‘Massacre’: claims emerge of killings at funeral of Nigerian traditional ruler

This article is over 4 months old The public relations adviser to the court in Lagos state where a mass shooting is believed to have occurred has described the incident as a massacre. “I…

'Massacre': claims emerge of killings at funeral of Nigerian traditional ruler

This article is over 4 months old

The public relations adviser to the court in Lagos state where a mass shooting is believed to have occurred has described the incident as a massacre.

“I would like to use this opportunity to call on residents of the community to be careful of who they associate with on the streets in future, especially if those people are suspected to be criminals,” Ekene Iheoma said.

Residents have been in mourning since Friday when seven people were killed and four wounded when gunmen shot at a traditional ruler, the Eze Igwe of Onitsha, Obi of Onitsha Obodobike Ezebuiro, as he led members of his community to a funeral service in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra state.

The attack left the Igwe – who is also the Obi of Onitsha – “badly injured” and sent shockwaves through the 1,000-strong community, said one of his advisers, Victor Ugbo.

A judicial panel is to investigate the shooting and witnesses have claimed that 14 people were killed in the attack. Some of those who were there or witnessed the attack told investigators it was a massacre, said Akindehin Awokoya, deputy chairman of Onitsha South Local government in Anambra state.

Eze Idesiro is president-general of traditional rulers in the Igbo speaking areas of the South-east of Nigeria.

Eziuche Ubani, the former mayor of Onitsha, recalled how popular Igbo singer Innocent Idibia aka 2pac Obey, saw the shooting happen while he was with his wife in Lagos.

Ugboga is a Nollywood actor with close ties to the Igbo people and he had been invited to the funeral service.

Ugboga told Guardian Nigeria that he was not allowed to attend the funeral. The same happened to Oboh, who also was not allowed to attend.

“I was told the three of us were not allowed to attend the burial service. The Ngwo (traditional ruler) threatened us,” said the actor, who is one of Nigeria’s most popular actors.

The evidence implicating the Nigerian state in the shooting would be critical, according to a political analyst.

The president of Anambra state, Willie Obiano, met Igbo leaders in Enugu on Saturday and pledged that the state would investigate the attack on the Igwe, Obasi Nkwonta, the commissioner for information and public relations, said.

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“We are looking into the matter to know what led to the unfortunate incident in a bid to prevent another tragedy,” he said.

The Igbo ethnic group, who live in the south-east, are hugely influential in politics and are seen to have substantial connections in the security services in Nigeria, including the country’s army.

Boko Haram militants launched attacks on several towns in the Igbo homeland in 2016. Last month, the military claimed that Boko Haram had been routed and all operations against the insurgents had stopped.

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