By Mbadiwe Okwor
The oldest man and spiritual head of Ogrute, Enugu Ezike, headquarters of Igbo Eze North Local Government in Enugu State, Onyishi Eze Nwaonu, has been allegedly murdered by his step-son.
Also, his counterpart in Umuopu, Enugu Ezike, Onyishi Odo Nwamamah, was also reported to have died mysteriously same day.
Their deaths have been linked to the struggle for the headship of the Enwe cult group in the old Ogrute community, comprising Ogrute, Umuida, Umuopu, Umuidoko and Umuasannya among others.
According to Ogrute tradition, the position of the headship of Enwe Cult group was usually reserved for the so-called slaves while the position of Onyishi was for freeborns, until recently when it was discovered that it was more lucrative to be the Agu Enwe than the Onyishi. The onyishi title is reserved for the oldest person in the village or community, who is equally regarded as the supreme leader, according to the tradition.
According to sources in the two communities, the Enwe cult is a powerful group while its head, Agu Enwe, is revered.
Vanguard gathered that the late Nwaonu was strangled to death by his step-son who was reportedly promised N5 million to kill him and bring his royal cap to the sponsor.
As at the time Vanguard visited the residence of the late Nwaonuh yesterday, mourners were still trooping in to condole with the family.
Already, three persons have been arrested including the suspected step son by the police in Enugu Ezike in connection with the murder.
A senior police officer at the Igbo Eze North Division in Ogrute confirmed the deaths but referred Vanguard to Enugu for further clarifications.
Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, said he had not been briefed about the matter when he spoke with Vanguard on telephone yesterday, but promised to call back later.
However, members of late Eze Nwaonuh’s kindred confirmed the killing of their patriarch by a member of the household.
They said that one of their late father’s sons and former Chairman of Igboeze North Local Government, Mr Bonaventure Onuh, was the person who could comment on the matter when Vanguard visited the family house of the deceased, adding however, that he was busy running around over the incident.