By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin-City
Christopher Ike Kebordih is the traditional ruler of Illushi Kingdom in Esan South East Local Government Council of Edo State. Meanwhile, the traditional ruler, who is supposed to be at home with his people, has fled his community following alleged threats from the people he accused of the murder of his son last year to kill him. The incident occurred on June 13, 2013 when some armed men allegedly murdered his 37-year-old son.
The traditional ruler, crying for justice, has sent petitions to the Edo State Police Command and the AIG Zone 5, Benin-City, in which he pointed accusing fingers at some persons he alleged were involved in the killing of his son, lamenting that nothing has been done by the police to fish out the suspects. According to him, the wife of the deceased was five months pregnant when he was killed just as he alleged that his farm produce and property were destroyed by the same people that murdered his son due to his efforts to seek for justice.
He narrated his story: “On June 13, 2013, there was a misunderstanding between two political groups. On the 9th, there was a report in my palace that some ACN boys working in the market were perpetrating illegality. Some PDP boys confronted them, leading to a crisis. When the matter came to me, I told both parties that the market is for the local government, that I am only the king and I have no hand in the affairs of the market.
I advised them to meet with the local government authorities to iron out their differences rather than engaging themselves in a fight. On the 13th, after 12pm, I received a phone call from an APC leader that the PDP people had gone back to the market. I asked if the APC leader had gone to the local government chairman to confirm if what the PDP people were doing was illegal or not because they were not revenue staff of the council.
I now said I was not around and that they should go to the police and the local government chairman to sort out the problem. Within two hours, policemen came in company of the APC boys whom they allotted the market space to. They said when they reported to the police, the police went to see the leader of the PDP group and others, but when they got there they rounded the policemen up and the APC boys rescued them after a fight.
When the APC boys came with the police, I had to follow them to the Area Commander at Irrua. When we got to Irrua, we met about six DPOs because they were having a meeting and I narrated my ordeal. I told them that my place was on fire. So the Area Commander said I should wait, that after their meeting, the DPO at Ubiaja will follow me with some policemen to reduce the problem.
I went back to Ubiaja. At about 1pm, information came to me that the PDP leader and his cohorts had mobilized, shooting guns and hunting for the APC boys. I went back to the DPO’s office and I was told he had not returned from the meeting. Then I went to the local government chairman to let him know what was happening. The chairman invited the DPO and he asked them to mobilize to stop the boys. I went back to my palace”.
Narrating further, he said, “ At about 5:30pm, I received a message concerning my son. My son was not a member of the market workers, he was not a revenue collector in the market. He was to do his wife’s introduction on the 16th of June. He went to Illushin market to remind some of his friends about the event and buy a few things. When he met the restive PDP youths, he asked them why they were carrying guns, that the issue on ground was not enough to carry guns.
As he was talking, one of the boys attacked my other son accompanying his brother and shot him. My son was shocked when his brother fell. The assailant was quoted as saying it was because of my son that he mistakenly shot the brother. When people started shouting, the assailant now shot my son, who was already in pains, dead.
“After the killing, the assailant and his colleagues put the corpse in a wheel barrow, took it to Odegume Road, dismembered the body with cutlass and threw the parts inside the river. When the information came to me, I ran to the DPO and local government chairman to inform them of the situation. Throughout that day, the police did not make any move, the council chairman also did not do anything. After some days, one of the PDP men was arrested at Ugboha. He narrated how they killed my son. The police recovered one locally made gun and nine live cartridges from him. He was now transferred to Benin Command. I went there and made a statement.
The police said I should bring money for logistics and mobilization, I did all, but nothing was done until I wrote to Abuja and a reply came that the police in Benin should get the people involved arrested. But nothing still was done. I wrote to the AIG Zone 5, nothing was done. I met the Edo Commissioner of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, nothing was done. The case went on until a few months ago when another member of the gang was arrested by the police and they brought him to Benin and the IPO sent for me that I should bring money with which to take the suspect to Ubiaja court where they will arraign him.
I came that day, they told me the amount of money to bring, I paid the money. When I got home, at about 8am, I got a phone call that the boy had been released; that while I was with the IPO, a member of the state House of Assembly visited the Commissioner of Police. He got the suspect released. The lawmaker told me in the presence of the Area Commander that the matter was not a police case. I asked him why the police will not do their work after my son was killed. He said he will settle the matter but nothing happened.
Up till now, the suspects are still at Illushi moving freely. The boys who are my loyalists in the ACN have been driven away from Illushi, I am presently in exile at Ubiaja . They are the ones in-charge of revenue and are the custodians of the community now, all efforts I made to get them apprehended yielded no fruit because they have powerful people in the police. Even now they are planning to kill me because they said as long as I am alive I will prosecute them. So my life and that of my family are in danger.
I have petitioned different authorities to no avail. They have destroyed all I have. The farm I had before the incident was yielding about 300kg bags of rice but they burnt it. As we are talking; they are after my life. Since this thing happened, I have not been to my community; most of the elders with me, they scared them away. It is like a coup executed by the youths. All the elders have fled the community. I am appealing to Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Director of SSS in Edo State and Inspector General of Police to come to my aid and get the killers of my son arrested so that I can return to my domain”.
When contacted, the Edo State Police Commissioner, Foluso Adebanjo, told Sunday Vanguard: “I will find out who is in-charge of the case because I always treat any petition I receive and my men are aware of that. I have always said that nobody has the right to kill. So, if one has committed murder no matter how highly placed we will deal with the person legally. May be the incident happened before I came but I will find out and take action appropriately”.