Pandemonium broke out at Ogbovine Akpugo autonomous community in Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State, on Tuesday, over the killing of the traditional ruler, Igwe Stephen Nwatu.
Nwatu, a retired police officer, died in the early hours of Tuesday, after he was attacked on Monday night by some persons suspected to be his subjects.
Daily Independent gathered that before his death, the traditional ruler was engaged in a running battle with some of his subjects.
The conflict between the traditional ruler and his subjects was said to have started two years ago, but escalated recently when the state government disbursed N5 million each to all the 450 autonomous communities in Enugu State.
Although the cheques for the state government’s ‘One Community, One Project’ scheme were handed over to traditional rulers, Igwe Nwatu was said to have been denied the cheque for his community, following the conflict between him and his subjects.
Nwatu reportedly walked out on the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Festus Uzor and other state government officials in anger.
It was gathered that the state government invited the traditional ruler and his aggrieved subjects to a peace meeting on Monday night, but before the meeting could hold, a fight broke out in the community.
In the ensuing milieu, the traditional ruler was said to have been severely beaten up by his subjects.
He died in a hospital in the early hours of Tuesday as a result of injuries he sustained from the beating.
A member of the community, who confided in our correspondent, confirmed the death of the traditional ruler.
Our source linked the death of Igwe Nwatu to the rift between him and his subjects who accused him of high-handedness.
Our source, who described the incident as a case of regicide (killing of a king), said he gathered that the traditional ruler attempted to block the boundary of the community to stop his subjects from attending the meeting at Government House but was beaten up in the process and he later died in the hospital.
Ebere Amaraizu, Spokesman of Enugu State Police Command, confirmed the death of the monarch in a telephone interview with Daily Independent.
Amaraizu, a Superintendent of Police, said operatives of the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) of the command had commenced an investigation into the incident with a view to finding out the circumstances surrounding the monarch’s death as well as those involved in the dastardly act.