DELTA FRESH VISION, an NGO committed to social justice, peace and good governance, nearly three weeks ago gave a graphic picture of the crisis in Idumuje Ugboko titled “The Idumuje Ugboko Kingship and Murder – which way forward”?
The recent open letter to the Governor of Delta State by Prince Kachido Anthony Nwoko seeking protection against Prince Nonso Nwoko in the Vanguard Newspaper of Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 titled “An open letter over unfounded allegations against me and threats to me and family by Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his agents” opened a fresh vista into the alleged highhandedness and vindictiveness of Prince Nonso Nwoko.
In this fresh perspective, Prince Anthony Nwoko revealed the facts which appear to be the genesis of the Idumuje Ugboko crisis. He says emphatically that he was living in the palace in 2017 when he overheard Prince Chukwunonso discussing on phone with someone on the need to banish Prince (Dr.) Ned Nwoko from the kingdom. According to Prince Anthony Nwoko, Prince Nonso Nwoko thereafter summoned a meeting of the Izu Ani (Elders in Council) to perfect his banishment plan. Although some palace members were against the intended banishment of Prince Ned Nwoko, Prince Nonso was adamant.
According to Prince Kachido Anthony Nwoko, some prominent chiefs who were on their way to the meeting included Chief Chris Ogwu (Iyase or Prime Minister of Idumuje Ugboko and Chief Sunday Edumodu, the Odogwu (third in rank) of Idumuje Ugboko who were physically prevented from attending the meeting as they were perceived to be opposed to the banishment plan of Prince Ned Nwoko by Prince Nonso Nwoko.
These acts of impunity by Prince Nonso Nwoko started the 2017 Idumuje Ugboko crisis. The crisis which ensued can best be described as mayhem. Hell was let loose at Idumuje Ugboko as Prince Nonso Nwoko allegedly ordered the vandalization of the house and cars belonging to Chief Chris Ogwu, the Iyase of Idumuje Ugboko and 27 others who were inflicted with varying degrees of injuries. An okada rider, Cyprian Kumiolu, an indigene of Benue State who was mistaken for a spy was murdered in cold blood. His body has disappeared till today with his family which is in court begging at least to have his bones released to them for proper burial. Kennedy Iloh, an indigene of Idumuje Ugboko was also later to be murdered in the same manner in the kingdom.
Please read The complete letter to the Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa by Prince Kachido Anthony Nwoko reads in full
OPEN LETTER OVER UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ME AND THREATS TO ELIMINATE ME AND MY FAMILY BY PRINCE CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO AND HIS AGENTS
Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa,
The Executive Governor of Delta State,
Government House, Asaba.
“My name is Prince Kachido Anthony Nwoko, a law-abiding member of the Royal Family of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom in Aniocha Local Government Area [LGA] of Delta State. I am constrained to cry out and write this letter due to threats to kill me, my wife and children by Crown Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his agents. Last night hoodlums suspected to be agents of the Crown Prince invaded my apartment in another community where I have been hiding since Prince Chukwunonso chased me away from the palace. I, my wife and two children escaped their deadly mission by the grace of Almighty God. They broke both the front and the back doors of the house.
I am calling on Your Excellency and the law enforcement agencies to help call the Crown Prince and his blood-thirsty agents to order before they wipe me and my family out. Prince Chukwunonso should be held responsible if anything happens to me or my family members. Apart from their threats to my life, since they chased me away they have been using all kinds of baseless allegations and lies to assassinate my character. Their aim is to totally paint me as evil.
I was living in the palace before the current crisis. The crisis began after the burial of the king in 2017, when his son, Prince Chukwunonso took over at the palace. One day, I heard Prince Chukwunonso discussing over the phone talking to someone about Prince Ned Nwoko. He was telling the person that they needed to banish him from the community. Afterward, he decided to summon the Izu Ani, that is meeting of Elders in Council, to tell them that there is the need to banish Prince Ned Nwoko because he is no longer from the community.
Before the Izu Ani meeting, some family members came to the palace to express their opposition to the banishment move. However, Prince Chukwunonso and his supporters were adamant. So on the date for the Izu Ani meeting, the Iyase [traditional Prime Minister who is second to the king in hierarchy]Chief Chris Ogwu, and the Odogwu [third in rank], Chief Sunday Edumodu of Idumuje-Ugboko were on their way to the palace for the meeting. Also coming for the meeting were other elders and chiefs who were supposed to attend but loyalists of Crown Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko prevented them by stopping them on the way. That was how the crisis started.
Following the advice of Hon Chuks Oseme, the Chairman of Aniocha LGA and the Police, the meeting was shifted for two days to enable them to put security in place for a peaceful conduct of the meeting without excluding any qualified elder. Before, the rescheduled meeting day, Prince Uwadiegwu Denis Nwoko, a younger brother of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko called a young man named Cheta Okoye [alias Asaba]to help him to organize and bring some powerful thugs to the palace for the Izu Ani meeting. Mr. Asaba agreed to execute the dirty job on the condition that they [the thugs]would be paid a certain amount of money. Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko told him not to bother, that money would not be a problem as long as they would perfectly execute the task of dealing with the ‘enemies’ perfectly.
So, the deal was concluded and Mr. Asaba went ahead and brought hardened cult boys numbering over 30 to the palace. They were quartered and fed in the palace throughout the days they stayed in Idumuje-Ugboko to implement the mayhem.
On the day of the rescheduled Izu Ani meeting, the thugs working in together with other agents of the Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko were given marching orders by the Prince Chukwunonso and his younger brother Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko. They were instructed on what to do. They were specifically instructed to prevent the Iyase and the Odogwu of Idumuje-Ugboko and other penciled elders who were suspected of being in support of the Stars University project from gaining access to the palace, venue of the meeting. The thugs were deployed and took strategic positions at the palace and the ways leading to it. There was palpable tension and fear in the air.
When the chiefs they earmarked to prevent from attending the meeting were approaching the palace, one Mr. Nonso Oyibundu, a loyalist of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko brought out a gun and shot into the air. Everybody started scampering and running for safety and fighting began. That was how the fight and the crisis started.
The Police tried to stop the fight but they could not because the thugs were many and already positioned. After some hours, the Army arrived the palace but the situation was the same as the imported thugs were busy with what know best attacking and maiming people. The Army left the palace without succeeding in stopping the fighting because the thugs were backed by forces within the palace.
While the crisis persisted that day, a young man who was oblivious of the fighting innocently rode his motorcycle to the front of the palace which is usually a popular place for picking passengers. The thugs hired by Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko for his senior brother, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko suspected the bike rider to be a spy. They immediately shot at him before he could ride out of the place. He died on the spot while they burnt his motorcycle. The victim was later identified as one Mr. Cyprian an indigene of Benue State who was resident in neighbouring Onicha-Ugbo.
After shooting Mr. Cyprian to death, Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko invited some boys namely Omonye Sonye, Adim Nwafor and others accompanied by thugs to take the body to Idumuje-Ugboko roundabout (abu-ano). In the middle of the night, Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko ordered some boys, namely Chuks Ndudi, Aikhomu Omezi, Light Onwoche, Cheta Okoye [aka Asaba]and others to bury the body in a secret grave. They took the corpse in Prince Uwadiegwu’s Mercedes ML vehicle to a secret place where it was buried.
But before that, at a certain stage, after conferring with Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, Prince Uwadiegwu and others with him directed us to dig a grave in the palace for the burial of the body. They directed me to leave after we completed the digging of the grave. I went to sleep gripped with fear. When I woke up the next morning, I found out that the grave we dug had been neatly covered. That logically made me to believe that the late Cyprian was buried there. Unknown to me, the victim might have been buried elsewhere in a secret grave.
That was how an innocent young man who was peacefully doing his okada riding business and searching for passengers to carry was wasted by heartless thugs recruited and sheltered in the palace by Prince Uwadiegwu Nwoko for his senior brother, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko.
Shortly after the ugly incident, I was forced out of the palace where I lived for decades and served the father of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, the late Obi Albert Nwoko III until he passed on to glory in 2017. As if leaving the palace is not enough, my family and I have been hounded and threatened by Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his agents for opening up on the crisis rocking Idumuje-Ugboko and the gruesome murder of Mr. Cyprian.
Recently, I was arrested and locked up in custody for two weeks. I was directed to come and show the Police where the late Cyprian was buried. I showed them the spot we dug a grave in the palace for his burial. They dug the place without finding his remains. That implies that they changed their mind after we finished digging the grave and decided to bury the late Cyprian somewhere else that is hidden.
My singular offence is that I am firmly standing for nothing but the truth and the peace, development and progress of my dear community Idumuje-Ugboko. I crossed the path of the agents of Crown Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko when I resolved not to be silent but to say the truth in condemnation of the killings and destructions taking place in Idumuje-Ugboko since 2017. They conspired and chased me out of the palace for lending my voice to the plea for peace, order and progress to reign in my hometown.
They have leveled a wicked and unfounded allegation that a prominent member of the Royal family and the founder of Stars University, Prince Ned Nwoko gave me a bribe of N5 million to lie against Crown Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his supporters. This allegation is a complete fabrication which has no bearing with reality. I wish to categorically state here that I have never been offered any bribe by Prince Ned Nwoko either directly or through proxy. My big offence, in the eyes of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his supporters, is my patriotism and support for developmental initiatives in the community that would benefit the generality of the people especially the proposed Stars University, Idumuje-Ugboko. Let me restate my resolve to keep supporting what is good for our people and future generations.
I am therefore pleading with Your Excellency to use your exalted office to persuade Crown Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his supporters to stop the baseless allegations and threats against me and spare my innocent life as well as the lives of my family members. They should likewise loosen their grip and allow people-oriented developments to take place in Idumuje-Ugboko including the takeoff of Stars University.”
Prince Kachido Anthony Nwoko
16th August, 2020
The Inspector-General of Police
The Chief of Army Staff
The Commissioner of Police, Delta State
The State Director, DSS
The Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council, Aniocha North LGA, Delta State
By Fred Akpewe