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Alleged cultism: Arrest of monarch, 5 chiefs sparks anxiety in Rivers town

*Royal father, chiefs released on bail after 5 weeks in detention
*Villagers angry, tongue-lash police; I won’t speak now— HRH Gideon Nwokocha
* Cultists overrun town, run away residents yet to return

By Davies Iheamnachor

OKPOSI  COMMUNITY -THERE is tension at Okposi community in Egbema Kingdom, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area in Rivers State, following the arrest and detention of the paramount ruler, Ochioha Okposi, HRH, (Eze) Dr. Gideon Nwokocha and five of his chiefs by the police over purported involvement in cult activities.

Eze Dr. Gideon Nwokocha, Ochioha Okposi's house
Eze Dr. Gideon Nwokocha, Ochioha Okposi’s house

Former Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Police Command, Chris Ezike, seized the monarch and his chiefs, more than a month ago, for supposedly aiding and abetting cultists.

Edgy tranquility

Uneasy calm pervaded the community when Niger Delta Voice visited Okposi, weekend, as the villagers were not happy with the treatment meted out to their monarch by the police.  They have, however, been released on bail.

Most shops in the town remained shut and residents, who fled the town at the height of the offensive by cultists, have not returned. However, a source said normalcy was gradually returning.

Icelanders cult holds sway

A villager, who simply identified himself as Chika, , confided in Niger Delta Voice that a cult group suspected to be Icelanders, indeed, invaded the community.

His words: “The cult boys took over the community and started functioning as community leaders when the chiefs were arrested. And the chiefs the police took away are those  protecting and defending the people.”

Community’s anger

Chika,  nevertheless,  hinted: “The community is peeved that our paramount ruler was arrested and detained for five weeks without any just course,” adding, “These days, policemen invade our community at random and arrest people.”

Workers of multinational oil companies and other people also relocated from the community to other parts of the state for fear of kidnappers when the situation degenerated.

‘Okposi people seriously affected’

Contacted, the paramount ruler of the community, HRH, (Eze) Dr. Gideon Nwokocha, who confirmed his release from detention, told Niger Delta Voice on phone that he was not disposed to talk to the press on any issue now because the matter is sub- judice.

The Ochioha Okposi, a senior lecturer at the Ignatius Ajuru University, said he would speak only after the court has delivered its ruling on the case.

He admitted that his arrest affected the community heavily, saying, “The whole thing has affected the community seriously because where there is no peace, there is no development.”

“I do not want to talk about the issue because it is already in court. However, truly speaking, I was arrested and paraded without any cause, I did not do anything,” he said. In the meantime, Eze Dr. Nwokocha has resumed his lecturing job at the institution.

Cultists still hanging about

A community leader, Chief Oye, whom Niger Delta Voice met, going to the farm, said there was relative peace in the community currently. He, however, said the cult boys that were terrorizing the community were still hanging around, but that they have stopped their random shootings.

Oye said many people, including community leaders, bolted away from the community because of the gunfire. The chief insisted that Ochioha had never been a cultist and even the traditional stool, which he occupies, abhors such misconduct.


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