This Day (Lagos)

18 March 2013

Nigeria: Hoodlums Attack Ondo Monarch's Palace

Hoodlums at the weekend attacked Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, and destroyed the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Afolabi Odidiomo. The attack, it was gathered disrupted the relative peace in the town as the attackers numbering about 10 and armed with dangerous weapons unleashed terror on the town.

A source alleged that the attack on the palace was a reprisal by the hooligans who took revenge on the death of one of their members whose body was discovered floating in a river in the community the previous day.

Speaking on the incident, Odidiomo alleged that another traditional ruler from Mahin kingdom, Oba Lawrence Omowole, was behind the destruction of his palace.

Odidiomo, who spoke from his Lagos residence, traced the genesis of the attack to a few months before he was installed as the monarch of Igbokoda when Omowole installed two people in Igbokoda as Baale and Oloja.

The monarch explained that when he complained about the action of Omowole, he (Omowole) ordered some boys known as 'Mahin Task Force' to provide security for the two chiefs.

He said: "I reported the development to Olugbo of Igboland, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, who promised to wade into the matter. There was a parcel of land within Igbokoda terrain which Omowole sold to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs at about N64million and when I asked questions, he threatened to deal with me.

Although, all effort to speak with Omowole was not successful, one of his chiefs, Chief Francis Mesagan, described the Igbokoda's monarch as "a drowning man begging for attention."

Mesagan said Omowole installed Odidiomo as the monarch of Igbokoda and would not be party to destroying the house he built.

He advised the Olu of Igbokoda to retrace his steps and make peace with his people rather than pointing accusing finger at the traditional ruler Mahin.

Meanwhile Odidiomo said: "I sent a petition to the ministry and he has been using the Mahin boys to harass me since then. A group of boys shot into my room through the window last year in an attempt to eliminate me.

"The following morning I was told a corpse was found in the river and was identified as one of the Mahin boys and these boys went on rampage destroying the palace and some houses belonging to my chiefs."

He alleged that the plot was hatched outside Igbokoda saying: "This is part of sustained activities to rubbish me. Last November they shot at me. In December when I accompanied some government officials to inspect our market, my subjects smuggled me out of the place when they attacked us. Now they have burnt my palace."

The monarch therefore called on the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to order a high powered inquiry into the attack.

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