The Mayor of Calabar Municipality Local Government Area in Cross River state, Hon. Effefiong Ita, locked out the entire traditional Rulers Council of the area from holding a stakeholders meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Sen Sandy Onor.
When Cross River Hub visited the council secretariat, the traditional chambers secretariat were under lock and key with the Paramount Ruler and his cabinet seen sitting outside in protest against the action of council chairman.
Within the council secretariat, armed soldiers attached to Operation Akpakwu (state security outfit) and said to be deployed by by chairman, Hon. Efeffiong Nta, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were seen in strategic places monitoring people moving in and out of the secretariat.
A council staff who preferred anonymity revealed that the council boss personally locked the chamber in the wee hours of the day and left with the keys, insisting that the Royal Fathers can not play host to an opposition party within his domain.
He said: “He also gave a directive that no meeting of whatever kind should take place in the Secretariat. I am working based on directive.”
Asked if there was issue with the secretariat, he said: “There is no issue here, the traditional rulers met here this month of January.”
Addressing journalists in front of the traditional chambers, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality, Ndidem Eta Eteta, described the action of the council chairman as an “affront and unmitigated embarrassment to the traditionals.
Decrying such ugly development, the Paramount Ruler said: “We came here today following the request of the PDP for a meeting members of the traditional institution in Calabar Municipal by 2:00pm only to discover that our Chamber has been locked to deny us access.
“This is why we are outside here. I have never been subjected to this sort of embarrassment and we don’t know why. We are disturbed. Whoever did that should return the key to us and let it not happen again because we won’t take the insult anymore.
“We should stop insulting traditional rulers. Let the government respect our stools.
This chamber is the official venue for all our routine engagements.”
Calls to the Chairman’s phone went unanswered.