Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Security was beefed up in Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri), ancestral home of the Itsekiri, at the weekend as sons and daughters of the ethnic nationality thronged the community for the commencement of the 14 days traditional funeral rites for the immediate past Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli.
The event featured an all-night cultural parade by various groups in their traditional costumes, as they showcased their rich heritage to the delight of the teeming spectators including non-indigenes.
But an unusual presence of heavy military and police officers was noticed in the riverine Ode-Itsekiri community right from the jetty, enroute the main town hall, venue of the event, where participants were thoroughly frisked by operatives before being allowed entry.
Our correspondent observed that the security measures might not be unconnected with last Thursday’s alleged invasion of a High Court of Justice in Warri by a mob amidst proceedings in a suit instituted by one of the parties challenging the ongoing succession bid to fill the vacant stool of the Olu of Warri.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Warri Branch, led by its Chairman, Chief Emmanuel Uti, had expressed concern over that court invasion, calling on the security agencies to immediately set in motion measures to nip the trend in the bud to prevent recurrence.
The NBA also urged the Inspector General of Police to set up a team of investigators to unmask the perpetrators describing the incident as “despicable and a desecration of the hallowed temple of justice”.
Even though security was tightened at the venue of Saturday’s all-night traditional funeral rites for the late Olu of Warri, our correspondent observed that no negative scene was recorded.
It was jubilation galore all through as Ogele Ukpukpe, Ibiogbe and Uku-Umalikun Ola-Aja dancers, from the various Itsekiri communities, displayed their dexterity at the all-night colourful traditional funeral rites which also featured wining and dining by participants and their guests.
The all-night rites was presided over by the Regent of Warri Kingdom, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh and coordinated by the lawmaker representing Warri Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi.
Highlight of the all-night event was the deafening booming of guns to formally signal the commencement of the 14 days traditional funeral rites for the late 20th Olu of Warri, His Majesty Ikenwoli, and which will culminate in the coronation of the Olu-designate, Prince Tsola Emiko, at the same venue, on the 21st of August, 2021.