From: Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Elders of Idumuje-Ugboko community in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State have raised the alarm that the agrarian community was under siege by hoodlums who have been invading houses and molesting the occupants.
Addressing journalists, on Thursday, in Asaba, the state capital, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of the community, Chief Chris Ogwu, said he escaped being killed when the hoodlums invaded his home, on Wednesday.
Ogwu who was flanked by the secretary of Idumuje-Ugboko land allocation committee, Chief Kennedy Illoh and former president-general of the town’s development union, Prince Walter Ezeashi, alleged that the recent attacks were being orchestrated from the palace of the Obi.
He said the throne of the Obi is under contest, alleging that one of the princes who usurped it has been going about clamping down on all those who are against his emergence as the Obi of the community.
“The situation has degenerated to the extent that thugs have invaded our palace and are going from home to home molesting people who are opposed to the self-styled Obi. They invaded my house yesterday (Wednesday), beat me up and drag me to the palace because they said I was not supporting them.
“You can how I am dressed to Asaba this morning because of the invasion. As the number chief of the town I am not supposed to be wearing this dress,” he said, while making reference to a faded native top and jeans trousers which he wore to address the press.
According to him, a young an was also killed on Wednesday and his corpse was dumped at the heart of the town, a situation that forced market women to close shops.
On his part, Chief Kennedy Illoh alleged that he was kidnapped from his house by thugs who held hostage for three hours before he escaped.
Illoh stated that crisis started shortly after the death of the former Obi, late Albert Nwoko in February this year, adding that efforts to unravel the cause of the Obi’s death have been frustrated by the new Obi who was hurriedly crowned.
“We are trying to find out what killed our Obi because on that fateful day, he just ate and went upstairs to relax. Two men came in and after few hours, they came out and said the Obi is dead.
The relatives of the Obi were not allowed to see the corpse.
“Even the Iyase, the second in command was not allowed to see the corpse before he was buried. And on that same night, they crowned another Obi with a new cap and new dress, suggesting that they had prepared for what was going to happen,” Illoh alleged.
Prince Ezeashi who also lamented that attacks by thugs on innocent residents, explained that ascension to the throne is based on the principle of primogeniture where the eldest surviving son (whose mother must be a native of the town) of the Obi takes over.
Meanwhile, the Iyase has appealed to the relevant authorities particularly the police to beef up security in Idumuje-Ugboko to save the situation from further degenerating to unimaginable proportions.