With barely five days to the coronation of a new Olu of Warri Kingdom, the Nigerian Police Force has begun a manhunt for two princes of the embattled kingdom suspected to be complicit in the disappearance of the over 400 years old royal crown from the palace. The Zone 5 Headquarters of the Nigeria Police, Benin, on Monday declared wanted, two sons of the immediate past Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko, namely Onyowoli and Omatsuli Emiko, for allegedly breaking into the private apartment of the late Olu and carted away the crown.
The duo were declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force Interpol Section of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID, Zone 5 Headquarters, Benin City with warrants of arrest issued against them by a Federal High Court in Benin City, Edo state. The Police bulletins detailing them as wanted persons were issued on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali.
According to the bulletin, Prince Oyowoli Emiko is wanted “for the offence of breaking into the secret apartment of the HRM Olu of Warri and stealing the Royal Crown”. He is said to be “a student, Itsekiri by tribe, Aged 30 years, 5. 2ft of height”. His younger brother, 27-year-old Omatsuli Emiko, 5.6ft in height and also a student, is wanted for the same offence.
In a related development, the AIG, Zone 5 Headquarters had last Friday quizzed the suspended traditional Prime Minister of Warri Kingdom, Ayiri Emami, over alleged invasion of the palace of the Olu of Warri.
Recall that following the demise of Ogiame Ikenwoli in December 2020, the palace was reportedly invaded and the royal crown and other symbols of the Itsekiri monarchy were declared missing. Ogiame’s passage had created a succession tussle in the kingdom. Even the eventual emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko, son of late Ogiame Atuwatse as the Olu-elect did not douse the tension.
The AIG Zone 5, had in a letter of invitation dated Wednesday April 21, 2021, invited Emami for questioning over the kingship crisis in Warri kingdom especially in respect of the missing crown, a situation that had heightened tension in the kingdom.
The letter, entitled: “Police Invitation Letter. Re: case of burglary, stealing, and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace”, addressed to Emami, also led to the interrogation of another chief, Macgrey Richmond, for over two hours at the AIG zonal headquarters.
Emami, however denied knowing anything about the invasion of the palace.
“I was invited based on the incident in Warri and it happens to be the invasion of the Olu’s palace. I told them I knew nothing about that because I was not in town when that incident happened.
“It is about the laid-down procedure, which is one of the reasons I am here and I have told the police. The police have questioned me on that issue, what led to the invasion; I have answered that and other issues I can’t divulge”.
Denying that he signed an undertaking after his interrogation, Emami explained to journalists that “All they asked was who invaded the palace and that certain things were missing in the palace. They wanted to know the whereabouts of those things and I told them what I knew”.