Monday 26th June, 2017
Translate Language:::
Share

How soldiers, police invaded my palace - Igwe Ezeoke

How soldiers, police invaded my palace - Igwe Ezeoke

·   Seeks FG, Anambra Govt probe of incident
 
The Traditional Ruler of Amichi in Nnewi South Local Govern­ment Area of Anam­bra State, His Royal Highness Igwe Ofobuike Alphonsus Ezeoke, has narrated how armed soldiers and policemen invaded his palace at the week­end.
Igwe Ezeoke accused the authorities of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police of sending their personnel to in­vade his palace.
Igwe Ezeoke said that the incident occurred at the week­end when over 25 armed youths accompanied by 20 soldiers and 15 Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and regular policemen took over the palace to bury a relative in the complex, against the tradition of Obiagu Village and the wishes of family.
The monarch is a nephew to the late Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ed­win Ume-Ezeoke, the father of former Presidential Adviser on Civil Relations, Chineme Ume-Ezeoke.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sen­ate President Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Repre­sentatives, Hon. Yakubu Dog­ara, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to wade into the matter and restore peace to his community.
According to Igwe Ezeoke, his attackers wanted him dead as they threw caution to the wind, harassed, intimidated and bul­lied him in his palace.
He said that besides defiling his palace and ridiculing his sub­jects, against customs and tradi­tions of the people, such treat­ment would never be meted on his counterparts from the South West or Northern Nigeria.
In an interview with The AUTHORITY, Ezeoke said that but for the prompt intervention of the natives and the youths of Amichi, he would have been dead as his two central gates were pulled down by the thugs under the supervision of soldiers and the police who came in Hi­lux vans.
He lamented that several ap­peals by Governor Obiano, the Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council and the Obi of Onitsha, Prof. Alfred Achebe, have failed to save him from the embarrassment of the Com­missioner of Police, Mr. Sam Okaula, and the Commander, 302 Artillery Regimen, Onit­sha, Col. Idongesit Akpan, as well all the aides of the gover­nor, especially those on securi­ty, and the Commissioner of Po­lice, I.K. Aruba.
According to him, the se­curity agencies said that they could not do anything to save him because “one big man in my community is behind my ordeal and is using the police and army against me.”
The monarch said that his palace was like a war zone last Thursday night before the police and military invasion on Friday during the burial of Mrs. The­resa William Ezeoke, the wife of his uncle, whose children re­fused to recognise him as the traditional ruler.
He accused them of con­niving with some wealthy in­digenes of Amichi to seize the throne from him. Ezeoke also alleged his late father, Igwe Al­phonsus Nwankwo Ezeoke, was killed in mysterious circum­stances by people he loved. His father’s death paved the way for him to ascend the throne.
An earlier police invasion of the community led to the loss of $40,000 and some ancient arte­facts. He said the police detained nine people found in the palace and stamped a baby strapped on the mother’s back.
The detainees, he said, were freed when the IGP took over the case, but “till today, the arte­facts, missing cash and phones are yet to be returned by the po­lice against all my petitions.”
“I am not safe in my palace again. The police have been able to aid and abet thugs to harass me even in my palace. Thugs looted my palace. I have lost confidence in the Nigeria Po­lice. Only in Nigeria would the police have the impetus to arrest innocent people, detain them, loot their property and nothing would happen, even when you are a traditional ruler and a law abiding citizen,” he lamented.
Mr. Chinedu Ezeoke, a cous­in of the Igwe, said a lot of neg­ative untrue stories have been written about Igwe Ezeoke. Some have referred to him as a tyrant. These stories were spon­sored by some prominent Am­ichi people in conjunction with the Igwe’s cousins.
“One must understand that Ezeoke comprises about 200 men, but only these seven cous­ins are causing the Igwe head­aches. These cousins have pro­moted a lot of hatred in Amichi against the Igwe. They have waged a media war against the Igwe and are being sponsored by prominent people in Amichi who would rather see the mon­arch fall.”
He said that when the wom­an died, his cousins never told him, probably to spite him for having outlawed the burial of corpses in the palace which was ratified by the Obiagu village af­ter a meeting to consider the law by the Igwe and its implications.
The family of the late Wil­ly filed a suit against the Igwe at the Nnewi High Court, Case No: HN/14/17, alleging that they inherited their building in­side the Obi and that the Igwe had no right as the custodian of the palace to evict them.
But the children of the late Willy Ume-Ezeoke rejected the outcome and insisted they would continue to bury their re­lations in the compound, hence the invasion of thugs which were assisted by the police and army to ensure the corpse was buried.
The AUTHORITY however learnt that the Army and the Po­lice led thugs to enforce a court order which the Igwe demand­ed but was not presented to him.
The monarch said that the military claimed that they were executing an order from a judge that the woman must be buried in his palace.
The Igwe was earlier arrest­ed and detained in Awka on the orders of the Commission­er of Police. His efforts to get help from other traditional rul­ers and the authorities, includ­ing Igwe Achebe, who told him he was in Europe and Obiano, who said he was resting abroad, all failed.
No help came and the Igwe was in police cell till the next day when a police top officer, Assistant CP Waja, went to the CP’s house to ask for the Igwe’s release only to be shocked that the CP was harassing him for ar­resting the Igwe and detaining him till daybreak.
Waja had done everything to stop the detention of the Igwe after he was ordered to detain him by superior officers who have threatened to arrest the Igwe if he did not come to the Police CID for an interview against the warning of Governor Obiano that no traditional rul­er should be arrested or invited to the police under any circum­stances.
The Igwe, who was refused police protection after he ap­plied four times, is being guard­ed by the natives and youths.
Even The AUTHORITY correspondent nearly got into trouble at the palace as the thugs almost pulled the gate on him.
The traditional ruler played the tapes purportedly on the conversation between the CP and Army commander during the raid on his palace.
In it, the Army Commander narrated how his men were in­volved and asked them to leave the scene of the crisis after the woman had been buried.
But the CP denied all the al­legations.
The Igwe alleged that they had invaded his palace in Janu­ary 2016 and April 2016, as well as in January 2017 with one DC Bassey leading the team.
According to him, nine peo­ple were charged before Magis­trate Court 2 in Nnewi without any file. He said that the sus­pects would have been jailed on trumped up charges but for the intervention of the IGP’s mon­itoring unit. The case is sched­uled for hearing on April 26, 2017.

SHARE ON: