June 15, 2020

Anambra Community conducts mock burial for embattled Monarch

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Anambra map

By Vincent Ujumadu – Awka

The people of Nsugbe in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State, weekend conducted a mock burial for their traditional ruler, Obi Victor Ntorka, for allegedly committing sacrilege.

In his place, the oldest man in the community, 106-year-old Obi Arinze Obiagwu, was appointed to hold forth before a new traditional ruler was selected.

At the ceremony conducted at Okika Izu Square, where important decisions concerning the town are usually taken, the community urged the Anambra State government to immediately withdraw the certificate of recognition issued to Ntorka because he had lost all the privileges as a traditional ruler.

106-year-old Obi Arinze Obiagwu, the Acting Traditional Ruler of Nsugbe

106-year-old Obi Arinze Obiagwu, the Acting Traditional Ruler of Nsugbe

All titleholders in the community and age-grades, who gathered as early as 7 am in their full regalia, brought a coffin in an ambulance into the arena and performed funeral ceremony usually conducted for a dead person in Igbo land.

After the ceremony at the village square, women and youths danced with the coffin and accompanied it to the border between Nsugbe and another community where it was buried.

Spokesman of the community, Chief Nzedigwe Nweke, said the state government was aware of the action taken by the community, adding that the initial plan was to carry the coffin to the Government House, but it was later decided they conduct the ceremony at the village square.

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Listing offences allegedly committed by the dethroned Monarch, Nweke said: “He installed some people who were excommunicated by the town as chiefs even when the occupiers of those offices are still alive. This is an abomination. By that action, he had symbolically buried those chiefs alive and that was why the community decided to bury him alive too.

“The tradition is that it is only when the office holders are dead that other people are appointed in their places.

“He also messed up our local security system such that people are killed for no justifiable reason, just as he disorganized our community leadership by refusing to recognize our President General who emerged after a free and election.

“Although he has certificate of recognition from the state government, he has not completed the process of coronation, which means that he is just like any other titleholder in the community. Because he could not complete the process, he was asked to step down and when he refused, the community imposed a fine of N200, 000 on anybody that attends a meeting in his house.

“Some elders tried to convince him to apologize to the people so that he could be pardoned, but he insisted that he would not do that.”

Obiagwu, the acting traditional ruler, who spoke with reporters, said it was an abomination for anyone to convene a meeting of Nsugbe outside the home of the oldest man, describing the action of the deposed traditional ruler as an affront to the traditional institution.

Although the embattled Monarch was in the community when the ceremony was taking place, he could not react to the development as his gates were securely locked when reporters went to his palace.

He also did not respond to telephone calls. However, a source close to him told reporters that the action taken by the community was a non-issue as they did not have the right to dethrone a recognized traditional ruler.

Vanguard News Nigeria.