By Emma Amaize & Nath Onojake
ASABA—THE traditional ruler of Egbudu-Aka, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State, Obi Paul Nzemeka Obi-Okolie, rescued by the Police, about a fortnight ago, has related how assailants presumably from a rival clique in the monarchy, allegedly sponsored by his brother, invaded his palace, June 7, abducted him and his spouse, Mrs. Theresa Nzemeka, and held them hostage for 24 hours.
The monarch, who spoke to NDV at a private hospital in Asaba, the state capital, where he was receiving treatment from injuries sustained in the violence, said the attackers also set the palace and vehicles in the complex ablaze. He was rescued on June 8 by combined police teams led by the Area Commander, Asaba, which raided the community at about 6.00 am on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim.
The monarch’s brother, who reportedly masterminded the mayhem with nine others was apprehended in the dawn operation. On how the invaders struck, he recalled that youths numbering about 30, wielding sticks and cudgels, stormed the palace, mercilessly beat and dragged him to the residence of their sponsor.
Shot by a voodoo doctor
Obi-Okolie, wearing plaster on the injuries, said that waiting in the house were his supposed blood brothers and others, including a traditional doctor, who shot him at close range with a pistol, but the gunshot marginally missed his body, producing water. Fighting back tears, the monarch asserted: “I later bled from the spot the voodoo doctor shot me, while my abductors kept me all night in the cold without clothes, for me to die.”
Fingers security officer
The king alleged: “A top security officer at the Nsukwa Division, who is supposed to ensure my safety was not disposed to helping me, rather he allowed the assailants to have their way and he kept a blind eye to the evil and insecurity the group had created in the town.”
Continuing he said: ”He conspired with them, even after phone calls were made to the Police Headquarters at Asaba and contingents of anti-riot police men were dispatched to Egbudu-Aka from Umunede and environs, the top police officer prevented them from gaining entry into Egudu-Aka town to rescue me and others.
“He did not also stop the arson and destruction of the properties of my people and myself so the aggressors had a field day as they dealt pitilessly with me in the secluded place.”
My wife also beaten
According to the monarch, “The abductors did not spare my wife as they similarly pounded her.” NDV sighted the king’s wife with a badly battered face in the same sickbay
The traditional ruler said besides the palace, the invaders torched the houses and property of Ogbah Peter, Onochie Felix, Oshiegbu Ifeanyi, George Ememokwu, Dennis Onwuyali, Chief Paul Okwueze, Chief Emmanuel Osahor, Madam Blacky Obi-Okolie, widow of the late monarch, and Edward Oshiegbu’s wife whose leg was broken, even as Edward himself was banished from the town by the assaulters.
Disband community vigilante
Obi-Okolie called on the Delta State Government to disband the community’s vigilante group as currently constituted, saying it was nothing short of a terrorist group, adding: “Government should also, as a matter of urgency, ensure security of lives and property in Egbudu-Aka so that the persons who fled the community to preserve their life can safely return to continue their normal life.”
He, however, expressed gratitude to the local government authorities, chairman of the Delta State Traditional Council, the Obi of Owa, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor and chairman, Anioma Traditional Council for their solidarity visits to him.
“My brother, who sponsored this mayhem and his siblings have no resemblance as the children of late Obi-Okolie. They are slaves to the family because my late father never paid dowry on their mother. It was not necessary. She was given to our father when her parents, who owed our father, could not pay their debt obligation. She was given to our father in lieu,” Obi Paul Nzemeke Obi-Okolie declared.
Hoodlums attack policemen on rescue mission
Speaking to NDV on the matter, Commissioner of Police, Delta State, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, said, it was a case of family kingship and a breach of public peace at the Nsukwa Division, adding: “The facts of the case are that on June 8 at about 07:20hrs, one Prince Paul ‘m’ 57 years, Obi of Egbudu-Aka village called to report that his opposing younger brother, Prince Solomon Obi, used the instrumentality of the vigilantes in the village to attack it.
”Personnel from Nsukwa Division were immediately mobilized to the palace. However, rampaging youths disallowed police access to the palace, venturing even to attack the policemen, who tactically withdrew men to a neighbouring village awaiting intelligence from plain clothes detectives.
”On June 9, 2017 at about 06:00hrs, the teams stormed the village and rescued the Obi, his wife Theresa Esemeka ‘f’ and one George Nmemuku whose houses were burnt. The leader and sponsor of the violence who is the brother of the Obi, one Solomon Obi Okoli ‘m’ adult was arrested with nine other perpetrators of the mayhem,” he disclosed.
Ibrahim added: “Normalcy has returned to the community and personnel are still on ground while case is still under investigation.”
Police interim conclusion
The commissioner explained: “It is our assessment that this is yet another chieftaincy dispute, nonetheless the conduct of the arrested suspects bothers on criminality and they will be made to face the full wrath of law as soon as investigation is concluded.
“The need to carry out audit by the Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs of all communities engulfed by chieftaincy disputes cannot be downplayed for peace to reign.”