Tension in Abavo as villagers sack monarch

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By Emma Amaize

WARRI—THERE is apprehension in Abavo community in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, following weekend’s dethronement of HRM Uche Irenuma, who was also asked to quit the palace.

Vanguard gathered that there could be bloodshed in the community if the matter was not properly handled, as irate villagers, numbering over 5,000, were set for a showdown, if the king failed to vacate the palace within a particular time.

Investigation revealed that the monarch had contacted the police, while able-bodied youths, from outside the community, had also been allegedly recruited to guard the palace.

Delta State police spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka, who confirmed the tensed situation in Abavo to Vanguard, yesterday, said the police had beefed up security in the town, but did not give details.

The protesting villagers, led by chiefs of the community, claimed that James Okubor, father of the deposed king was wrongfully imposed on them in 1991 by some persons from the Abavo royal family, even when their former bonafide monarch, late Obi S. Jegbefume II, wrote a testament, dated April 4, 1985, saying that his eldest son, Prince Sunday Ekhator, should be crowned as the next Obi of Abavo, whenever he  (Jegbefume) joined his ancestors.

A community leader, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said: “James Okunbor died mysteriously five years after and instead of allowing Prince Ekhator to take over the throne of his father, which is hereditary, few members of the royal house  ganged up  again, and made Okubor’s son, Uche, the Obi of Abavo.

“Now, because of the abomination that was committed, those who committed the sacrilege have been dying mysteriously in the community. More than 10 persons had died so far and the facts of the will, which was written by the late monarch, stating that his oldest son, Prince Sunday Ekhator, should not be denied his rights as his successor, is  now public knowledge. So, there is panic everywhere on who will be the next and the people want to cleanse the land.”

The community leader explained that, “one of the prominent  members of the Abavo royal family, before he gave up the ghost, last month,  confessed that  he was the person, who  fraudulently altered the royal ascendancy pathway to pave way for the installation of James Okunbor as the Obi of Abavo in 1991.”

After his death, the people went to consult oracles and were told that the rightful heir to the throne of the community was being denied the crown, and as long as it was not given to him, Abavo would continue to witness calamity.

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