•3 killed, many injured as gunmen attack APC, APGA campaigners in Anambra
•Commodity van set ablaze in Enugu, as businesses resume in S-East
By Vincent Ujumadu, Dennis Agbo, Ugochukwu Alaribe & Nwabueze Okonkwo
Attacks and killings resuscitated in the South East yesterday as gunmen went on rampage on two locations in Anambra State, killing three persons and wounding many at All Progressives Congress, APC meeting and an All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, rally.
A car belonging to a leader of Professor Chukwuma Soludo campaign group was also set ablaze.
While the attack on APC took place during the party’s meeting at Uruagu, Nnewi, the attack on the leader of one of Soludo Support Groups, Dr. Nelson Omenugha took place at Nnobi in Idemili South local government area of the state.
These happened at the time hoodlums allegedly enforcing the suspended Monday sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, set ablaze a bus carrying foodstuffs in Enugu.
In the attack in Anambra, it was gathered that one APC member whose identity could not be immediately ascertained was killed with scores wounded, while the attack on the APGA chieftain took place in his home town, Nnobi where police confirmed three people were killed.
The state publicity secretary of APC, Mr. Okelo Madukaife confirmed the attack.
He said: “The attack led to the cold death of our committed party official and the hospitalisation of many others.
“Our party regrets the invasion of our office and attack of members who were gathered for a meeting in Uruagu Ward 3,Nnewi by persons yet to be identified.
“We regret the loss and regard it as one violence too many in an Anambra State that ought to be the safest state in Nigeria if official claims are anything to go by.
“We speak for the mood in our dear state where similar attacks took place at Afor Nnobi Junction, on the same day killing men of the Vigilante in Alor, Idemili South in transit and call for a total halt.
“Our party commiserates with the family of the deceased who will be identified in the near future and assure that their loss is our loss and Anambra State loss, but that their son shall not die in vain.
“We acknowledge security in Anambra State as an area that requires serious intervention”.
On the attack on Omenugha, who is a staunch campaigner of Prof Soludo for Governor, it was gathered that the attackers set his car ablaze while he escaped to safety.
THE Anambra State police command confirmed that three persons were killed during the attack by gunmen at Nnobi in Idemili South local government area of the state.
A statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga said the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tony Olofu had detailed police crack team led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police for on- the – spot assessment at the scene.
According to the PPRO, the yet to be identified gunmen violently attacked unsuspecting members of the public at Afor Nnobi market.
The PPRO said: “The team is yet to identify and apprehend the hoodlums and bring them to book.
“However, preliminary investigations revealed that the attackers, using a Toyota Sienna vehicle and a shuttle bus, shot and attacked the unsuspecting members on transit along Afor Nnobi Market.
“The victims were rushed to the hospital and later confirmed dead by a medical doctor on duty.
“The victims were later identified as Johnbosco Ojokwu (33), Rapuluchukwu Ugoeze (30) and Chukwuemeka Nwokebagu (31).
“The hoodlums also set ablaze one shuttle bus, one Toyota Sienna and a Toyota hilux.
“The CP described the attack as unfortunate and called on anyone with useful information that would aid the ongoing investigation to please come forward, assuring that the confidentiality of the informant is guaranteed”.
In the Enugu attack, the vehicle was set ablaze at Edem-Nike Junction in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
It was gathered that the vehicle, a Ford brand, was set ablaze by people believed to be enforcing the erstwhile sit-at-home order at Edem junction, Ibeagwa, Nike, in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State around 5:45 am.
The vehicle was reportedly coming from the Ugwogo axis of the Opi/Enugu bypass when it was blocked and set on fire.
Sympathizers were said to have put a call to the State Fire Service prompting a quick response by the Ogui Road Fire Service Station to the scene.
The every Monday sit-at-home in Enugu has continued to defy even the orders of IPOB leaders who have severally but unsuccessfully tried to halt the action.
Enugu partially observed yesterday’s sit-at-home but a shoot-out later that day at the Garki area of of the state forced residents to retreat and continue with the sit-at-home.
The violence that trails non compliance to the order has frightened people into it’s observance with empty streets, markets and shops being witnessed every Monday.
The leadership of IPOB has severally announced an end to the Monday sit-at-home but some hoodlums have insisted it must continue until Nnamdi Kanu is released.
Death of APC member in Anambra politically motivated —Sen Uba
Also reacting to the killings, the Senator Andy Uba Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation, SAUGCO, has alleged that the death of a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, during the party’s rally in Nnewi, was politically motivated.
The deceased, Mr. Somadina Oforma was shot dead inside the APC office at Uruagu Ward 3, Nnewi North local government area of the state, while holding a meeting with other party faithful, many of whom sustained various degrees of injury.
Governorship candidate of APC for the November 6 election in Anambra State, Senator Andy Uba, who condemned the killing however, promised to immortalize the deceased and also reach out to the injured with a view to assisting in offsetting their medical bills.
A statement by a member of SAUGCO, Afam Ogene recalled that on July 31, 2021 at Oba in Idemili South local government area, unknown gunmen operating in similar fashion, accosted and killed Mr. Cosmas Eze, the APC acting assistant secretary for the local government area and dispossessed him of the APC branded Sienna vehicle he was driving.
Ogene said: “The seemingly targeted attack on the APC was to go a notch higher when on Saturday, September 10, 2021 the traditional ruler of Mkpunando in Anambra East LGA, Igwe Alex Edozieuno and his driver, Chukwuemeka, were waylaid and killed.
“It is instructive to note that the late Igwe Edozieuno had, one month before his brutal death, joined the APC, after being deposed by the Obiano administration.
“Whilst not imputing any direct motive to these attacks, we are however constrained to observe that our party, the APC, has borne the brunt of majority of them, leaving us to wonder when political contest in Anambra State degenerated to the point of opposition party members living in fear.
“We, therefore, call on Governor Obiano, as the Chief Security Officer of the state and other law enforcement agencies, including the police, the Department of State Services, DSS, and the civil defence corps, to urgently take steps to halt the growing reign of terror in our state.
“For starters, Governor Obiano must rein in his party men and women who take recourse to a campaign of hate, by selling the false and misleading narrative that the APC is a Fulani party.
“Across various social media platforms of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, the favourite past-time is the unabashed spread of a campaign of calumny against the APC. Yet, our party in the state is made-up of true sons and daughters of Anambra.
“Regardless of this deliberate and misleading narrative, the APC’s resolve to salvage our dear state from the cocoon of isolationism – a fact attested to by the daily stream of new entrants into our fold from diverse platforms”.
Businesses resume in S-East
However, across many cities, business activities were gradually returning to normal on Mondays with inter and intra city transport operating, just as the banks, shops and schools were opened for business.
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, had declared every Monday as sit – at- home following the detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Although the media and publicity secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful had since announced the suspension of the sit – at -home unless Kanu would be brought to court, some members of the group insisted that the weekly sit – at- home must continue.
Following the apparent confusion, many people have been staying at home even without any threat.
Yesterday however, many people went about their normal businesses in the morning while full business picked up later in the day.
Unlike the previous weeks, civil servants were at their duty posts yesterday, while the banks attended to their customers freely.
Filling stations were also attending to peoplewhile the gates if the markets were open.
Mrs. Grace Nnadi, a dealer on stationery expressed joy that things were picking up on Mondays, adding that she was already contemplating salary cut for her workers due to the reduction in the number of days put in every month.
“It was becoming worrisome that one should sit at home every Monday after spending the long weekend,” she said.
In Umuahia, Abia State, banks, markets, shops and other business centres were open in all areas of the city. Motorists were seen conveying passengers to their various destinations.
All the banks along Bank road leading to the Abia Government House threw their gates open to customers. Government offices were open as civil servants trooped to work. Police patrol teams were also observed along the Aba, Umuwaya, Bank and Bende roads.
Some business owners who spoke to Vanguard urged the state government to provide more security to enable people who are still afraid of attack to resume their businesses every Monday.
A shop owner along Aba Road, Uche Oriaku said: “I am happy that businesses have resumed in Umuahia. The city is beaming with activities unlike last Monday when only few people came out. There are still other people who are yet to come; the state government should provide adequate security to encourage such people to come out. Residents were afraid of attack by hoodlums but thank God that we have conquered the fear in Umuahia.”
Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, had asked residents of the state to go about their normal duties, assuring that the Police would provide adequate security.
In Onitsha, Anambra State, it was a different story as the Onitsha Main market, Bridge-head market, Ochanja market, Building Materials Market, as well as Electrical and Electronics Markets remained closed for the day.
Vehicular movements did not take place in any part of Onitsha and its environs except few tricycles which plied in the remote areas, with their operators being at alert.
Commenting on the development, the traditional ruler of Oraukwu community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Emeka Onuora said it is worrisome that the frequent sit-at-home exercise is gradually crippling the business activities in the South East zone.
Also speaking, a legal practitioner in Onitsha, Humphrey Udechukwu advised President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the agitators and see if he could comply with some of their demands, so as to curtail the frequent sit-at-home exercise in the South East zone.
Udechukwu who spoke with newsmen on phone yesterday, likened the on-going misunderstanding between the federal government and IPoB to a situation where a husband and wife are having misunderstanding and their children are bearing the brunt in one way or the other.