The traditional ruler of the Oruku community in the Nkanu East local government area of Enugu state, Igwe Emmanuel Chidebere Mba, was shot dead by men claiming to be police officers from Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The incident has sparked a crisis in the community, as houses and cars belonging to community members who were allegedly behind the shooting of the traditional ruler have been set on fire.
Eyewitnesses said that the ‘policemen’ led by a Danladi inspector, invaded the community in a Sienna van and bus around 2pm on Saturday and sought to see the traditional ruler addressing community members within the city hall of community.
The armed men were reportedly escorted to the town hall by three natives of the Oruku community identified as Emmanuel Nwobodo, Onyema Edeh and Sunday Onunze.
When the traditional ruler was identified by the three natives, one of the ‘policemen’ immediately shot him in the thigh and he fell bleeding.
The pandemonium came after the royal father was shot as the natives dispersed in different directions amid sporadic gunfire from the gunmen, who tried to arrest some of them.
The bleeding royal father was taken along with Agozie Ani by the gunmen to Parklane Enugu hospital, but could not be admitted due to lack of space for beds.
They were referred to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, but upon arrival the doctors from the Emergency Unit only declared the royal father dead.
It emerged that the royal father who was chosen by his community on December 26, 2019, reportedly bled to death before he could receive medical care.
His body was deposited in the morgue of the national orthopedic hospital, while Ani’s whereabouts are still unknown.
The Ford Pick-up truck driven to the aborted reunion by the late royal father, which was also driven by the team, has yet to be found.
The controls of some community leaders at the headquarters of the state police command to determine the identity and motive of the “invading policemen” were unsuccessful, since they were informed that no such entry had been made in any police station to such effect.
As a result of the incident, the aggrieved members of the Oruku community allegedly regrouped on Saturday night and attacked the homes of some indigenous people believed to be behind the murder of the traditional ruler.
Four houses, including the compound of the father of a retired federal permanent secretary, Chief Raymond Okenwa, were reportedly set on fire. Some vehicles parked within the affected facilities were also set on fire by the mob.
The carnage continued until Sunday morning while more buildings in Oruku were still being burned.
Attempts made to contact the police public relations officer, Daniel Ndukwe, failed because he did not receive calls or respond to text messages on his mobile phone.