A federal high court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State has declared the removal of the Muri Munene of Efuts and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, Muri (Prof.) Itam Hogan by Governor Ben Ayade as illegal, GRASSROOT REPORTERS has gathered.
The governor had sacked the traditional ruler for attending a meeting of Cross River South Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders held at the residence of former governor Donald Duke.
Muri approached the court in Suit HC/MSC/154/2022.
The court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Ayade, ordered the reinstatement of the monarch.
The judge ruled on Tuesday that the applicant was not given a fair hearing by the panel set up to investigate his alleged presence at the political meeting.
In the suit between Prof Itam (the applicant) and the state Governor, the special adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Matters and the state Attorney-General, the applicant sought to quash his removal as paramount ruler of Calabar South.
Before delivering his judgement, Justice Ayade reviewed the submissions of the counsels for both the applicant and the respondents, cited several authorities and upheld the arguments of the applicant’s counsel that the applicant was not given a fair hearing and likened the removal of Prof Itam to “a palace coup,” and hasty, adding that the applicant was not given the opportunity to defend himself, “which violates principles of natural justice.”
The judge, therefore, ordered that the applicant’s letter of recognition be restored with immediate effect.