Security operatives in Enugu State have arrested two of the suspects in connection with the shooting of the traditional ruler of Adani community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of the state, Igwe Patrick Ezugwu.
The State Government has also ordered a manhunt for the remaining suspects, stressing that it would get to the root of the matter, with severe punishment of the culprits and anybody found culpable in the shooting.
The suspects, whose names were withheld by the joint team of security operatives, were said to be among the hoodlums who invaded the traditional ruler’s palace, two days after the traditional ruler inaugurated his cabinet members that would serve in the decision-making process of the palace.
According to some residents who spoke to AP News correspondent, all the efforts to save the traditional ruler’s life ended in futlity as doctors confirmed him already dead when he was brought to the hospital due to severe loss of blood.
A resident who identified himself as Ugwuoke Onyema said the unfortunate incident could be as a result of some aggrieved persons who fiercely contested the traditional stool with the late traditional ruler and felt that the whole process was skewed against their interest.
“They have come back to take their pound of flesh. The process that threw up the traditional ruler was questionable, according to those that contested against him. They have been angry that Igwe Ezugwu was not their choice. I think they were only waiting for a perfect time to revenge.
“We were all outside having some drinks this evening (yesterday) and people were shooting fireworks for the yuletide celebration. We couldn’t distinguish which ones were sounds of gun. It was the noise coming from the palace that attracted our attention. Government should ban fireworks in the country,” he added.
Another eyewitnesses, while recounting what happened, said the shooting of Igwe Ezugwu was likely not unconnected with the tussle over the constitution of his cabinet members as some aggrieved persons who had helped him become Igwe teamed up with those that contested against him during the tussle felt sidelined.
“Some hoodlums just came to the palace this evening and shot at the Igwe inside his living room where he was celebrating. They disguised as guests but were secretly armed. They shot the Igwe and ran away. We thought it was sound of fireworks,” a witness who identified himself as Dabere said.
At Our Lady’s Health of the Sick, Adani, Igwe Ezugwu was confirmed dead, and his body was deposited in the morgue at Nsukka.
It was gathered from locals that there were previous assassination attempts on the late traditional ruler. In one such attempts that caused much disquiet in the community, his vehicle was reportedly attacked and riddled with bullets by suspected assassins barely one week after his coronation ceremony in 2021. Igwe Ezeugwu survived unhurt in circumstances described by locals as mysterious.
When our correspondent contacted the Police Divisional Officer at Adani, he confirmed the incident, saying a combined team of security and neighbourhood watch operatives who gave the hoodlums a hot pursuit were able to overpower two of them while others took different directions.
He said investigation was ongoing, adding that those responsible for the shooting and their sponsors would be brought to book.