Traditional ruler allegedly shot and killed a fresh graduate in Imo
The Umueze autonomous community in Mbaitoli Council Area of Imo State was in turmoil last penultimate Wednesday after a traditional ruler shot and killed a fresh graduate and a native of the community.
The traditional ruler, was said to have been infuriated by what he perceived as insult by youths in the community, who had refused to vacate a playground in the community primary school, which his own son had wanted to use for a training session by members of a private football club sponsored by the son, which he brought to the village from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The youths of the community, it was gathered, had for long endured the several brazen acts of intimidation of their monarch and could no longer stomach it.
It was reported that on the fateful Wednesday evening, the traditional ruler, Eze Peter Opara, who is also the chairman of Mbaitoli Council of Traditional Rulers shot and killed 25-year-old Uchenna Opara popularly known as “junior” who had just graduated from the Imo State University at the community’s primary field where the deceased and his peers had been training as they usually do in the cool of the afternoon.
The community’s youth leader, Iwuoha Bethel, who narrated what transpired to Sunday Sun, Eze Opara of constantly using his security men to harass and intimidate the natives. He revealed that the youths of the community had protested that the son of the monarch, Temple Opara, could not deprive them the use of the primary school playground for their football training every evening because he brought his own team from Rivers state.
He further pointed out that it was the youths of the community that had been maintaining the playground, arguing that it would be unjust for them to vacate the playground on the whim of the monarch and his son.
He gave further insight: “While we were training on Wednesday evening, Eze Opara who was coming back to the community with his security guard, Atuonye, sighted us as we were training. He reversed his car and came straight to the field. When he alighted, he claimed that his son had given the youths N10,000. He demanded that the money be immediately handed over to him.
The monarch further said that we were challenging his authority in the community. While he was shouting, his security guard went into the car and brought out the pump-action rifle. The monarch took the gun from him and wanted to shoot us, but his personal assistant attempted to stop him. It was in the course of struggling with his personal assistant, who was trying to restrain him that the gun went off and a bullet hit Uchenna on his chest. Sensing that he may have killed the young man, Eze Opara abandoned his rifle and fled from the scene.
According to reports, the deceased who graduated this year from the Department of Library and Information Service, was rushed to a police clinic at Amakohia, where he was pronounced dead.
In anger, youths of the community marched to the palace of the monarch and set it ablaze. They also burnt his other properties. By then then the monarch had already fled the community for fear of being lynched by the irate youths.
Although the monarch is now the guest of the Homicide Section of the Imo State Police Command, the natives in his domain that petitioned the state government demanding that he deposed, stating that the behaviour of Eze Opara had never shown conduct, comportment and decorum associated with traditional rulers of communities. They insisted that he must be removed.
A native of the community, who pleaded for anonymity told Sunday Sun: “Eze Opara is just the opposite of what a traditional ruler should be because he is very greedy and wants everything to go to his family. The worst of all is that he keeps harassing the people with his security guards. This was not the first time he would threaten the natives with his pump action rifle. But on that Wednesday the evil spirit that has been controlling him made him to kill a graduate who is supposed to be his son because he is the traditional ruler of the community.
“We will not accept Eze Opara as the traditional ruler of the community any longer, he was indeed lucky that he hurriedly escaped; by now he would have been a dead man because the young man he killed was the first child of his parents.”
Mr. Franklin Opara, a retired Customs Officer and father of the deceased has vowed that he would do everything within his power to ensure that the gruesome killing of his first child would not be swept under the carpet.
“Uchenna who wass called junior was not just my first child but also my first son and he was supposed to go for go for his mandatory national youths service next year in March. So, the death of my son cannot be in vain because justice must be done and the Eze and his guards jailed,” the deceased father said.