Reign of terror in Delta community over kingship tussle

Entrance to the Idumuje-Ugboko community

Things seem no longer at ease at the small town of Idumuje Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Council of Delta State, following a sharp division among the royal Nwoko family over the rightful choice for the vacant stool of traditional ruler following the demise of the former occupant, Obi Albert Nwoko, aged 111, early this year.

The Iyase (traditional Prime Minister) of Idumuje Ugboko, Chief Chris Ogwu, alleged yesterday that anarchy is now the order of the day in the agrarian community as opponents of one of the rival princes are now hounded by some village thugs.

Ogwu told journalists in Asaba yesterday that his insistence on the truth earned him a severe beating on Wednesday while the windscreen of his vehicle was smashed and his house vandalized by some dark-goggled goons on the order of one of the feuding factions.

While calling on the police to beef up their presence in the community, Ogwu said law enforcement agents were yet to make any arrest. He wailed: “Thugs numbering over a hundred now occupy the palace. They have invaded the community, dragging people out of their homes and beating them up.

They invaded the market chasing traders away. They also invaded the secondary school, causing teachers and pupils to scamper into the bush as they shot sporadically.”

While Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko has since been installed as king by a section of the palace, his half brother, 18-year-old Prince Uche Nwoko, a final year secondary school student, is not relenting in his demand as the rightful heir to the throne.

Prince Uche and his supporters contended that the choice of his half brother cannot stand as the age old customs of the people were not followed in the installation. Those in support of Prince Uche are holding him out as more qualified because his parents are from Idumuje-Ugboko.

The Iyase said the crowning of the monarch should have waited until after the three months burial rites for the deceased king. He further alleged that a desecration of the tradition occurred when Prince Nonso was put on the stool by only one man as against the six required by tradition.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had on a visit to the council on Wednesday said he is not aware of a new Obi in Idumuje-Ugboko, adding that it was not the responsibility of the state government to interfere into royal tussle.

Reacting, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, said mobile policemen, including plain-clothed officers have been drafted to the community to maintain law and order, saying that it was painful to see two brothers struggling for one throne.

He disclosed that the police have arrested four persons and charged them to court in connection with the kingship tussle and alleged rape of a princess (name withheld) inside the palace.

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