Igbos in Akure, the Ondo State capital have reportedly closed their business in protest of the planned dethronement of their Eze Ndigbo, Sir Gregory Iloehike.
The Igbo residents of Akure aside shutting down their businesses in all major markets in the Ondo capital, also withdrew their services from the markets.
The Igbo, who converged on their secretariat at Gbogi Street as early as 7am, warned the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, against dethroning the Eze Ndigbo.
They insisted that the monarch lacks the power to dethrone Iloehike.
The Eze Ndigbo’s ordeal was traced to his alleged disrespect and insubordination to the Deji, who is the paramount ruler of the ancient Yoruba town.
But Iloehike said he was not rude to the Deji, adding that he instead contributed immensely to the Oba Aladetoyinbo’s installation.
He said: “The Deji called me at 8.48pm last Sunday inviting me to his palace and I honoured his invitation on Monday morning.
“I went with one of my chiefs but when I got to the palace, I saw youths numbering over 200 who started shouting as I entered.
“I suspected that they were mobilised by the monarch and I showed respect to him by prostrating.
“The monarch threatened to drive out the Igbo from Akure and when I asked why, the youth descended on me.
“They tore my beads and removed my crown. They attempted to beat me but the police officers at the palace rescued me”.
The Eze Ndigbo said the monarch’s invitation was the first since he ascended the throne in July of 2015.
Iloehike noted that the Igbo had been living harmoniously in Akure for over 70 years without any friction with the natives and pleaded with the Deji-in council not to cause inter-ethnic crisis in the state.
President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, High Chief Okechukwu Okorie, said the Igbo have resolved to live happily with other ethnic groups in the state.
Okorie maintained that any attempt to dethrone the Eze Ndigbo, who is the Deputy National President, Ndi Eze’N’Association of Uzo Ije in Diaspora, would be resisted by the Igbo.
He also maintained that Iloehike, who was installed in August 2011, has not committed any offence, adding that only the Igbo who elected him as their Eze, have the right to remove him.
The spokesman for the Deji-in-Council, the Asamo of Akureland, High Chief Rotimi Olusanya, could not be reached for comment.