- One youth killed, two vehicles burnt
By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
HRM Ifechukwude Aninshi Okonjo II, the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku kingdom in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State has escaped what appeared like a planned attack on the monarch.
However, the attack Friday on the traditional ruler, who is the brother of the Director-General of World Trade Centre (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, left one person dead while two vehicles were burnt.
Several vehicles were reportedly damaged during the incident but THISDAY learnt that HRM Ifechukwude and a number of his palace chiefs escaped unhurt.
There were conflicting reports as to who masterminded the attack on the convoy of the royal father of the Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, with one source blaming the attack on “some irate youths at the (neighboring) Otulu satellite town” while another account claimed that some secret cult members carried out the attack.
The Ogwashi-Uku traditional ruler was said to have led a high-calibre team, comprising members of his Obi-in-Council and some community leaders to the satellite town to perform certain traditional rites, including prayers, intended to usher peace into the whole community.
Eyewitness accounts said that some youths of Otulu community had made bonfire on the road leading to the town apparently to barricade the monarch’s convoy and block his exit from the town after performing the said rites.
All entreaties by the Obi’s younger brother, Prince Onyema Okonjo, and security agents to let the Obi have his right of way were allegedly unheeded by the irate youths.
THISDAY learnt that youths of Otulu had recently embarked on protest march, demanding that relevant authorities in the state should grant the Otulu satellite community autonomous status.
One of the protesting youths was said to have been hit by a bullet in the ensuing confusion as the security personnel attempt to disarm the youths and to dismantle the barricade, leading to the reported casualty.
The sight of one of their colleague’s blood reportedly infuriated the protesting youths, who then launched attack on vehicles in the Monarch’s convoy with two of them burnt and several others damaged.
The state Police Public Relations Officer Bright Edafe, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), while confirming the report on Saturday, said that the Ogwashi-Uku king had gone to Otulu, a satellite town of Ogwasi-Uku, to perform some traditional rites and, in the process, a certain fence fell, prompting the youths to go on the rampage.
Consequently, two vehicles were burnt while the youth who was hit by stray bullet eventually died.
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler has affirmed that Otulu remains part and parcel of Ogwashi-Uku kingdom, stressing that the agitation by a few to carve out Otulu from Ogwashi-Uku as an autonomous community was unwarranted and unacceptable.
A statement from the palace of the monarch on Saturday also confirmed the incident, blaming the attack on cultists but was silent on whether there was any casualty from the entourage of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, who the statement said “survived the cultists’ attack” on the convoy.
Prince Greg Okwumbu, the spokesman of the monarch said in the statement, “Obi and members of the Council of Ogwashi-Uku visited Otulu Ogwashi-Uku Friday, September 17, 2021.
“The visit was largely successful and the Obi met members of the community, prayed with them and discussed with them about some issues.
“At the end of the visit and when the Obi was departing, cultists and thugs imported into Otulu who were aware of the visit attacked members of the entourage who were at the rear of the convoy.
“The thugs also attempted to forcefully seize a gun belonging to a law enforcement member who escorted the Obi on the visit. It is important to note that members of the press accompanied the Obi on the visit.”
“Also, law enforcement agents from the office of the Area Commander and the Brigade Command in Asaba were also there at the visit and witnessed everything that happened”, he noted, adding, “The people who sponsored the thugs are known to us and will be brought to justice.”