Police arrest three traditional rulers in Kogi over murder of two Ibaji natives

By AdvocateNews on 11/05/2020

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Operatives of the Police Area Command in Idah and Ibaji Local Government Police Division in Kogi state have arrested three traditional rulers over their alleged role in a communal conflict that led to the murder of two persons last week. 

The two persons murdered were Pastor Augustine Egwoba, who was beheaded and his remains dumped in a bush and one Ugbede Samuel Omale Akwu, who was shot and later died in the hospital. 

Both victims were natives of  Unale community in Ibaji Local Government Area. 

The strange development was traced to a lingering  dispute between Unale, Ojuba and Iyaño people over a farmland and a settlement in the area.

Following the gruesome murder, some concerned indigenes and groups in the local government including the Coterie of Ibaji Youths, COIY,  raised an alarm calling on law enforcement agencies to wade in.

The Advocate learnt that tension heightened in the area as some aggrieved natives threatened a reprisal attack.

Hon. William Ikoojo, the Senior Special Assistant, SSA to the state Governor, Yahaya Bello and some police officers from Ibaji Division had visited the area last week to calm the warring parties with the assurance that the culprits would be fished out and prosecuted. 

The SSA, however, convened an emergency security meeting attended by security operatives, traditional ruler and Ibaji stakeholders at Onyedega, the council headquarters at the weekend as part of efforts to douse the growing tension in the affected communities. 

The three traditional rulers, Chief Simon  Egwuda of Iyaño,  Chief Samuel Udalor of Unale and Chief Joseph Agor of Ojuba whose subjects and supporters were allegedly fingered to be sponsors of the conflict were arrested after the meeting on Friday.  

They were reportedly whisked to Idah Police Area Command where they were interrogated for several hours before they were granted bail on Saturday. 

Their bail followed a written undertakings that they would produce those behind the murder of the two indigenes today (Monday). 

Reacting to the development at the weekend, Chairman Board of Trustees of COIY, Mr. Tony Edike and President, Mr. Nwuchola Jerry, in a joint statement,   applauded the security agencies for wading into the matter. 

They wrote: "The Coterie of Ibaji Youths, COIY, notes with satisfaction the prompt intervention in the Ibaji crisis as evidenced by the emergency security meeting convened by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kogi State in-charge of Ibaji, Hon. William Ikoojo, and Ibaji Traditional Council in Onyedega on the 9th of May, 2020.

"The meeting attended by  security operatives under the Joint Task Force Operation was said to have made far-reaching decisions aimed at restoring peace to the feuding communities in Ibaji local government. 

"While endorsing the peace initiative, Ibaji youths under the umbrella of  Coterie Of Ibaji youths (COIY) wish to condemn in strong terms the resort to bloodletting and violence by some Ibaji natives principally over agitation for land and fish ponds."

The group, however, urged the  SSA on security, the Ibaji  traditional council headed by Chief John Egwemi and security operatives to ensure a lasting peace in Ibaji just as it called on the youths to resist any attempt by "dubious and ungodly personalities in Ibaji to use them to perpetrate violence against their brothers."

The COIY leaders further called on security operatives to do everything possible to fish out and prosecute those behind the gruesome murder of the two victims to serve as a deterrent to others who might engage in such violent act in future. 

Posted 11/05/2020 12:27:14 PM


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