CrimeCulture & Tradition

Court Remands 8 Suspects Over Attack On Ogwashi-Uku Royal Family, Others

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

Walter Okechukwu Ogwashima, Okechukwu Ofuasia, Anthony Obukwugo, Emeka Otulu, Rosaline Ekenife, Franca Ogogo, Ogogo Grace and Chukwudenye Okolie with Charge No MO/23/c/2022) at the Ogwashi-Uku Magistrate Court were, today, remanded, over attacks on the Ogwashi-Uku Royal Family, bailiffs and police operatives in Delta State.

The eight suspects are further facing charges ranging from terrorism, use of improvised explosive devices, permitting the escape of criminals, promoting communal war, among others.

The suspects allegedly carried out the attack last Monday February 7, 2022 on the court Bailiffs, policemen, and members of the Royal Family who went to the Old Obi’s Palace in Ogwashi-Uku to execute a Warrant of Possession issued by the Delta State High Court in Asaba.

It will be recalled that the case emanated from the dispute as regards the rightful owners of the Ogwashi-Uku traditional stool which litigation started in 1985.

The Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family won the case in 2007 at the High Court presided over by the Justice Oseji of blessed memory.

The defendants, not satisfied with the judgment, appealed the case at the Court of Appeal in Benin and lost in a unanimous decision.

They then approached the Supreme Court and, in a decision led by Justice Mary Odili on November 1st 2021, dismissed their appeal and upheld the original judgment by Justice Oseji.

Throughout the case and despite losing repeatedly in every single court they approached, the Umu Deiyi Family refused to hand over the Obi’s Palace and other instruments of the traditional title to the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family.

This led to the Warrant of Possession issued by the High Court in Asaba and the execution of the warrant on February 7th 2021.

In an interview granted by the Palace Secretary of the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family, Prince Ifeakanachukwu Emordi, he narrated what happened on the fateful day.

According to him, five Court Bailiffs, along with policemen from Asaba and Ogwashi-Uku, came to the gates of the old Palace to enforce the orders of the court.

They were brutally attacked by members of the Umu Deiyi family who barricaded the gates and refused them entry into the Palace to conduct their lawful duty.

The Umu Deyi family members had allegedly recruited thugs, cultists and other fierce-looking hooligans fully armed with daggers, guns, cutlasses and also pipe bombs.

They were successful in chasing away the court Bailiffs and policemen who were also pelted as they retreated to the Ogwashi-Uku Divisional Headquarters for their safety.

It took the intervention of the State Commissioner for Police, who sent reinforcements an hour later, to rescue the situation and permit the court Bailiffs to carry out their lawful duty.

He further stated that the hoodlums damaged several cars as they boasted of their actions on videos and pictures shown on social media by a key financier based in Lagos.

The Palace Secretary said that the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku will not interfere with the prosecution of the culprits and emphasised that the investigation by the Police is still ongoing so that the sponsors of the criminals can also be brought to justice.

He commended the state Commissioner of Police CP Muhammad Ali, the Deputy Commissioner Operations and also the OC Legal for their commitment to ensuring that the lawful court order was carried out.

The situation appears to be calm and the Old Palace deserted in preparation for the massive renovation of the old run-down Palace.

Sand and other building materials appear to be appearing at the old Palace site.

In a meeting held with the Umudei Royal Family of whom the Umu Obi Obahai belongs, the Diokpa of the entire Umudei Royal Family commended the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku for his efforts in restoring peace to the community.

He charged the Obi to use this new beginning as an opportunity to reconcile all members of the family while he condemned the actions of the Umu Deyi who had instigated the violence against the court officials.

Members of the Ogwashi-Uku community appear to be cautiously optimistic about the future of the Ogwashi-Uku community.

One of the senior members of the community traced many of the community problems to people outside the royal family who were sponsoring the chaos and divisions within the community.

These people he claimed, were using the Old Palace as their focal reference point especially during yearly Ineh Festivals and dividing the community, praying for peace to return to the Kingdom.

 

 

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