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Thugs disrupt court hearing on Olu of Warri dispute, threaten prince, others

Gabriel Omonhinmin

Proceedings in a suit on the Itsekiri kingship tussle were abruptly disrupted when thugs invaded the Warri high court premises yesterday at 10.15 a.m.

The lawyer to the complainant in the case, Chief E.L. Akpofure (SAN), was addressing the court when the leader of the thugs (name withheld) rushed in and started shouting on top of his lungs and dancing.

The judge, lawyers and court officials had to run for cover, thus ending proceedings.

Akpofure and his team of lawyers were trapped inside the court for some hours as they could not come out for fear of being harmed by thugs, who were threatening that if they found Prince Oyowoli or any of his sponsors they would be dead.

Late Wednesday night, a text message was circulated with this content: “The abominable has happened, Oyowoli and his sponsors have taken the Itsekiri to court over the kingship issue.

And they secretly took Thursday morning as court day without the notice of the defendants so that court will secretly grant them motion ex-parte.

Itsekiri is by this calling on all sons and daughters to mobilise fully to Court 4, close to A Division of the Nigerian Police in Warri, wearing black. Time 9 a.m.”

After the court disruption, the crowd marched to see Chief Johnson Ateseleghue, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom.

The Iyatsere and factional leader of the Itsekiri Youth Council, Vincent Esimaje, addressed the crowd.

A chief was quoted as saying “that they should all wait and see the court that will dare entertain this particular matter in Itsekiri land. “Igba-sa-la” shrine will kill all the people supporting Oyowili’s course.

“Three days ago I was in a meeting where Chief Ayiri Emami was reminded about the three demands the Omoba Tsola Emiko made on him, 1-To do a letter of apology to the Itsekiri people, 2-To produce the missing crown and 3-To provide the whereabouts of Princes Oyowoli and Omasholi.

“He stressed further that the lawyer handling Oyowoli’s suit has his own case hanging over his neck which he is yet to resolve. He then asked the protesting youths not relent.”

Esimaje allegedly asked the Iyatsere to notify all the chiefs and sponsors of Oyowoli never to dare come to the burial of his father, Ogiame Ikenwoli and the coronation ceremonies of Omoba Tsola Emiko in Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri people.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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