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Nwafor Ogidi annual cultural festival turns bloody

*Villagers dump corpse at Igwe's palace

 

From EZE NWABUEZE Onitsha

Ogidi community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, is boiling no thanks to the death of a youth leader, Chike Okoye, who was allegedly trying to evade arrest when the police stormed his Umueze Alor village to arrest him and others over a land issue between the community and the traditional ruler, Igwe (Pharm) Alex Onyido.

The incident, which coincided with this year’s Nwafor Ogidi annual cultural festival of the Ogidi community, occurred yesterday evening at the commencement of the week-long festivities.

When the news of the youth leader’s death filtered into Umueze Alor village, the people ran amok, made straight to the house of the deceased to pick his corpse but the corpse had earlier been deposited at the Iyi-Enu Mission hospital morgue, Ogidi.

They then made bonfires with used tyres, barricaded the ever-busy old Onitsha-Enugu road and made straight to the morgue where they brought out the corpse and rushed with it to the palace of the Igwe where they deposited it and dispersed.

Addressing newsmen on the incident, Chairman of the village who led the protesters, Mr. Benedict Obidi, flanked by his vice, Nonso Agbata, (a.k.a. Inwelle Ogidi). said: “The cause of this death is the community Ogbor land, which the monarch built culverts upon and started encroachment without our consent.”

“On being asking why he should do that, the Igwe started arresting those who are out to oppose him, including myself, the deceased, my vice and others,” Obidi alleged, adding: “We have dumped the corpse at his palace and demanded that he should release those he arrested, stop encroaching on our land and arresting us before the corpse will be removed.”

“It was the police that the Igwe sent that held him as he was about to evade arrest in his house where he was pushed down from the one-storey building and he died,” Obidi further revealed.

Before they left the place. Igwe Onyido, represented by a High Chief, Ugochukwu Okwosa Owelle, urged them to soft-pedal so the matter could be settled amicably.

“You can see that the death has happened and what we need now is peaceful settlement as brothers,” Owelle pleaded, adding: “What you people are doing now is worsening the situation; I plead that we discuss as brothers for the good of us all.”

His plea fell on deaf ears as the Umueze Alor villagers left him with the corpse.

But minutes later, President General of the Community, High Chief Chuka Onubogu, stormed the palace and took the corpse back to the morgue.

He described the incident as unfortunate and urged the bereaved to
take heart as what happened was intentional on the part of anyone.

 

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