By Henry Akubuiro
Since ascending the throne of the Obosi Kingdom, Eze Chidubem Iweka III, the Igwe of Obosi, has experienced four assassination attempts. Given the proximity of Obosi to Onitsha, the commercial capital of Anambra State, robbers and drug addicts and peddlers have made Obosi a haven to carry out their nefarious activities.
Policing Obosi, therefore, hasn’t been a dog’s breakfast. Besides, it is one of the most populated towns in Anambra State. Eze Chidubem Iweka III hasn’t left the job of policing to the police and other security operatives alone. Many times, he has taken to the battle to the territories of the miscreants, together with the Obosi vigilance group, telling them to either leave Obosi or risk the wrath of the law.
He did the same thing early this month as the Ito-Ogbo Festival approached. Worried by incessant stealing and drug abuse in Obosi Kingdom, Obosi indigines were afraid to return home for the Ito-Ogbo Festival, a cultural celebration of longevity that happens only once in three years. So, he decided to visit the hideouts of drug peddlers and other notorious hoodlums residing or operating in Obosi.
“If we didn’t do that, many people wouldn’t return home for the Ito-Ogbo, and you know what Ito-Ogbo means to us. It is one festival native to us that has been exported to other parts of Igboland. It is one of the biggest cultural showpieces in Igboland,” Eze Iweka III told Daily Sun.
The raid and appeal by the monarch yielded positive results, as many drug peddlers handed over their illicit commodities to the monarch in surrender. The Obosi vigilance group upped the ante by carrying out raids on trouble spots to sanitise Obosi of nefarious activities. They recorded another success in the recovery of a cache of illicit drugs.
Promptly, the monarch reached out to officials of NDLEA to come and take possession of the illicit drugs, but they delayed in coming. When they eventually came, Eze Iweka III said a document was given to them to sign what they collected. The monarch was shocked, therefore, when news broke out that the drugs were found in the monarch’s home after a raid by NDLEA officers.
The palace secretary of the Obosi Kingdom, Igwebuike Shedrack Okenwa, has decided to set the records straight. Speaking on behalf of the Eze na Ndi Ichie na Abummadu Obosi community, during a recent press conference at the palace of the monarch, he said, contrary to the news that a cache of drugs was found during a raid on the palace of Eze Obosi, it was the traditional ruler who actually invited the NDLEA to take possession of drugs recovered by the Obosi vigilance operatives. Little wonder, the royal cabinet of Eze Na Ndi Ichie Na Abummadu Obosi described it as most unfortunate that the good works of the Obosi people to assist the NDLEA had been turned into a charade.
Okenwa put the record straight on what transpired: “The truth of the matter was that, on February 17, 2021, Obosi vigilante operatives were on regular patrol in the hard drug-infested area of the town referred to as Ojunoh or Cocaine Avenue, when a young man, upon sighting them, took to his heels.
“The vigilantes chased and arrested him and found substances suspected to be hard drugs in his bag. They brought him to the palace of His Majesty, Igwe Chidubem Iweka, Eze Iweka III, Eze Obosi. A video operator was summoned, who made a video coverage of the interrogation of the drug peddler, stating his name, the name of the drug baron who owned the drugs and other pertinent information.
“His Majesty, Eze Iweka III, personally contacted the Anambra State commander of NDLEA, Mr. Musbahu Idris, who promised to send NDLEA operatives to come and sign a document prepared by the palace and collect the substances confirmed to be cocaine and heroin by the drug peddler.
“The Anambra NDLEA commander, Idris, who was ill at the time, eventually sent a team headed by an officer named Mr. Erhi, who arrived at the palace and picked up the said hard drugs, signed a receipt and left. A video was shot of his visit with cabinet chiefs present.”
The Obosi cabinet, therefore, has demanded a retraction and apology from the NDLEA on the misinformation, that only such wide publicity, encompassing national print and electronic media, would be acceptable to Eze Na Ndi Ichie Na Abummadu Obosi and the people of Obosi Kingdom agitating for justice.
Okenwa lamented: “It is, therefore, most shocking, embarrassing and defamatory incident to witness the totally false and misleading articles in diverse print and electronic media, erroneously stating that the said cache of hard drugs was uncovered as a result of a raid on the palace of His Majesty by NDLEA officers.
“It is most unfortunate that the good works of the Obosi people to assist the NDLEA has been turned into a show of shame. The Commander, Idris, had shown immense gratitude in writing, for the recovery and handover of both illicit substances. His Majesty, in turn, had thanked and praised the relatively new Commander for his gratitude and pledged to assist in checkmating the profilleration of hard drugs in Obosi.
“It is worthy of note that the NDLEA, under the leadership of the immediate past State Commander, Mr. Sule Momodu, formed such an efficient synergy with the Royal Cabinet of Eze Iweka III, which helped decimate the drug trade in Obosi and effected the arrests and convictions of drug barons.
“It was as a result of his efforts in tackling hard drugs and other vices that the NDLEA wrote a special letter of appreciation to Eze Iweka III, dated July 1, 2013.
“We hereby call on the hierarchy of NDLEA to retract the said false publication and tender an unreserved apology in a press conference encompassing the major print and electronic media in the country, since it is only such wide scope publicity on the subject matter that would be acceptable to Eze Na Ndi Ichie Na Abummadu Obosi and the people of Obosi Kingdom who are agitating for justice,” he said.