• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Families, friends demand whereabouts of monarch detained over killings of soldiers in Okuama

Clement Ikolo (1)

Families and friends of Clement Ikolo, the traditional ruler of the Ewu Kingdom in Delta State, have been in the dark about the whereabouts of the monarch following his detention by the military in connection with the gruesome murder of 17 soldiers in Okuama, Delta State.

The secretary of the Ewu-Urhobo Traditional Council of Chiefs, Abizor Henry, released a statement indicating that despite requests, the monarch’s family has not been allowed to see him since his detention.

“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 statement also recounted the monarch’s difficult rise to power, facing challenges from rivals for the throne. Despite confirmation from the traditional rulers’ committee, his opponents tried to prevent his ascension.

The monarch had travelled abroad for medical treatment and returned on February 23, 2024. He was resolving disputes when the military personnel were killed at Okuama. Upon learning of the incident, he publicly condemned the act and urged the government to pursue the culprits, the statement said.

Also, Delta State residents have urged the government to provide relief to the Okuama-Ewu community members who have been in the forests for over a month without necessities.

A political activist, Mr Blessing Adina, said: “My call is to the state government because it is its first responsibility to take care of the citizens of the state.

Yes, we have queries for the military for denying him access to the community, but l think the people in special duties in the government should try to take emergency steps to meet the needs of the people.

“I saw the horrible photos of the people in the open forest with no shelter over them. The government should set up Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps for the people, so they can settle them in the interim until this whole issue is resolved.

“They cannot continue to live in the bare forests where the dew and rain fall on them, and, of course, the heat from the sun is scorching. The government should take proactive steps and settle them in IDP camps, give them health care services, and provide food for them.’’