The Enugu State Police Command has brought Igwe Herbert Ukuta, the traditional ruler of Igga Kingdom in Uzo-Uwani, to court over allegations of murdering four people, including two policemen. This development comes after reports of demands for money by police for his release.

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On Thursday afternoon, Igwe Herbert Ukuta was arraigned at Court 1 of the Enugu North Magisterial Division. He, along with other suspects, has been remanded in prison.

ThePaan News previously revealed that police personnel at the State Criminal Investigation Department allegedly requested N1.5 million from Ukuta’s family for his release. The charges against him and other suspects include terrorism and land-grabbing, connected to the deaths in their community.

Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, had earlier questioned the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Kanayo Uzuegbu, regarding the prolonged detention of the traditional ruler without trial. Igwe Ukuta was invited to the police headquarters on May 4, 2024, following a clash between illegal-duty policemen, land-grabbers, and gunmen at a local farm on May 3, resulting in the deaths of two policemen, a local security agent, and another individual.

In response to the incident, the police and Nigerian Army conducted a raid, reportedly destroying 23 homes, over 30 motorcycles, and 15 vehicles, and allegedly looting valuables worth millions. The traditional ruler was detained after responding to the police invitation, supposedly under orders from the state governor, Mr. Peter Mbah.

Despite the governor’s directive to release Igwe Ukuta, the police reportedly refused, demanding reimbursement for N1.5 million allegedly spent on his upkeep. This refusal has led to his current court appearance.

A security source indicated that the police commissioner aimed to keep Ukuta in prison as retribution for the family’s media involvement in the case. Since the Magistrate Court lacks jurisdiction over murder charges, it is expected to remand the suspects and transfer their case files to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further advice.

A family member expressed relief at the court proceedings, saying, “We should go to court.”