The agrarian town of Igarra, Headquarters of Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, is in turmoil over the death of a young man identified as Ajitwewunmeshe Emmah, also known as Lacombe who was said to have been shot and killed by some yet to be identified persons.
The tension generated by the killing of Lacombe prevented many shops in the Ugbogbo area of Igarra from opening for business, just as the local market, the Ofua-momo, which holds in the town, once in four days was also deserted on Tuesday.
Information gathered over the incident indicated that there was a clash between two groups of masquerades at a dance on Monday, during which several people sustained various degrees of injuries inflicted on them with machetes and axes.
Nigerian Tribune further gathered that during the fracas, the Chairman, Police Community Relations Committee, PCRC, Chief Folorunsho Okomayin was injured.
But another account of the incident said that the masquerades’ clash could have been a smokescreen, for the ongoing supremacy clashes among rival cult groups in the state.
A member of the vigilante group in Igarra, who pleaded anonymity, explained that “after the annual Ekuochi Festival, there is always the merriment later in the evening when several masquerades and young come back to town to continue the celebrations. On Monday, there were two masquerades that were permitted to come out, but a third one came and instead of the members carrying sticks, they came out with knives, axes and machetes.
“There was a clash and several persons were injured and some hospitalised but normalcy was restored later that evening. I was shocked when we heard in the early hours of yesterday that the boy was shot dead,” the source added.
The family of the deceased and the community leadership, it was further gathered, lodged a formal complaint at the Igarra Police Station and police were already investigating the matter.
When contacted, the traditional ruler of Igarra, HRH Oba Adeche Saiki, Otaru said that the incident happened during the festival.
“It has some connection with Ekuochi and no doubt. I believe that this issue of cultism also came into play. But this Ekuochi Festival was first banned and it was reopened after they reached some agreement to always be peaceful and this is the third one but I think we have to go back to square one about the banning because it is an abomination for any masquerade to use its cane on an elder in the community,” the Otaru explained.
The traditional added that “immediately the news of the death got to me, I immediately reported to the police and the army. They are already working to ensure there is peace in the land,” he assured.
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