The Police in Ekiti on Tuesday allegedly arrested and detained the Oba Lawrence Bamidele Idowu, Olu-Ifon, Ifon Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti for alleged impersonation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the monarch was allegedly involved in a community crisis which reportedly claimed the life of an 80-year-old High Chief, who was also the Elejoka of Ibalogun, Chief Bello Ojo. The deceased’s daughter, Mrs Bunmi Fajana alleged that her late father was manhandled by some people suspected to be thugs while rescuing his 14-year-old son allegedly abducted by the thugs.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Alberto Adeyemi, confirmed the development to the NAN. He said the old man slumped and died while in company of others going to inspect property destroyed following the confusion that trailed the arrest of the monarch.
According to community sources, the arrest, said to have been carried out in the early hours of Tuesday, was effected by SARS, who reportedly stormed the community and whisked away some people, including the monarch. The source, however, could not ascertain the number of those arrested, saying that those arrested were already being detained at the police station. The source alleged that the police, who came around 4a.m in eight pick up vehicles, marked ‘SARS’, allegedly vandalized some of the property at Idowu’s palace before they could gain entrance to arrest the monarch.
The Police Public Relations Officer said that the monarch was arrested for parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community, when he is not, an action, he said was capable of causing crisis in the community. He also said Idowu would be charged to court for impersonation.
According to the PPRO, the community already had a traditional ruler recognized by the state government, saying that Idowu came from Ogun state to install himself as another king, thereby causing anarchy in the community. Adeyemi added:
The real Olufon was installed and was recognised by the state government. But he (Idowu) came from Ogun state and installed himself as another Oba against the tradition of the community and law of the country.
The police spokesman alleged that several personal efforts by the state Commissioner of Police in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Chafe, to resolving the chieftaincy crisis in the community had not yielded fruits.
He alleged that Idowu had turned down several invitations extended to him by the CP for dialogue:
The chairman of the Traditional Council in Oye Local Government reported him (Idowu) to the CP, the commissioner invited him several times for a meeting to have his own side but he refused to show up. And we will not sit back and allow anybody to cause the breach of the law in any part of the state. We are going to charge him to court and if he is found guilty, that is seven years imprisonment.
In his reaction, Idowu denied the allegation that he installed himself as an Oba of the community. He said contary to insinuation, he was not based in Ogun state as alleged by the police but that the head of the kingmakers in ruling house, Chief Abraham Akanle, who installed him, was based in Lagos.
NAN reports that under Omu Ekiti, it was gathered, Ifon, Ibalogun and Arin Omu are the three quarters that came together to run a confederation system of government in the community. It was learnt that Akanle, who holds the traditional title Obaisa of the community, had, while installing Idowu as the new Olufon, dismissed the previous exercise as an “exercise in futility,” saying he had the sole right to present Olufon to the people and the government. The PPRO said one of the suspected thugs had also been arrested and normalcy had returned to the community.