A total of 17 persons have been arrested at Bolowou community in Ese odo local government area of Ondo State for allegedly destroying the mausoleum containing the tomb of the late King of Zion II His Eminence Dr. I.O Jemine who died in 2014.
Perimeter fencing of the multi million naira mausoleum was destroyed and other valuables at the tomb vandalised.
Bolowou is a riverine community in Ondo State dominated by the Ijaws.
Witnesses said some youths and elders carried out the attacks after reports reached them that the new spiritual leader and son of the late leader, Epistle Princewill Jemine, has been arrested and detained by the police.
The witnesses said Princewill and his brother, George, whom their father made a Chief were at loggerhead over the superiority contest.
According to a retired policeman in the community, Doharty Lelegha Foloki, the disagreement between both brothers led to the crisis in the community.
‘’The youths in support of Epistle destroyed the tomb and other valuable things inside the mausoleum. The church leader did not want the chief to remain in the position. Princewill was arrested and that led to the destruction of the tomb. In his words, ‘Only the government can bring peace to this community ’.
A member of the community who claimed anonymity frowned at the level of destruction that took place .
He condemned the attack on community properties and sacred places because of fighting for supremacy and enjoined all youths and elders on either side of the divide to flee from all violent actions as there will be no hiding place for criminal elements who would want to exploit the already tense rivalry between the community leader and the church leader.
Youth leader of the community, Kiriki Doubra, said youths and elders loyal to the new spiritual leader went on rampage when they heard of the arrest of the church leader.
“Those that called themselves his loyalists started destroying the tomb. When the destruction was going on we called on other youths not to join in the fight. This is a matter between two brothers who are fighting over power. Their father gave them opportunity.
We only reported to the police to forestall further breakdown of law and order.”