By Onome Oghenetega
It’s tense in Agbarha-Otor, home community of the famous Ibru family, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State after gunmen attempted stealing the gold casket in which remains of late business mogul, Olorogun Michael Ibru, was buried.
WARRI TODAY authoritatively learnt that the incident occurred at about 2am penultimate Friday when the hoodlums broke into the late Ibru’s tomb to steal the ornamental gold casket, apparently along with the late tycoon’s remains.
The gold casket with which Late Michael Ibru was buried is valued to worth over N50 million.
The tomb is situated behind the Ibru Clinic near the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University (MCIU) in Onah Quarters of Agbarha-Otor Town.
The renowned business tycoon and then patriarch of the Ibru dynasty died on September 6, 2016.
He was buried December 14, 2016, his remains were committed to mother earth at about 1.40pm opposite the family compound in Agharha-Otor.
WARRI TODAY learnt that police, of the Ughelli B’ Division at Agbarha-Otor Town, have arrested three security guards in ongoing investigations over the incident.
The community leadership has further imposed temporary curfew in the community. The restricts human and vehicular movement between 12mid-night and 6am.
The curfew was still in force as at on Thursday (July 8, 2019.) while security has been beefed up around the Ibru quarters, particularly around the tomb.
It was gathered that the hoodlums had allegedly used acid to attempt break the grave open. It was learnt that the crack has been repaired as at on Thursday.
When our reporter visited the community between Wednesday and Thursday, the matter was being discussed among villagers just as it was being discussed at the Agbarha Park in Ughelli with motorists, Keke and Okada riders expressing surprises.
Several sources including students of MCIU, staff of the Ibru Clinic and community leaders confirmed the incident.
One of our sources told WARRI TODAY, “The gunmen broke into the tomb and poured acid on the slab in order to get access into the gold casket. Their mission was possibly to steal both the corpse and the casket or either of them.
“The incident happened around 2am midnight. It was during the forceful entry of the tomb that workers at both the Ibru Clinic and MCF (Michael and Cecilia Ibru Foundation) noticed the strange movement of persons around the tomb yard and raised the alarm.
“Knowing that people are already aware of their movements, the hoodlums fled the premises. On a close search, it was discovered that the gunmen had poured acid around the tomb to crack the tomb to enable them remove the gold casket. ”
Also confirming the development, a community leader who pleaded anonymous said the community and the Ibru family have been desperate to keep the incident from public.
“We have imposed curfew in the community because of the incident. Our leaders felt very embarrassed with the development. Some tricycles (kekes) and motorcycles operators were arrested but were later released.
“The police are investigating the incident but for now, the security guards on duty on that fateful day have been arrested. At the moment, boys are patrolling the streets and around the MCF premises to forestall future occurrence.
“The acid container the hoodlums brought and other equipment they left at the tomb has been recovered by the police who are investigating the matter. That fateful day, the security guards were said to have resumed to their duty post late as those on day duty could not properly handover to them, hence they were arrested ”, our source narrated to WARRI TODAY.
A senior police officer at the Ughelli Area Command also confirmed incident but declined to give details. The police source added that the arrested security guards were helping the police authorities in their ongoing investigation.
When contacted, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, subtly declined comment on the incident after she earlier pleaded for time to investigate the matter.
Two hours after she finally get back to our correspondent, DSP Onovwakpoyeya said, “I am sorry, I really don’t have any information for to that effect. Thank you.”
Also, efforts made to speak with the President-General of Agbarha, Napoleon Ibodje, on the incident also proved abortive. When our correspondent visited the community on Thursday villagers refused to direct our correspondent after sighting a press sticker on his car and affirming he was a journalist.
This reporter also observed tight security around the Ibru ‘estate’ area when he drove through the area via MCIU gate.