Vanguard (Lagos)

8 February 2013

Nigeria: Delta Govt Wades Into Igbodo Community Crisis

Asaba — DELTA State Government, Thursday, confirmed that it has formally waded into the rift between the Obi of Igbodo, Obi Ikechukwu Nkeobikwu Osedume I and his subjects following the insistence of the community that the traditional ruler must as a matter of tradition marry an indigene.

The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Newworld Safugha, told Vanguard that, "yes, we (state government) have intervened. The issue is under the purview of the deputy governor. I don't want to pre-empt what would be the outcome of our intervention but all I can tell you is that there was a petition to us. Already we have heard from the Obi and the palace chiefs. We are making progress and I can assure you it is our duty to ensure that peace prevails."

Following the "deportation" of the Ebonyi-born heartthrob of the monarch, fear had gripped the community over possible breakdown of law and order.

And in a letter dated January 4, 2013, to the Deputy Governor by the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Igbodo, Dr. Joseph Unomah, the people of the area stated, "our prayer is that you (deputy governor) invite our Obi and chiefs and elders of our community to your office in order to resolve the matter.

"The situation is really bad and explosive and your earliest intervention will be highly appreciated. The tension and anger of the people is at its peak at this moment. A repeat occurrence of bringing that woman (deported) into the palace could lead to a serious uprising against the Obi and breakdown of law and order."

"Recently the Obi in total disregard to the wishes and feelings of his subjects forcibly brought a woman who is not a native of Igbodo by birth as wife into the palace. This behaviour of the Obi greatly provoked the people . The woman in question could have been lynched but for the timely intervention of the chiefs and elders of the community with the cooperation of the Army and police."

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