Tuesday, 11 June 2024.

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Itam lacks authority to dissolve Efut Combine Assembly – Body

By Our Reporter

Efut Combined Assembly, the apex decision-making body of the Efut Kingdom has berated Prof. Itam Hogan Itam for trying to mislead the public with a news item in the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), Calabar, purportedly withdrawing certificates of recognition of some certificated Clan heads in Efut.

The body, in a press release on the matter, made available to newsmen in Calabar, on Monday, said Prof. Itam Hogan Itam had last Friday forcefully broken into the palace of Efut Combined Assembly in Anantigha, held a meeting where a resolution was purported taken to dissolve all traditional committees in Efut and the certificates of Muris and Ndabos withdrawn.

The meeting presided over by Prof. Itam also resolved to suspend some government-certified Clan and Village heads of Efut extraction.

The release signed by HRH Muri Edet Asuquo Okon, HRH Muri Ekpe Effiong Efiok, HRH Muri Ekpenyong Okon Ekpenyong, HRH Muri (Engr.) Edet Odiongka and the Secretary General of Efut Combined Assembly, HH Ndabu (Dr) Godwin Bassey, described it as a mirage as Prof. Itam Hogan Itam lacked authority to take what he never gave.

On the purported dissolution of the Efut Combined Assembly, they reminded Prof. Itam of the provisions of the Muri Munene Council of 1974 which confers powers on Efut Combined Assembly as the highest ruling body of the Efuts and C/183/95 which states that “It is the prerogative of Efut Combined Assembly to select a new Muri Munene of Efut…”

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Efut Combined Assembly also reminded Prof. Itam of a court order in Suit No: HC/102/2020, restraining him and others from interfering with the affairs of Efut Combined Assembly, and not doing anything inconsistent with the rights of the claimant, adding that the court order has not been set aside till date and as such, he has no authority whatsoever to suspend members of Efut Combined Assembly.

On the invasion of the Palace of Efut Combined Assembly, the group said Prof. Itam had filed a case in Suit No: HC/161/2023, praying the court to remove Efut Combined Assembly from the Palace in Anantigha but, while the matter is still pending in court, Prof. Itam, on the 4th June 2024, and cohorts invaded the Palace, destroyed the Assembly’s signpost and forcefully took over the palace, an act they said amounts to Contempt of Court and criminal by nature.

The traditional rulers described the purported suspension of members of the Efut Combined Assembly by Prof. Itam Hogan Itam as illegal, null and void. They said the court judgement in Suit No: HC/155/2021, dismissed the Muri Muneneship of Prof. Itam and as such, the said title is not to be attached to him as it has not been set aside by the court to date.

“The only authority Prof. Itam had was in the certificate of recognition issued to him by former Governor Ben Ayade which was cancelled by Justice Kufre of the Calabar High Court and now in the Appeal Court by Prof. Itam, and as such, he cannot be issued another certificate until the Suit in Appeal Court (CA/C/398/2019) is determined.

The traditional rulers lamented that the reconciliation committee set up by the State Governor to bring all the aggrieved parties together has never invited the Efut Combined Assembly for a peace talk because Prof. Itam believes that the only way to achieve his aim is to resort to self-help by using force to invade the palace.

They, however, appealed to Governor Bassey Otu to again look into the matter critically with the aim of finding lasting peace in the Efut kingdom.

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