Assembly to demand the scrapping of the two autonomous communities.

But in 2015, the Abia State House of Assembly effected an amendment to law No. 8 which borders on Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities of the State.

When the law was made public in 2016, it was discovered that Eziukwu Ebem and Ekeluogo Ebem autonomous communities were missing from the list of recognized Autonomous Communities in Abia State.

Sponsored After seeking administrative measures to correct the omission of the two autonomous communities from the schedule to Law No. 8 of 2015, which did not yield any dividend, the leaders of the two communities sought judicial intervention.

However, on the 8th day of February 2024, Abia State High Court Umuahia Judicial Division delivered a judgment in suit Nos: HOH/133/2016 and HOH/134/2016 instituted by the two communities where it affirmed the exclusion by the House of Assembly.

Not satisfied with the ruling of the court, the communities approached the Owerri Division of the Court of Appeal.

They have also applied for a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeals.

The appeals are predicated because the decision of the House of Assembly was taken without a fair hearing from the affected communities and the judgment, if allowed to stand, will result in a miscarriage of justice.

Counsel to the appellants who is also a former President of Ebem Ohafia Development Union (EODU) – Barrister Anaga Kalu Anaga recalls that these autonomous communities attracted infrastructure such as transformers and health centres.

This he states is because the communities were the basis for distribution similar to the states for which Nde Igbo now regret not pushing for the creation of more states from the region.

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