Umuahia — No fewer than 19 youths from Umunneochi local government area of Abia State are now in police net for allegedly beating to death a 65 year old traditional ruler from the area, Eze Iroha Nwankwo.
Daily Trust findings show that the monarch before the incident had a political face-off with the council's transitional committee chairman, Mr. Dan Okolie, over "who occupies the seat of the council area in the proposed local government elections" in the state.
The face-off, it was further gathered, culminated in the division of Umuchieze Youth Organization in the area.
Son of the deceased Prince Samuel Iroha said he was in Umuahia when the Ugwu Leru youths invaded his father's palace and "butchered him with dangerous weapons".
The deceased's wife, Ugoeze Virginal Nwankwo, who also spoke, said it was on June 25 when a petroleum tanker conveying fuel to a neighboring state fell on the Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway, an incident which some hoodlums in the community took advantage to siphon the spilling fuel.
She said as soon as the divisional police officer in the area got wind of it he quickly mobilized his men to the scene of the incident where some hoodlums were arrested.
"As the transitional council chairman was briefed of the arrest of his political thugs he rushed, and effected their release.
One of the released hoodlums mentioned my late husband's name of possible attack by the hoodlums that night; as my husband was preparing to take refuge in the neighboring community around 10.30 pm the hoodlum numbering over 20 invaded his palace, brought him out and beat him mercilessly with clubs until he died around 11pm", she said.
State police public relations officer Onyeke Ezekiel confirmed the murder of the monarch, saying "some youths invaded the monarch's palace and beat him to death and the police have arrested 19 suspects".