By Shola O’Neil, Regional Editor, Port Harcourt
The Zone 5 headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Asaba, Delta State has taken over the search for two historical crowns said to have disappeared from the Olu of Warri Place in Warri, in the heat of the succession crisis in the kingdom.
The Itsekiri nation is said to be in a dilemma over how to crown the Olu of Warri-designate, Omoba Tsola Emiko, without the 410-year-old crowns.
The crowns are a pair comprising diamond and silver for Ogiame (monarch) and his Olori (queen) respectively. They have been used by 14 past Olus since Ogiame Atuwatse (Dom Domingos) in the early 1600s.
The coronation of Emiko as the 21st Olu is scheduled for early July in Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri.
A source close to the Palace said: “We expect the crowns to be back before the coronation. Every Itsekiri son or daughter knows that the coronation (Oyoekoro) of an Olu without the crown is unthinkable.”
He added that the missing crowns were reported first at the Warri Area Commander’s office from where it was moved to Zone 5 headquarters.
Another source told The Nation that one Isaac Dorsu led an Itsekiri team to the command headquarters on Wednesday seeking their involvement in the search for the crowns.
“It is true that the matter is now in the hands of the AIG (Zone 5). That is all I can tell you for now,” he added.
An Itsekiri leader told our reporter that the kingdom’s leaders were willing to go to any length to ensure that the crowns were returned intact to the palace.
He said: “If you know anything about arts and artifacts, you will appreciate how priceless and important those crowns are. The values exceed money; they are items with historical, cultural, and heritage value. That they have been out of the palace for even a day is unthinkable. You know that the crowns got missing over a week ago.