By Nwabueze Okonkwo, ONITSHA
The timely intervention of Matthew Okafor, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), the Divisional Police Officer, DPO at Abagana Police Division in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra state saved what could have degenerated into a full-blown bloody battle between those said to be loyal to the traditional ruler of Enugwu-Agidi community, Okpallariam Mike Okekeuche and Chairman of Ezinato Clan, Izuchukwu Okeke-Onyeocha (Igwe Ezinato).
The supporters of Okpallariam Okekeuche, according to Okeke-Onyeocha had allegedly swooped on some of his own supporters, launched a physical attack on them and dispossessed them of their motorcycles given to them by himself as empowerment, alleging that the attack on his supporters was aimed at forcing them to withdraw their loyalty to him.
He said all efforts to recover the seized motorcycles from the grip of the Okpallariam Okekeuche’s loyalists proved abortive until the timely intervention of CSP Okafor who ordered that the seized items be brought to the police station from where it was released to the rightful owners.
Confirming the incident, CSP Okafor who declined further comments on the matter which he said was still under investigation, disclosed that he ordered both parties to bring all the seized properties to the police station and when they complied, he released them to their owners and cautioned them to avoid anything capable of undermining the security architecture in the area.
The Okpallariam, Okekeuche had among others, accused Okeke Onyeocha of highhandedness, queer character and criminal acts, lack of respect for constituted authority and above all land grabbing.
But speaking to newsmen on the matter at his home town, Enugwu Agidi, Okeke Onyeocha described all the allegations levied against him by the monarch as baseless, saying that as the Igwe of Ezinato, clan, he remains a man of peace under the authority of Igwe Okekeuche, hence he was only fighting for justice and fairness in the community.
According to Okeke Onyeocha, “it was because of my efforts to empower the youths of this community, which endeared them to me that the Okpallariam and his supporters are levying all sorts of unsubstantiated allegations against me”.
Flanked by Ichie Alex Anietona, a member of the past Okpallariam cabinet; Chief Nelson Nduka Udeozo, one of the village chairmen in the area and Chiedu Nwankwo, a youth leader, Okeke Onyeocha further declared: ” I did not do anything bad to our traditional ruler, Okekeuche. I attend all his functions with gifts and he even recognized me as Igwe Ezinato but he is begrudging me out of envy for looking after lands in Enugwu Agidi”.
“But my own grudge against him is that he dragged me to a Sharia Court in Abuja with all sorts of frivolous allegations against me with intent to get me hanged or imprisoned for life but because my hands are clean, I riggled out of the case. I have never sold anybody’s land illegally as they accused me of. Our elders are trying their best to make peace but he seems not to adhere to the peace moves”.
“Another problem he has is that he always tries to usurp everything without allowing division of labour. Since he was given the Igweship certificate in 2017, our town has never known peace and I am calling on the state government to call him to order because our community is boiling because of his activities”.
In their separate speeches, Anietona, Udeozo and Nwankwo recalled that while Okekeuche was being given a chieftaincy certificate, as Okpallariam III of Enugwu Agidi, both the state government officials and some traditional rulers present advised him to go home and make peace in the community, as father of all but till date, he refused to embrace that peace, even after Enugwu Agidi Elders Council and Enugwu Agidi Ruling Age Grade (Ulonabo) and Irunnebo Village mediated and tried to reached a truce.
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