By ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—ABIA State Police Command has said no fewer than 20 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of the traditional ruler of Ugwuleru autonomous community in Umunneochi Local Government of Abia as it intensified investigation into the heinous crime.
The traditional ruler, Eze Iroha Nwankwo, 65, was allegedly beaten to death last Monday in his palace by some unidentified youths in the community who invaded his palace.
However, the family through Prince Samuel Iroha, has accused the Transition Committee Chairman of Umunneochi Council Area, Prince Dan Okoli of a inciting the youths to kill their father.
But in a swift reaction, the council chairman, Dan Okoli, denied any involvement in the death of the traditional ruler, saying he had no reason to wish him death let alone incite the youths to kill him.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Criminal Investigation Department, Mr. Joseph Micloth said the 20 suspects had been arrested while investigation continued.
Though he did not give details of those arrested, he vowed that the police would get to the root of the matter and culprits made to face the law.
Meanwhile, Nwankwo family, through Prince Iroha has fingered the council chairman of being behind the killing of their father.
According to Samuel Iroha, the council chairman addressed the youths and after addressing them, the youths invaded the palace and killed the traditional ruler.
Iroha said: “I want the police to arrest Dan Okoli to tell them who killed my father. He incited the youths to kill him, so I want the police to ensure that he faces the law.”
He alleged that his father was killed on Monday night by scores of irate youths, who accused him of giving police information on criminal activities in his domain.
Prince Iroha alleged that the youths were addressed by both the transition council chairman, Prince Dan Okoli and the councillor representing Leru ward, Livinus Okoronkwo on the fateful day and an hour later the palace was attacked.
According to him, “they incited the youths by telling them something” hence the police should find out what the youths were told the two politicians. But Iroha could not say what problem the family has with the chairman to warrant killing their father.
However, denying the allegation, the chairman said “It is not true. I did not incite anybody against anybody. Rather the youths were on rampage because of the arrest by the police of some boys said to be innocent.”
According to him, when the information got to him where he was at a function by the Councilor representing the community, I asked the DPO to release the boys to the councilor if could properly identify them.