Oruku community in Nkanu East Council, Enugu State, is under tension following the killing of its traditional ruler, Igwe Emmanuel Mba, by armed men who claimed to be ‘policemen’ from the Force Headquarters (FHQ), Abuja.
Led by one Inspector Danladi, the assailants also took away one Mr. Agozie Ani from the Oruku Townhall where the deceased monarch was addressing the natives.
According to a witness, the armed men invaded the meeting venue in a sport utility vehicle and Toyota Sienna about 2p.m. on December 26, 2020 and sought to see the royal father.
They were reportedly led to the town hall by three natives identified as Emmanuel Nwobodo, Onyema Edeh and Sunday Onunze.
It was gathered that when the monarch, who was presiding over the meeting, was identified by the three natives, one of the armed men immediately shot him in the thigh and he collapsed in the pool of his own blood.
There was pandemonium amid sporadic shooting by the armed men, who attempted to arrest some of them.
The armed men took Igwe Mba and Ani away to Parklane Hospital, Enugu, but the monarch could not be admitted due to lack of bed space. They were referred to the National Orthopedic Hospital (NOH), Enugu. On arrival, doctors at the Emergency Unit of NOH confirmed the royal father dead.
It was further gathered that the monarch, who was elected on December 26, 2019, bled to death before he could get medical attention.
His corpse was deposited at the NOH mortuary, while the whereabouts of Ani could not be ascertained at press time.
The Ford pick-up van the monarch drove to the aborted meeting was reportedly driven away by the armed men.
Attempts by some leaders of the community to ascertain the identity and motive of the “invading policemen” proved abortive as they were told at the state police command that no such entry was made at any police station to that effect.
The development reportedly forced some aggrieved members of Oruku to regroup on Saturday evening and attack the homes of some indigenes believed to be behind the murder of the traditional ruler.
Four houses, including that of the father of a retired federal permanent secretary, Chief Raymond Okenwa, were reportedly burnt down.
Some vehicles parked within the affected premises were also set ablaze by the mob.
Efforts to get official reaction from the state police command proved abortive, as the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to the call and text message sent to him on the development.
Sources told The Guardian yesterday that the incident might not be unconnected with land tussle in the community.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi recently ‘settled’ several years of communal fracas between neighbouring Oruku and Umuode communities.