One person has been confirmed dead in the invasion of the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of Okochiri Kingdom of Okrika Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers state, HRM Ateke Tom, by Army operatives on Thursday evening, The Nation reports.
The Chief of Staff of the Palace, HRH, Chief Tamuno Akalokpo, confirmed the incident during a peaceful protest in the community on Friday.
Akalokpo, who expressed grievances of the community over the unprovoked attack identified the victim as John Ogbu.
He also disclosed a security dog at the King’s guest house where Ogbu worked and died was killed by the assailants while several others were arrested and being held at the 6 Division headquarters of the NA, at Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The chief said: “It was around 3 and 4 pm yesterday afternoon, Soldiers and Police invaded our Royal Palace and destroyed many things and carried away some, they also killed one John Ogbu and the security dog, and also arrested some builders in the new Palace.”
He called on the federal government to intervene in the matter quickly by calling for dialogue to discuss the matter before it goes out of hands.
“We the people of Okochiri Kingdom are not happy with the unprovoked attack on our Monarch.
“He is not less than the Emir of Kano, Sokoto, the Oba of Yorubaland and other high Kings in the country without giving respect to the royal stool.
“We will not accept this, men of the Nigerian Army have desecrated the Palace of our King and the entire Kingdom, and we are not happy about it.
“If it is politically motivated, our King is not a politician. He embraces all the candidates of all the political parties contesting election in the state that came to visit him, he received all of them and gave his blessings to all of them, so why this?
“We want President Muhammadu Buhari to know about this and call the Army to order, we the Okrikans can no longer tolerate this anymore.
“We are calling on the Federal government (FG) to intervene and call for a dialogue to pay for damages done to us and our King in the attack,” he said.
Describing Tom as a World Peace Ambassador recognised locally and internationally, he maintained he is peace loving, just like his subjects.
He demanded the masterminds of the raid should be brought to book “otherwise, we will not accept and if it is politically motivated, we the Okrikans will after the elections, visit the houses and communities of all the politicians that are involved in this for disturbing the peace of our community without any offence, we will also visit theirs,” he promised.
The chairman Okochiri council of Chiefs, Jackson Adoki, threatened stressing if the FG does not intervene in the situation promptly the community will have nothing to do with the Army and Police again.
Leader of the women, Mrs. Bether Godwin expressed sadness over the attack on the Monarch.
She maintained he and the stool he occupies deserves respect and that should be accorded to him without negotiation.
Residents of the community numbering over 5, 000 dressed in black clothes came out en mass to protest what they term “unprovoked insult” meted to their King, his Kingdom and the entire community by men of the soldiers.
The chiefs, men, women and youths carried placards chanting songs.
Some of the inscriptions said “give us ballots, not bullets”, “Stop unleashing terror on Okochiri Kingdom”, “Respect our King please” among others.
When contacted spokesman of the Army Col. Ileyasu Aminu said he would find out what happened and get back to our correspondent.
His reaction was still being expected as at the time of filing this report.