January 2, 2021, will perhaps become indelible in the minds of the people of
January 2, 2021 will ever remain a ‘red-letter-day’ in the minds of the people of Achara Ihechiowa, in Arochukwu LGA of Abia State, as tragedy struck the community, amid New Year’s celebration.
The day started like any other until the unfortunate incident that led to the death of six men who were said to have been set ablaze and burnt to death over a community leadership dispute.
Newsleverage reports that all efforts to ascertain the ‘crux of the matter’ were met with a sharp rebuff.
This obviously created difficulty in garnerin useful information in that regard.
It was gathered that the people resorted to allow the sleeping dog lie, as they sought to stop the reporter from investigation into the gory matter.
A man identified as Elder Thomas Ogba Itam had reportedly slumped and died on the said day being the day he was to be coronated as the Eze of Achara.
Before his sudden demise that morning, he was said to have woken up, hale and hearty. Also, he had exchanged pleasantries with his would-have-been subjects, before returning home to prepare for the ceremony before death visited him.
Prior to the preparation for his coronation as Eze and his sudden death, this reporter gathered that the position of who became the traditional head of the community had been a subject of bitter contention and confrontation between him and one Eke Ogori — a former Ezeogo of Achara (who was said to be the rightful person in line that ought to be crowned the king) and their supporters.
According to a source, for the late Ogba’s supporters, Ogori must not be crowned king because, to them, he was not lettered; hence they queued behind the late Ogba whom they deemed educated to become king.
But their hope was dashed by the sudden death of their preferred choice, hence for them, it couldn’t have been a natural death.
The angered supporters of the deceased allegedly decided to consult a juju priest who was said to have implicated six men of the community in the death of the late Elder Thomas Ogba through his divination. This allegedly prompted the angry supporters, many of whom were youths to immediately descend on his rival, Ogori, (who was said to have consulted his ancestors to bear witness to the injustice that was meted out on him), and a few elders who supported, and were clearly against the coronation of Ogba, dragged them out of their homes, tied their hands backwards and set them ablaze alive.
Their crime, according to a source who did not want to be mentioned, was opposing the emergence of Ogba whom they had argued was not the next in line to take the kingship of the people.
However, a report from the locals had earlier indicated that before the coronation, the deceased Ogba had fallen and fainted at the people’s shrine called Ihu-Ozo, where he had been taken to get himself acquainted with how to consult the gods and do other incantations. He reportedly was reciting what he was being taught when he fainted and was taken back to the village where he regained consciousness.
Following the failed coronation and the mysterious death of their preferred candidate, the youths rounded off the opposing men, including Ogori in the early hours of 3rd January 2021, drenched them in fuel and set them on fire by 5:30 pm following an instigation by an unidentified man, who was allegedly part of the plot and had asked the already charged youths what they were waiting for.
Their actions according to sources led to the death of the following men:
1 Ezeogo Eke Ogori- formal Ezeogo of Achara Ihechiowa
2 Agwu Okeju Nnanna
3 Itam Emega Kalu ( Emega )
4 James Kalu Obasi
5 Kalu Obasi Okoko
6 Sam Okariwe Kalu
As a result of the fuss between AIPU and Achara ihechiowa
When Newsleverage pressed further, it was disclosed that Ihechiowa Forum has not decided on the disastrous act which was allegedly led by Engr Kaly Ugui, Kalu Diogu (rtd principal) assumed Traditional prime minister who gave the order for them to be burnt alive.
On our visit to the area saw people deserting the community for fear of the unknown.