Ogidi community, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra state, is a boiling sequel to the alleged death of a youth leader, Chike Okoye, who was trying to evade police 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 Pharmacist Alex Onyido.
The incident which coincided with this year’s Nwafor Ogidi annual cultural festival of the Ogidi community, occured Thursday evening at the commencement of the when the week-long festivities.
When the news of the death of the youth leader filtered into the ears of the people of Umueze Alor village, Ogidi that one of their sons has died in a bid to escape police arrest and that scores have already been arrested by the police, the people ran amok, made straight to the house of the deceased to pick his corpse but the corpse had been deposited earlier at the Iyi-Enu Mission hospital morgue, Ogidi.
They then made bone fire with used tyres, barricaded the ever-busy Onitsha-Enugu old road and made straight to the morgue brought the corpse and rushed to the palace of the monarch where they deposited it and dispersed.
Addressing newsmen on the incident, the Chairman of the village who led the protesters, Mr Obidi Benedith, flanked by his vice, Nonso Agbata, (a.k.a. Inwelle Ogidi) said that, “the cause of this death was the community Ogbor land which the monarch built culverts upon and started encroachment without our consent”
“So on asking why such should be done, he started arresting those who are out to oppose him, including myself, the deceased, my vice and others”
“We have dumped the corpse in 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 monarch sent that held him as he was about to evade the arrest in his house and was pushed down from the one-storey building and he died”, he revealed further.
Prior to their departure, the monarch who was represented by a High Chief, Ugochukwu Okwosa Owelle, urged them to soft-pedal that as brothers the death has happened and as such should be amicably settled.
“You should see it that death has happened and what we need now is a solution for a peaceful settlement as brothers”
“What you people are doing now is worsening the situation, I plead that we discuss as brothers for the good of us all”, he pleaded.
His plea fell on deaf ears as they left him with the corpse and minutes later, the President General of the Community, PG, 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 it was not an intentional act.
“It is unfortunate and we have to take heart as it was not intentional and nobody arrested the deceased nor beat him up from what I was told. He fell down as he was escaping as I was told but autopsy will tell the cause of his death”
On the part of those still under detention, he said that “they will soon be released, I have talked with the CP and he assured me that they will be released immediately”