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Delta bloodbath: Families, chiefs demand detained monarch’s whereabouts

Families and friends of the traditional ruler Ewu Kingdom in Delta State, Clement Ikolo, are said to be in the dark about his whereabouts for about a month since he was detained by the Nigerian military.

A statement by the Secretary of the Ewu-Urhobo Traditional Council of Chiefs, Abizor Henry, explained that despite efforts by the monarch’s lawyer to have the family members have access to him, it was not granted.

“Shockingly, efforts made by the Traditional Council of Chiefs of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom, family members and friends of the monarch in Nigeria and abroad to reach him have been abortive, leaving people wondering why someone who voluntarily surrendered himself to the security forces and has been commended by the Chief of Defence Staff for doing such an honourable thing, has not been allowed to see or talk to his subjects, family members or friends.

“His lawyer, Ama Etuwewe (SAN), has made a written request dated April 2, 2024, for access to see his client with a family member, but this access has not been granted to date,” the statement read.

The monarch had turned himself in to the police and was handed over to the military hours after he was declared wanted by the Defence Headquarters in connection to the killing of 17 military personnel in the Okuama community of the state.

However, Henry’s statement entitled, “True story of the arrest of monarch of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom over Okuoma killing,” also detailed Ikolo’s turbulent ascension to the throne.

The monarch was said to have encountered stiff opposition from other interested persons who claimed they were entitled to contest for the kingship.

Even after his nomination was affirmed by the traditional rulers’ committee, these people, according to the statement, vowed to scuttle his ascension.

“A few weeks before the handover of staff of office ceremony, the monarch attempted to enter the headquarters of the kingdom Ewu-Otor to meet with his people, but the opposition figures got wind of the information and immediately mobilised their supporters armed with various weapons to barricade access to the kingdom.

“The monarch, on getting wind of their plans, contacted the Nigerian Police Force to mobilise their men to the kingdom to maintain law and order but this was rebuffed by the opposition armed supporters who vandalised the vehicles of the Nigerian Police Force and vehicle of those sent ahead by the monarch,” the statement added.

Amidst the back and forth, the monarch was said to have travelled abroad for medical treatment, returning on February 23, 2024.

He was said to have been in the process of reconciling aggrieved parties when the killing of the military personnel happened.

“The monarch, on hearing of the heinous murder of the 17 military men at Okuoma community, did not delay in condemning the dastardly act, through a press statement, while requesting that the government go after the perpetrators of this heinous crime against the Nigerian Army and Nigeria at large

“The monarch woke up in the morning hours of March 28, 2024, to surprisingly see in the news media that he had been declared wanted by the military, without any prior invitation from any of the government security agencies.

“The monarch, on seeing the news, issued a press statement declaring his innocence and voluntarily surrendered himself to the Delta State Commissioner of Police for interrogation to clear his name. The police in the morning hours of March 29, 2024, handed him over to the military, who flew him to Abuja. Since that day, he has been in the custody of the military,” the statement added.

It expressed concern over the monarch’s health while appealing for his prompt release from detention.


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