The battle between Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, father of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, and a royal family over the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku throne, has resulted in the death of a 15-year-old Ogwashi-Uku prince identified as Pentty Sunday Chukwu.
He and two others were shot by soldiers allegedly led by a captain of the Nigerian Army. The shooting incident occurred at Ogwashi-Uku during the celebration of the community’s new yam festival last weekend.
According to the police spokesman, the shooting “was done by the army, led by a Captain.” He, however, did not disclose the name of the Army Captain. He said the army were handling the issue, adding that when “they are through, they will hand over to the police for further investigation.”
The Umudei Royal Family of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, while demanding to know the whereabouts of their sons, alleged that the victims were shot by soldiers who also took them away to an unknown destination.
The corpse of Pentty Sunday Chukwu is yet to be recovered by relatives of the deceased. Also missing from the community are two other princes, namely, Kingsley Udeh, 22, and Bollus Izedunor, 23, who sustained bullet wounds.
According to the family’s secretary, Anthony Nti, the uniformed men allegedly stormed the palace where the victims were seated and opened fire on them unprovoked, killing one person in the process and injuring two others who had scampered for safety. He urged the relevant authorities to probe the circumstances that led to the invasion of the palace by uniformed men and the shooting that resulted in the casualties.
Investigation however revealed that last Friday’s crisis was not unconnected with the celebration of the New Yam (Iwaaji) festival by the respective ruling houses laying claims to the throne of Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom.
There has been a protracted kingship tussle over who occupies the throne between the Umudei ruling house represented by Izedunor lineage and the Umuobaha ruling house represented by the Okonjo lineage. The state government had presented the staff of office to Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, father of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance as the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom following his victory at the lower courts.
However, Okonjo’s victory at the lower courts is being challenged by the Izedunor lineage at the Supreme Court and as such the police advised both parties to maintain the status quo until judgement was delivered.