Ughelli monarch condemns killing, violence in festival
By Philo Ezewu
The Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM Dr Wilson Ojakovo, Oharisi III, has sued for peace among his subjects following the killing of a native of the area.
The call came on the heels of Thursday’s killing of a yet-to-be-identified man during the celebration of the Kingdom’s traditional festival just as traders at the Ughelli main market staged a peaceful protest to his palace over the ugly incident.
Orient Weekend reports that the incident which sparked tension in the town also led to the closure of the Ughelli main market on Friday.
Addressing journalists when traders, mostly women from the Ughelli main market visited the palace to express their concerns over the security situation in the market, the monarch condemned the violence and killing during the festival.
According to the Monarch, “By the special grace of God, Ughelli has started her festival and it will last for 9 days and the security agents will fish out the culprits.
And before the commencement of the Iherin festival, I did warn all my subjects that nobody should harass anyone nor be armed with dangerous weapons because it is a time for the people to eat, rejoice and wine together”, he informed the protesters.
He continued, “But to my surprise, yesterday (Thursday) when the festival commenced, unknown persons infiltrated them with arms and killed one person. The infiltration of the festival led to a casualty and the corpse of the deceased was brought to desecrate the palace which is an abomination”, he lamented.
Speaking on the protest, the traditional ruler said, “I am aware that there is a little problem about the market for some time now and we resolved that since the market is a general one, the Ibos are there, Urhobos and other tribes are trading there let the people involved allow peace reign. And we all agreed and signed that there should be security post at both sides of the market but I am surprised that till now, no security agents have been posted to the place.
“The recent killing should not be related to the Ughelli main market because since we agreed and signed up the communique, peace has returned. Nobody should use the market as an excuse to cause problems in Ughelli, I will not accept that”, he warned.
Ojakovo further recollected, “We mandated the Local Government (Authorities) to create security posts and I was told that the posts were built but they were not put into use. It is now for us to go and inquire from the Local Government Chairman why the place was not put into use.
“We had a fruitful deliberation with the market women today and by the special grace of God they should go about their normal business as security agents have been drafted to the market to restore normalcy.”
The Ughelli Market women had earlier demanded an end to the killing of their sons and husbands and the crumbling of commercial activities that they said have persisted for over 5 hours.
They commended the Ovie of Ughelli for taking peace as his prerogative.
The Women, Mrs Deborah Kehinde said; “We led this peaceful protest to the palace because of the unabated killing and attack on traders. We no longer trade in the market because of the fear of a possible attack on us. And with the response of our traditional ruler during the indoor meeting, it was satisfactory because he assured all of us of adequate security and protection from combined security agents”.