The spate of kidnapping of traditional rulers in Imo State has continued unabated as hoodlums have again, kidnapped the traditional ruler of Umuezeala Ama Autonomous Community in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, Eze Aloysius Igwe, Tuesday night.
Vanguard learnt that the incident took place at about 08:10 pm at the Nkwo-Umuezeala market square in the area.
Reacting to the development, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday, said the situation is complex and the group is worried.
Also worried by the development , elder statesman, and 1st Republic Aviation Minister, Mbazulike Amechi, has appealed to those kidnapping and killing the traditional rulers, no matter the reason, to stop forthwith as it amounts to sacrilege.
Meantime, a community leader from Umuezeala Ama Autonomous Community who spoke to Vanguard alleged that: “Our traditional ruler, Eze Aloysius Igwe, was kidnapped at the Nkwo-Umuezeala market square in Ehime Mbano. He was kidnapped when he was coming back from a meeting and heading to a place they said he wanted to pick his wife from another meeting.
“Those who kidnapped our monarch were in a commercial bus and motorcycles, I think three motorcycles. They shot several times before they abducted him and drove speedily towards Aba Beach Road.”
However, at the time of filing this report, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Micheal Abattam, said he was yet to confirm the incident.
In this drama of kidnapping of Imo monarchs, it should be recalled that one of the monarchs, the traditional ruler of Atta ancient kingdom in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Edwin Azike was murdered, while the traditional ruler of Mbutu ancient kingdom in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Eze Damian Nwaigwe, was rescued unhurt. Also, Eze Acho Ndukwe of Ihube Autonomous community in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State was rescued.
The traditional ruler of Ezi- Mbieri, an autonomous community in Mbaitoli local government area, 89-year-old Eze Henry Madumere, father to former Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere was kidnapped and later freed by his abductors.
Vanguard learnt that traditional rulers in Imo State have been meeting over the threat to their lives following the reported kidnappings and killings targeted at them by hoodlums.
The Chairman of Imo State traditional rulers, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, yesterday, confirmed he has been in meetings with monarchs but did not give details of the outcome of the meetings.
“As I am talking to you now, I am in a serious meeting. I have not rested for some days now. I have a lot of things I am doing. I cannot speak for now,” Okeke said.
Okeke, who is the traditional ruler of the Amaifeke community in Orlu did not say the venue of the meetings, but Vanguard learnt that the meetings were not unconnected with the challenges the monarchs have been going through for the past two weeks in Imo State.
A source close to the office of the monarch said:“The traditional ruler has not slept for the past five days. It’s been from one meeting to the other trying to end the killing of his colleagues. He has been taking a very big risk moving about to see that all is well with his colleagues.
“But pressure is still coming as you hear daily that one monarch is kidnapped and the other killed. This is putting fears not only on the people but also the traditional rulers. They no longer move around freely. They hide. They hide their identity.
They even enter commercial vehicles just to disguise themselves. This is horrible. Monarchs now live in fear in Imo State. We pray God will intervene.”
Some of these kidnaps and killings sponsored from outside—Ohanaeze
The Public Relations Officer of the apex Igbo group, Chief Alex Ogbonnia while answering questions from Vanguard said:
“It’s a complex matter and Ohanaeze is worried about the development. We have not kept silent but Ohanaeze does not have the enforcement capacity to do much. We can only persuade.
“We have been talking to the youths and the government. Ebubeagu has been given a deadline across the southeast to contain these kidnappings and killings and fish out these people and if they are motivated, they can perform.
“You should also know that some of these kidnaps and killings are sponsored from outside. Some of these killings are being sponsored by external forces for their selfish interests across Igboland”.
Uzodinma and Okorocha should resolve their problem for Imo to have peace —Mbazulike Amechi
Amechi who also said he does not have actual information on those behind the dastardly act, however, exonerated the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, from the killings in Igboland, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and also meeting the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at DSS cell, whom he said he had very fruitful discussions and frank talks with.
Amechi however noted that the main problem in Imo State is not IPOB, ESN, or any Biafra group agitation but rather, the greatest problem Imo State has is political and it is between the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Hope Uzodinma and his predecessor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, adding that until they resolve their problems and make peace, Imo State may not be calm.
Amechi therefore urged the two elephants in Imo State who are in the same party to resolve their problems for the interest of peace in Imo State, saying that the amicable resolution of their problem will bring calm in the state since a majority of the crisis in the state is from their Orlu and Ideato zone of the state.
Lolo Ijeoma Njoku Obinwannem News Writer / Dec 16, 2021