From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The suspension slammed on the Isekhure of Benin, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, by the Benin Traditional Council took a new dimension yesterday, as some senior chiefs from the palace of the Oba of Benin stormed his residence on Sakponba Road, to take possession of “Oba’s property.”
The traditional council, acting on the authority of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, had, last week, suspended the Isekhure indefinitely over alleged misconduct and desecration of the title, among others.
Following his suspension, the family of Isekhure, Ihogbe N’ore, early this week, threatened to take legal action against the Benin Traditional Council, if it failed to prove the allegations levelled against him within 14 days.
Yesterday, chiefs from the Oba Palace arrived Isekhure’s residence and requested him to leave the frontal part of the building, which they said housed some traditional items belonging to the monarch.
The embattled Isekhure reportedly emerged from the building and queried the action of the chiefs and thereafter shut the door to prevent the palace chiefs from entering the house. Some youths were reportedly instructed to demolish portions of the building, which bore the symbols of authority of the title of the Isekhure.
A large crowd of residents and passersby, who watched as the youths destroyed statue of the Isekhure, massed at the entrance of the building, even as the incident also caused vehicular traffic.
Speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity, a top palace chief, described the development as part of the process to ostracise the Isekhure and recover the monarch’s property in order to prevent it from being tampered with.
He stated: “For now he (Isekhure) is completely ostracised. What you can see is part of the process of ostracising him. The real powerhouse, items that belong to the Oba, is here. Information reaching us is (that) some of those things were being tampered with.
“The Oba is the owner of that place; he magnanimously put him there to take custody of the place.”
He is like the sceptre bearer of the Oba. He (Oba) has asked us to secure the artifact and possibly make the area formidable so that it cannot be broken.
“The Oba has already asked him to take possession of the extension he (Isekhure) built in there. But the original foundation of the palace guild should remain where it is; it is a monumental structure and we have to fortify it because of what it contains.”
On the allegation that Isekhure did not allow the palace chiefs come in, the place chief said: “He had locked the door saying we cannot go in. But we will get in there in a minute. That is the Oba’s property.”
Isekhure could not be reached for comments, as his mobile phone was switched off.
At the time of filing this report, palace chiefs were still at the premises supervising the erection of a perimeter fence around the shrine within Isekhure residence.