Irate youths burn down palace, commissioner’s residence over burial rites in Edo

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By Jethro Ibileke

Irate youths in Ojah, a community in Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo State, have attacked and burnt down the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, HRH (Olojah) Oba D. S. Lawani, over burial rites given to a dead woman.

Also razed was the private residence of the State Commissioner for Social Development and Gender, Mrs Christabel Eremah Ekwu.

A source in the community disclosed that trouble started on Monday when the deceased, believed to have been killed by the shrine in Ojah was to be buried. so
The community wanted to the bury the woman in the customary way by throwing her remains in a shrine on the hills, a customary practice known as “sky burial”.

It was, however, gathered that the traditional ruler and the commissioner had canvassed for a cessation of that kind of burial.

Following suspicion that the traditional ruler and the commissioner invited security agencies to stop the burial process, the irate youths clashed with the security agents pelted them with stones.

In the ensuing anger, they attacked the palace of the traditional ruler, vandalized it and burnt down his SUV parked in the compound, while the residence of the commissioner was completely razed down.

Irate youths in Ojah community, Edo State, burns down palace of the traditional ruler Oba D. S. Lawani, over burial rites of a woman.
Irate youths in Ojah community, Edo State, burns down palace of the traditional ruler Oba D. S. Lawani, over burial rites of a woman.

Irate youths in Ojah community, Edo State, burns down palace of the traditional ruler Oba D. S. Lawani, over burial rites of a woman.

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Meanwhile, the Okpameri Traditional Rulers Association (OKPATRA), has condemned the wanton destruction of the buildings and other valuable properties in them.

The traditional rulers’ association in a statement on Tuesday, signed by its Chairman and Secretary HRH Oba Sule Idaiye and Victor Arogunyo respectively, said they would consult to resolve the issues.

The statement reads in part:

“The leadership of Okpameri Traditional Rulers Association (OKPATRA) condemned in its entirety the wanton destruction of the Palace of the Olojah of Ojah, HRH Oba D S Lawani and the burning down of his vehicle as a result of internal disagreement in the community that is easily reconcilable while in the same breath condemning the total burning down of the residence of the Honourable Commissioner For Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs Christabel Omoh Eremah Ekwu.

“While appreciating the proactive role and intervention of the Executive Chairman of Akoko-Edo LGC, Tajudeen Alade and the Chairman of Okpameri Description Union (ODU), Dr Kingsley Ekundayo and his team for their respective peace moves, we crave the indulgence and understanding of all the critical stakeholders of Ojah community to continue to maintain peace and harmony while OKPATRA consults with the relevant stakeholders in the local government including the Akoko-Edo Traditional Rulers Council to resolve all the contending issues with a view to finding a lasting solution as soon as it is practicable.”

Also reacting on the incident, a political leader from the area and former House of Assembly aspirant, Joy Akpaida, condemned the attacks and called for peace.

When contacted, the State Police Command spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said he was waiting for reports from the Divisional Police Officer in the area.

Photo caption: Ruins of the burnt house of the commissioner

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