Police detain Itsekiri chief over alleged kidnap, murder in Benin

An Itsekiri chief and Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Atseleghe, has been detained by the police for alleged kidnap and murder.

The detention was confirmed by the Edo State Police Command on Tuesday.

Police Public Relations Officer of the state’s command, DSP Nwabuzor Chidi, confirmed the development to journalists in Warri.

He, however, did not divulge the identity of the victim allegedly murdered by the chief to journalists who called him on phone.

According to him, while the chief remains in their custody, an investigation is ongoing to unravel the allegations.

Tribune Online gathered that what led to the alleged kidnap and killing might not be unconnected to the lingering land feud between the Itsekiri and Bini people in Ologbo community in Edo State.

The feud, it was learnt, has allegedly claimed lives on the sides of both brothers in the border community between Edo and Delta states

An heir of the Itsekiri royal stool in Warri, Prince Yemi Emiko, who confirmed the arrest of the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom to journalists in a telephone chat, however, accused the police of compromise.

“The matter really is that, Yes; the guy is with the Police. He was invited by the AIG in Benin and as a responsible citizen, he went there. They now detained him that he kidnapped and killed somebody.

“If you’ve been following the issues there, you will know that it is not a case of kidnapping and killing.

“Even some of our own people were killed there. About three or four Itsekiris,” he disclosed.

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Prince Emiko, who affirmed the land dispute between the two brothers, described the lingering matter as actually bordering on “oil politics.”

“There are some communities around there like Ajamogha, Ajoki that are oil-producing.

“Of course, Ologbo is in Edo State, but that does not give the Bini people the right over the land because Ologbo is an Itsekiri community. They (Itsekiri) have been there from time immemorial.

“We have lived in mutual respect and understanding with the Bini. We are not in any contention with them.

“But recently, they brought one young boy there as the Enogie. His father used to be Enogie, Prince Akenzua and throughout Prince Akenzua’s tenure, we all lived in peace.

“But they brought this young man who does not know his left from his right. They’re going about trying to rewrite history.

“The issue is that the AIG in Benin has been compromised because he has been going around telling people that the Iyatsere wants to take Bini people land and give it to Itsekiri people. Is that what an umpire should be telling people?

“Our people, led by the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, have gone there himself to meet with the AIG. Let him tell us how the man kidnapped and killed anybody. It’s terrible,” he noted.

Meanwhile, TribuneOnline could not ascertain if the detention of the Itsekiri chief is connected with the killing of one Mr Sunny Etchie, an Itsekiri, by unknown persons over his alleged refusal to backdown in leading his people against marginalisation by oil and gas firms operating in communities between Warri North Local Government Area and Edo State.



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