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We will use juju to investigate Wigwe’s death, says Rivers’ community

The Isiokpo community in Rivers State’s Ikwerre local government area has declared its intention to use its age-old tradition of investigating deaths to learn more about the helicopter crash that tragically killed Herbert Wigwe, his wife, and one of their children.

This proclamation was delivered by Isiokpo’s traditional leadership body on Wednesday, February 14, during a parade to commemorate the start of an eight-day mourning period in remembrance of Access Holdings’ late Chief Executive Officer.

A visit to the hamlet on Wednesday revealed that the citizens of this old country had closed their markets, stores, and all other business facilities in honor of Wigwe, whom they regarded as a unique and compassionate guy.

The whole bustling roadways in Isiokpo were desolate, with barely skeletal vehicular movement, primarily by people who had come from outside the village to participate in the parade.

Elderly men and women, children, youths, indigens and non-indigens trooped out en masse to walk the major road in Isiokpo chanting sorrowful songs and lamenting the untimely passage of their benefactor.

Black was the colour of the day as residents, who either partook in the procession or sat outside their houses wore black outfits or any attire with a touch of black.

All processions ended at the palace of the Traditional Ruler of Isiokpo, His Royal Majesty, King Blessing Wagor, who was seated with his council of chiefs to receive the mourners.

Under the canopies mounted at the palace premises were also a seated crowd of mourners, who sang and called on God to intervene and help the community cope with what they described as an incalculable loss.

King Blessing described Wigwe as a special man to the community saying he was championing the development of Isiokpo before his shocking demise.

He said Wigwe fulfilled many promises he made to the community but lamented that the community was expecting the actualisation of many other life-changing promises he made to the people before his untimely death.

“Who will now complete the ongoing electricity project he initiated? Who will give us light?” The monarch lamented.

Speaking on the legacies of Wigwe, the king said: “He is a special man to us. We are crying and mourning him. God knows everything. I won’t ask God why. We hand over everything to God. May God give us the mind to endure it.

“We relied on him. He came to develop Isiokpo. He was a wonderful person to us. He left many legacies in the community. He cited a university here. He made many promises. He promised us plenty of things. We are in tears.

“The light project He promised us is still ongoing. Who will give us light again? He has gone and we are in pain. What happens to our Xmas bonus? He used to supply rice all over Isiokpo. We enjoyed him and his death is painful. He was humble, honest and respectful.”

The king said Wigwe would not be buried anywhere outside Isiokpo adding that the community was waiting for his remains to give him a befitting traditional burial rites.

However, he vowed that the community would resort to its ancient practice to determine the real cause of the death of Wigwe.

He said: “We must traditionally bury him. He cannot be buried outside Isiokpo. He must be buried here. The Isiokpo must find a way to probe his death. We must get to the root of the whole thing. Isiokpo is an ancient city. We must go back to our traditional way and find out what really killed Herbert Wigwe. If his death is natural. We will know. If it is from a human we will know.”

The king said Wigwe’s death had taught others to strive and make a positive impact in their communities noting that if Wigwe had not left such legacies, the entire Isiokpo would not be mourning him.

He said: “This death is an example to all of us. You must make an impact in your community. If Herbert is not a good man, this crowd will not gather here today. We can’t be here crying. Let’s follow Herbert Wigwe’s footsteps.”

On his part, Apostle Ezemoye Peter, the President of Isiokpo Youth Council and the Coordinating Chairman of all the Ikwerre community youth leaders, also said the death of Wigwe should be thoroughly probed to find out its real cause.

He said: “We are not too comfortable with the stories. We, the youths of Isiokpo are using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government, the state and the National Assembly to look into this and follow up investigations to know what actually happened.

“We are not buying into the stories. It is a great loss to us and we can’t just lose a brother and father like that. We want the Interpol and the Nigerian government to find out what actually happened.

“I am not a pilot and I am not an engineer but in my layman’s understanding when the weather is bad, you don’t take off. So the engineering crew and the helicopter company should be investigated. We need a thorough investigation to see what really happened.”

The youth leader lamented the death of Wigwe describing it as shocking and saying that the entire community had been crying since the incident occurred.

He said: “Wigwe was my boss, the news of his death came as a shock. I worked closely with him. We planned with him over the years with the things he brought down to Isiokpo. Education is the key to every society. He had the idea of turning the town into the envy of many people.

“He made many promises to us. We have been crying all these days. We took to the streets today to mark the respect and love we have for him. Today is Valentine’s Day. You can see the crowd, the entire Isiokpo, the King and chiefs including the women are here today in solidarity.

“But one thing is key. What is happening today shows the impact he made in Isiokpo, Ikwerre and Rivers at large. Other communities came here to partake in the procession. The only way we can honour his death is to ensure that his legacies are sustained. That is the best way anyone can mourn him.

“We must protect all and ensure we actualise all his dreams and aspirations. His dreams and his name shouldn’t be allowed to go into extinction. We are mourning him for eight days. But after today, activities will go on in the community on a low key. Wigwe did a lot for the community.”

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