The Obi of Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, Professor Chukuka Okonjo, father of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has described as false, allegations that he was the mastermind of the violence which led to the death of a teenager, one Prince Pentty Chukwu, in his community.
Reacting to a media report which allegedly fingered his palace as being the mastermind of the violence that lead to the death of Chukwu, the monarch said such comment was not only ridiculous, but a calculated attempt aimed at bringing the image and reputation of his palace into disrepute.
In a statement issued yesterday by the spokesman of the palace, Mr. Okolobi Lawrence, the traditional ruler also distanced the minister and the palace from the unfortunate incident, stating that the minister was in New York at the time of the incident.
The statement entitled: ‘The Real Facts about the Recent Violence in Ogwashi-Uku: A Statement by the Palace’, described the allegations against the minister and her father as ridiculous.
“Our attention has been drawn to a report published by an online medium in which a member of the usurper Izediunor family in Ogwashi-Uku made several reckless allegations, including that of murder against the esteemed Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Professor Okonjo and his daughter, our Princess, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. The allegations are as false as they are ridiculous,” the statement noted.
The statement further added: “From information available to us from the State Security Service (SSS) and the Police Force, this tiny section (Izedunor) attempted to disrupt the last Ihaaji traditional festival (Yam Roasting Festival).
“They mobilised some youths and unleashed violence on helpless market women and others in the vicinity in a bid to stop sons and daughters of Ogwashi-Uku and their guests from exercising their free right to attend and partake in the traditional festival. They attacked them with firearms and injured several of them.
“The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the state responded to the distress calls and had no choice than to intervene to avoid a deterioration of the situation. The police and the JTF were able to dislodge these criminals after a brief gun duel, arresting several of them.
“Unfortunately, a youth involved in the violence planned and executed by these agents of destabilisation lost his life. It is indeed sad that a young life would be snuffed out because of the actions of conscienceless people.
“But we cannot allow these elements to have their way. We welcome all peace-loving sons and daughters of Ogwashi-Uku and their friends to attend the upcoming Ine Festival starting on October 9 to observe first hand, the rich tradition of the kingdom and its peace-loving citizens as arrangements have been made to ensure a more secure environment during the celebrations,” the statement said.