Ogidi communal crisis: Monarch, town union leader sue for peace

* Family of deceased youth leader seeks justice

From EZE NWABUEZE, Onitsha-

The untimely death of a youth leader- Chike Okoye who died in a bid to evade police arrest on the eve of Nwafor Ogidi annual cultural Festival turned the tone of this year’s celebration to sadness as the family, Uruezealor village of the deceased, Ogidi Town Union and Igwe Alex Onyido of Ogidi community in Idemili North and his cabinet members were thrown into mourning.

AbeyaNews recalls that when news of the death of the youth leader as he ran from the police, filtered into the ears of the people of Uruezealor village, the people ran amok, made straight to the Iyi-Enu Mission hospital morgue at Ogidi, brought out the corpse and took it to the palace of the monarch where they deposited it and dispersed.

However, the leadership of Ogidi Union Nigeria (OUN) led by its President-General, High Chief Chuka Onubogu, the Igwe-in-Council and other stakeholders paid a condolence visit to the bereaved family shortly after the controversy had died down.

Expressing ‘sincere condolences’ to the family the on behalf of Igwe Onyido, the Igwe-in-council and the entire people of Ogidi, Onubogu promised that the town union and Igwe-in-council would play active role in the funeral of the deceased, to buttress their point that they were not happy about the death of the young man.

The town union boss maintained that the entire Ogidi people had taken everything that transpired behind them and were now towing the part of peace.

Reacting to the development, Igwe Onyido expressed sadness that the death of the young man had turned his happy Nwafor Ogidi annual cultural and masquerade festivals into a sad mood, pleading with the bereaved family to accept his condolences as he did not mean any harm to any of his subjects, since he is the father of everybody, both the stubborn and the gentle ones.

Igwe Onyido recalled that Benedict Obide was earlier arrested by the police for malicious damage: “I constructed a concrete slab to make a certain road passable and the kindred who owned the land, out of mere suspicion that I (Igwe) wanted to take their land away from them, decided to take laws into their hands by demolishing the concrete slab, which necessitated the arrest of Obide and which attracted the protests.

“When the youths demanded the release of the detained leader, Obide, I obliged them by calling on the CP and DPO to release him but because the DPO said he would release him the next morning, the youths went berserk and took their protest down to the police station, which necessitated the hunting of their leaders and led to the unfortunate death of Chike.

“The late Chike, I learnt, was an asthmatic, diabetic and High Blood Pressure patient and that was why when he jumped out of the One-storey building, he started breathing heavily until he was rushed to the hospital where the doctors battled to revive him to no avail until he passed on,” said the monarch.

Meanwhile, wife of the deceased, Mrs. Ebele Okoye, a young mother of two, Kingsley and Stanley Okoye brothers of the deceased have appealed to the State government to come to their assistance in terms of human and material resources and to ensure that justice prevailed in this circumstance.

“Governor Willie Obiano, please come to my rescue or I will die. They have pursued my husband to an early grave. I have two little kids,” said Ebele Okoye.

Kingsley and Stanley in their respective speeches lamented that their brother could not have died if the police did not come to arrest him saying that Chike’s only crime was that he was outspoken.”

“If the death was an accident, why not the police rush him to hospital; since you came for an official arrest why abandon Chike to die in the pool of his own blood?”

Kingsley refuted the claim making rounds that his late brother was asthmatic, diabetic and had High blood pressure saying that no terminal disease runs in their family.

Addressing newsmen, the Chairman of Uruezalor village who led the protesters, Mr. Benedith Obide alleged that “the cause of this death and several arrests was the community Ogbor land, which the monarch allegedly built culverts upon and started encroachment without our consent but now other people arrested have been released after the incident.”

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