Some youths in Imo state set ablaze the palace of the traditional ruler of Obollo autonomous community, Edwin Mbaeyi, in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area.
The over 200 youths allegedly burnt down the monarch’s home for refusing to coronate one Chijioke Njokuocha as the traditional prime minister of the community after the death of his father, Samuel Njokuocha.
An eyewitness simply identified as Collins told the Punch that the monarch’s preference for one Jasper Nwachukwu angered the youths who had gathered to witness the coronation of Chief Njokuocha.
The youths, therefore, took laws into their hands as a means of expressing their displeasure with the development. The eyewitness narrates:
“Our traditional ruler has insisted on making Chief Jasper Nwachukwu our traditional Prime Minister as against the rightful owner. The position of the prime minister in our community is hereditary.
“After the death of our prime minister, Chief Samuel Njokuocha, our custom, and tradition demand that his first son, Chijioku Njokuocha, should be coronated.
“This issue started since 2016 and our traditional ruler has remained adamant and wants to go against the culture and tradition of our people. Even the office of the governor on conflict resolution had mandated him to coronate the rightful person but he vehemently refused.
“After much persuasion, he agreed to do the coronation today (Tuesday) after he had boycotted it one month ago.
“To the chagrin of the people who had gathered with much excitement to witness the ceremony he declined. The youths were embittered. They had no other option than to set the palace ablaze after the monarch had fled“.
In the meantime, the police have arrested a 29-year-old suspect, Raphael Ndukwu, identified as a member of the gang that recently abducted and killed a Reverend Father in Owerri, Imo State.
The suspect who is a member of the notorious kidnapping syndicate, whose modus operandi is to abduct and rob victims was nabbed by the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) of Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 12.
Ndukwe met his Waterloo after his recent operation where he kidnapped one Gloria Emordi and made away with her Toyota Venza Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), which is yet to be recovered.The victim was said to have visited Orlu, her hometown in Imo from Lagos where she resides when she was kidnapped.
Police sources reveal that the suspect was nabbed after a tip-off from informants, who hinted police that he had fled to Lagos to take refuge after the Imo operation.
“The suspect is a leader of a notorious armed robbery and kidnapping gang that has been terrorising Imo and its environs. He usually comes to Ojo in Lagos to take refuge after any operation.
“From our investigation, the suspect is among the gang members that killed the Catholic priest in Owerri, Imo State, Cyriacus Onunkwo,” the source said.