–      Gets commendation

The gruesome murder of a 27 year old Okada rider at Banana junction, in Orlu LGA, last week would have resulted in anarchy, uncontrolled violence, break down of law and multiple deaths, if not for the timely intervention of His Royal Majesty, Eze (Dr) E.C Okeke, Eze Udo II of Amaifeke Ancient Kingdom, Chairman, Imo State Traditional Institution and Community Policing, who promptly arrived the scene from an official assignment at Owerri, calmed the rampaging youths and controlled the situation, when the police and other law enforcement agencies had already given up after doing their best.

A police source who pleaded anonymity told Nigeria Watchdog that the security agencies were overwhelmed by the over 1000 aggrieved youths, who went on rampage, violently protesting the killing of their fellow youth. They vandalized vehicles, destroyed and pulled down everything on their way and would have probably set the police station ablaze, if Eze Okeke, who they seemed to revere  had not arrived the scene, at the time he did, to address and calm them down.

Addressing the press on the unfortunate incident, Eze Okeke, thanked God for giving him the wisdom and ability to control the situation and for not letting the incident snowball into a conflagration of unimaginable proportion. 

The monarch explained that, he was on an official assignment at Owerri, when the incident occurred and was bombarded with calls from different quarters, including the Commissioner of Police, the Area Commander and the Divisional Police Officer, Director, State Security Service, among others, who enquired of his whereabout. They gave him the situation report and urged him to rush back immediately. “When I arrived the scene and saw that there was tension everywhere with over 1000 angry youths, chanting war songs, unwilling to be pacified and ready to vent their anger on anything and anybody. I accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion by addressing them. I employed all conflict resolution and management strategies to control the situation. First, we deposited the corpse at the mortuary and then went to the Orlu Local Government Council headquarters. On reaching there, the Interim Management Chairman who had also been calling me to come, could not get down from his office to address the youths because the whole place was barricaded and the police were shooting sporadically in the air to disperse the crowd, but to no avail”.

However, inspite of everything, the youths by the grace of God and probably because of my antecedents as a Royal father, who understands, feels the pulse of and is always in tune with my subjects, listened to me and accepted my advice to sheath their swords, calm down and explore peaceful and amicable resolution. The story would have been entirely different”. 

The revered monarch also posited that, in view of the recent incident at Orlu, Governor Hope Uzodinma should be commended for his wisdom, fore-sight, zeal and passion to ensure security of lives and property at the grassroots by appointing him and other credible traditional rulers to head and oversee traditional institution, community policing and attendant challenges at the State, Zonal and Community levels.

“Hence, I saw what happened at Banana Junction that is in my domain, as a test case that should be handled with tact, carefulness and wisdom to avert unpleasant consequences, colossal damage also ensure that it does not ever happen again”.

Eze Okeke, also poured encomium on Governor Uzodinma for awarding the contract for construction of the dilapidated Owerri-Orlu road that has become a death trap to Julius Berger. According to him, “all Orlu sons and daughters, at home and in the diaspora should appreciate and be sincerely grateful to our amiable, purposeful and hardworking Governor for this singular gesture. Even if he does not do any other thing for us, the road when completed will enhance economic and commercial activities and the ease of doing business for indigenes and residents of Orlu axis”. 

Asked what he felt about the purported arrest of some of the youths who protested against the cold blooded murder of Ukachukwu Mbagwu, Eze Okeke stated that, he was not aware that anybody was arrested. “It will be unfair for any of the youths who engaged in the protest to be arrested simply for engaging in the protest, after we had stepped in and resolved the matter. But if any of them was arrested for looting, stealing, burglary or other criminal acts, then, he is on his own and should sort it out”.