Tag Archives: Anambra

APC clears Uba, 11 others for Anambra governorship primaries 

APC clears 12 aspirants for Anambra governorship primary


Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The All Progressives Congress has cleared all the 12 aspirants who paid and picked nomination and expression of interest forms to take part in the party’s governorship primary in Anambra State.

Chairman of the screening panel, who is also the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, said on Saturday in Abuja that all the 12 aspirants were eligible to contest the governorship primary.

The primary holds on August 19 in the state.


Ajayi spoke while presenting his committee’s report, adding that all the aspirants did well and were capable of leading the party in the state.

He said all the aspirants complied with the guidelines and that they all signed an undertaking form assuring that they would all support whoever emerges eventually as the candidate of the party.

The National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, who congratulated the aspirants for being competent to stand for the primary, added that the next phase would be that of appeal panel, should there be any need for such.

He also commended the aspirants, saying, “So far, we have not received any report of violence among all the aspirants.

“We urge you to carry on and we are very hopeful that one of you will eventually emerge as the next governor of Anambra State. ”

Speaking with journalists shortly after he received his clearance certificate, Senator Andy Uba assured members of the party that he would stand with APC, whether he eventually wins the party’s ticket or not; adding that the incumbent governor of the state “must pack his load and go because APC must win Anambra.”

Anambra lawyers denounce Kanu, IPOB,  label them anarchists 

Election: Anambra lawyers declare war against IPOB, call Kanu anarchist

A group of Igbo lawyers under the platform of Anambra State Lawyers in Defence of Democracy has described the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra , Nnamdi Kanu as an anarchist .
It accused Kanu and his IPOB of trying to cause anarchy in the country , calling on security operatives to deal decisively with the organization before it would plunge the country untold conflict.
In a letter addressed to the Anambra State governor , Chief Willie Obiano and signed by its convener , Mr . Johnmary Jideobi, the lawyers said IPOB had introduced violence in the nation ’ s electoral process , with the threat to disrupt the November poll in Anambra state .
In the letter titled , ‘The 2017 Anambra State Governorship Election and the imperative of ending the impunity of anarchists before it is too late’, the lawyers said : “The leader of IPOB , Mazi Nnamdi Kanu , has taken a decision and consequently issued a directive to the effect that elections would no longer hold in Biafraland .
“No doubt , both your humble self and the members of ASLADD are all Biafrans . To this extent , it is therefore correct to state that no one man or group can lay claim to being more Biafran than the others.
“The fulcrum of this urgent letter is to express the way we feel by the strident opposition mounted by the IPOB to the conduct of the 2017 governorship election in Anambra state .
“We have chosen to write you on this , principally because we are involved . We are involved because democracy has come under imminent threat in our beloved state .
“We are involved because the future of every nation ’s democracy lies on the shoulders of lawyers .
“We are involved because lawyers are saddled with the sacred and abiding duties of enlightening the society, upholding the rule of law and defending our constitution , which is the most sacred document that holds our nation in balance and in being .
“We are involved because it is our incontestable right to contribute in defining and protecting the future in which we will live and raise our kids .”
The lawyers said further , “But IPOB did not stop at that. It has now gone physical. In Onitsha , video evidence abounds how IPOB members interrupted state activities where the governor went for a football tournament. On another occasion , the governorship candidate of Progressives Peoples ’ Alliance , PPA , Chief Godwin Ezeemo, was confronted at a rally by members of IPOB .
“Only recently , the IPOB members invaded and desecrated St . Joseph’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, where Governor Obiano was to worship .
“From the account of the state Commissioner of Police , it took greater restraint and discipline on the part of the governor ’s security details to stave off what would have been a harvest of human casualties .
“Still recently , a coalition of militants issued a stern warning to Anambrarians , to stay away from the polls on the 18 th of November , 2017 or pay dearly for daring to defy the order of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu . All these are deliberate acts aimed at striking terror in the minds of ordinary citizens who have made up their minds to go out and discharge their civic duty .
“It is now clear that going further to disrupt electioneering processes like football tournaments, campaign rallies and invading and desecrating the sacred places of worship as witnessed in St . Joseph ’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia, are acts clearly outside the meaning of the word “ boycott ”.
“Those are acts of outlawry. They are forerunners of anarchy. Anarchy is antithetical to democracy . Anarchists are anti- democratic forces that must be opposed, whether in Nigeria or Biafra land . Anambra State has values that distinguish it from the lots .
“It is important to point out that in every democracy , while the minority will always have their say , the majority will have their way . In every democracy , no one man has the monopoly of the knowledge of what is good for a people .
“For seeking to precipitate anarchy in the state of the iconic departed supreme leader of Biafra Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu , they are enemies of Biafraland . They have no respect for the cherished memories of our departed supreme leader who in his matchless wisdom established APGA as a political party in the Nigerian Federation . This is a party which IPOB leader , Nnamdi Kanu once headed its United Kingdom chapter and he has not told us what has changed between then and now .
“We wish to remind Your Excellency that as the Chief Security of Officer of this state , all the instruments and legitimate authority of the state are at your disposal . Your hand should be strengthened by this singular fact .
“May your Administration never go down in history as first democratic government that was put in abeyance owing to the declaration of state of emergency in Anambra State as a result of avoidable security breaches . ”

Source : The Punch

How three of my relations were gruesomely gunned down, victims of Ozubulu church attack recount tales of horror

Ozubulu horror attack: How gunmen killed my three relations

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Awka – SHOCK and grief still pervaded Amakwa village, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, as the residents narrated their experiences, during the attack at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in the area.

Just like Sunday, the vicinity of the church was still besieged by hundreds of people from various parts of the country, especially people from the village whose relations worship at the church regularly. They came to find out the situation in their village.

This came as Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons had been arrested in connection with the attack, just as Governor Willie Obiano dismissed insinuations that it was a terror attack against the church.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, also said it was already linking up with international collaborators and respective countries, with a view to establishing the veracity of the drug activities related with the bloody massacre.

How I lost three relations

Among those who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday, was Joel Obunadike, who lost his uncle, his brother’s wife and a baby. He said they were facing the alter when the gunman shot them from behind and the bullet caught them where they were sitting.

According to him, the deceased sustained injuries and died later at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Obinadike added that his brother, whose wife and child were killed, had not even returned home.

It was gathered that the baby was taken to the theater for operation, yesterday, where she later died.

Joel said: “We were in the middle of the service when I noticed that a black jeep was parked outside. The car later moved from the spot and turned back a few minutes later and parked at the same spot.

“A young man came into the church through the back door of the church and started shooting, while backing the alter. Many people tried to escape through the two doors and to our surprise, the gunman started shooting at them on both doors. It was a terrible thing.

“I did not rush out like others immediately and it was most of the people who tried to escape that were either killed or wounded.”

Our ordeal— Victims

Two other victims, Samuel Ndulue and Chinasa Chukwueloka also gave a graphic description of what happened in the church.

Ndulue, who is heavily bandaged after undergoing an operation on his two legs said: “I was sitting on the third row from the front of the church when the shooting started and I got up to run away only for bullets to hit me on my two legs.

“I became unconscious and it was when I woke up that I discovered that I was in the hospital. I am happy to still be alive.’’

Miss Chukwueloka said it was a miracle that she was still alive, adding that she followed other people to run when the shooting started only to fall in the middle of the church when she was hit by bullets.

Mrs. Christiana Okafor, who hailed from the neighbouring Ihembosi community that worships at the church, said she had to return from Enugu to ascertain the situation, adding that though she did not lose anyone, she was sad that people had to lose their lives in such circumstance.

A nurse in charge of the Emergency Unit of NAUTH said, yesterday, that six of the injured persons admitted on Sunday had been transferred to the hospital’s outpost at Oba, while the remaining 22 were recuperating at Nnewi.

LG chairman reacts

Chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme, said he was compiling details of the casualties and wondered why someone should enter the church to kill innocent people.

According to him, it is possible that God wanted to use the incident to expose some bad people in the community and prayed that it will be the last time such an incident would happen in the local government.

He said of the 12 people confirmed dead, 10 were females, including a baby, while two were males, adding that 10 of the bodies had been deposited at New Haven Mortuary, Ozubulu.

He said: “Doctors who were not even on call, and some who were at church service came to join doctors on duty to save the lives of the victims, as I am talking with you now, the accurate number of people who died are 12, including 9 women, a baby girl, and two men, and they are already at New Heaven Mortuary, Joint Hospital Ozubulu, and the one at NAUTH Nnewi.”

Ofodeme clarified on the alleged involvement of a prominent son of Ozubulu who is alleged to be the target of the attack, saying he could not have been the target because he was not in the country when the incident happened.

“This young man, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, they are calling based on the police report has built more than three churches in Ekwusigo communities. He is currently building a new one in one of the communities. He left this country two days ago.

“If he was the target and he did a business transaction that resulted to this killing, those who are pursuing him would have killed him at the football pitch. He played inter-village match a week ago before he left the country for his base. Some are quoting the governor of the state.

‘’The governor was briefed by the police and whatever he said, he should not be blamed because it was security agents that briefed him, and he must tell the people of the state what he was briefed on.

“The shooting happened in the church. Why didn’t the people go to his house or his father’s house? What business has shooting people in the church got to do with business transaction between alleged drug pushers?

‘’This is purely a terrorist attack and nothing to do with a drug pusher’s disagreement in South Africa with our son.”

The council chairman said the attack may be politically motivated to give the impression that there is no security in the state, just to rubbish Governor Obiano’s stride in addressing security in the state.

“If it were a misunderstanding between Mr Aloysius Ikegwuonwu and his kinsman in South Africa, what has that got to do with innocent worshipers in the church,” he asked.

The state commissioner of police, Mr. Garba Umar, said, yesterday, that some arrests had been made, although he declined to say the number of people so far arrested.

“We don’t want to give figures now so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation,’’ the CP said in an interview.

Other victims react

Similarly, Charles Justice, who brought his wounded friends to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, said the incident happened after the homily at 6 a.m. Mass.

“Those who died are mostly children and the elderly, I know about three children who were below five years that died in the shooting,” said Justice.

He said three of the victims had died at the hospital, a claim corroborated by a medical doctor who did not want to be named.

Nonso Nwakibe thanked God as his mother, Antonia, laid groaning from the pains of the bullet wounds on her arm.

Ogochukwu Maduka, a Lay Reader at the church, who sat in the front row at the time of the attack, said she had arrived for the Mass and found the church in darkness.

“After much effort to get the generator to work failed, they had resort to using candles and rechargeable lamps.

“The holy Mass had proceeded as usual, after the first, second and gospel reading, and then the priest’s homily, as we stood up for the proclamation of faith, there was a sound of gun like thunder from behind.

“There was chaos, panic and confusion. The priest ran away as the gunshots continued and I took cover under the seat.

“When people started running around, the man began shooting upwards. Those mostly affected were those at the back of the church.” Maduka added that she counted about 15 corpses afterward.

Another victim, Nnagolum Oramadike, a primary three pupil, who was shot in the leg, said he “bent down” while the shooting was going on.

His mother, Chioma, who also sustained bullet wounds, said she was worried the news would devastate her husband, who had just travelled abroad to seek greener pastures, but hoped he would find out they were alive.

“The shooting started around 7 a.m. and my father in law was not so lucky. I don’t know how to take care of my children now I’m incapacitated,” said Mrs. Oramadike, 32, whose daughter was hit by a motorcycle amid the chaos.

Ifeoma Onyeka sat beside her 14-year-old daughter who had just been operated upon. Her elder, foster daughter, Anwurika Mboje, did not survive the attack, as she had died right inside the church.

“I survived by hiding under the seat while the children must have ran because of lack of knowledge of what to do in such a circumstance,” she said.

We’ve made arrests, but… — Police

Meanwhile, Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons have been arrested over last Sunday’s killing inside a church at Ozubulu, Anambra State.

Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, who disclosed this, said appreciable progress was being made over the ugly development but referred our reporter to Anambra State police command for more information on the arrests.

However, when contacted, Anambra State police spokeswoman, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Nkiruka Nwode, said: “Yes, we have made some arrests over the killings but we cannot tell you the number of suspects arrested or disclose their identities for now. You know this is a sensitive matter and we have to tread with caution.

‘’All I can tell you is that we are on top of the matter and we will not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.”

In the same vein, Vanguard reliably gathered that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, may direct a special tactical squad from Force Headquarters, Abuja, to wade into investigations over the killings.

The move, according to sources, followed insinuations that the state police command may have reached hasty conclusion by asserting that the massacre was drug related.

Vanguard learned that the police boss has been in constant touch with Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Baba Umar, over the ugly development and has directed that perpetrators of the crime be fished out and dealt with accordingly.

The Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Jonah Achema, told Vanguard that the whole story was still at the level of speculation.

He said: “However, let me assure you that we are following the story of the so-called drug deals outside the shores of Nigeria. We are already linking up with our international collaborators and respective countries to establish the veracity of their drug activities.

“For now, that is the level we are. We are focusing our searchlight everywhere. It is regrettable that this measure of violence is happening in this part of the world.

‘’We assure Nigerians that if it is drug related, we will not spare any effort to see to the end and we will deal decisively with anybody involved, whether high or low. It is also a call to rekindle the drug efforts by all stakeholders in the country.”

It’s gang war, not terror attack, Obiano insists

Also, yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano said the attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu was neither a terror attack nor by members of some groups of agitators in the country.

In a special broadcast in Awka, Obiano said it was a gang war that had spilled over to the state from another African country, assuring that it would be the last time such a thing would happen in the state.

The address read: “With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu on Sunday.

“First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate, going forward.

“This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.

“What happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous Gang War that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!

“I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.

No cause for alarm

“Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra State is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case.

“It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!

“In all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God.

‘’I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!

“All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!

“I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.

“To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.

“I have declared today (Monday) a day of mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday (Sunday). We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today (Monday) and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a condolence register for them at Government House.

“Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage, who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.

Buhari called

“At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident.

‘’I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened.

‘’Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country. Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!”

Meanwhile, more reactions trailed the attack, yesterday, as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the early morning massacre as animalistic, bizarre, reprehensible and shocking.

It’s animalistic, bizarre says NLC

NLC in a statement personally signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja yesterday, said: “What makes this attack more confounding is the fact that Ozubulu is far removed from any known theatre of conflict at the moment and has had little or no history of violent conflict.

“Whatever may have been the situation, this attack represents a descent into the pit of hell. It is animalistic, cowardly and shameful and all necessary steps should immediately be taken by security forces to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, Governor Willie Obiano and the people of Anambra State.

“We urge our security agencies to step up security in and around places of worship. We similarly urge worshippers to take the initiative of securing their premises.”

Kanu chides police for quick conclusion

Reacting to the Ozubulu carnage, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, called for forensic examination of the bullets used by the gun men so as to trace the killers.

Reacting to the barbaric incident, Kanu said he suspected some foul play and cover-up in the haste by the police to attribute the “heinous crime” to alleged feud between two indigenes of the community based outside the country.

The IPOB leader faulted the police for their quick conclusion on the cause of the attack or the identity of the assailants without conducting thorough investigations, saying the police should not have quickly ruled out terrorists from the attack without proper investigations.

According to him, there was nothing to suggest that the attack was not an act of terrorism.

Kanu noted that Ndigbo do not have the culture of carrying out mass killing for whatever reason let alone carrying such attack in a place of worship, insisting that it could be from terrorist act and called for thorough investigation.

“ We are asking for a forensic examination to be conducted to ascertain the type of bullet used in the attack. It makes a mockery of the entire security system that people can work into a town and massacre innocent civilians and walk away. Where are the security agencies?

“ All options should remain open because our people are not known for gang killings. It is alien to us.

“ Such atrocious crime has never ever been committed anywhere in Biafra land before. We are not known for mass executions. It was the same thing that happened at Uzo Uwani in Enugu State, the same scenario.

“ I wonder why the narratives coming out is that it is two brothers who are feuding in far away South Africa. Is that possible? Does that make sense?”, Kanu queried.

He lashed out at the security agencies for the level of insecurity in the country, saying that they only show strength when it comes to combating peaceful agitators.

Obi of Ozubulu condenms killing

Also, yesterday, the traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Obi Fidelix Nnandi Oruche, condemned the attack of his subjects who went to worship at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, describing it as callous, wicked, inhuman and cowardly, saying the perpetrators must not go unpunished.

The visibly worried and angry traditional ruler said government and the security agencies must fish out those behind it for punishment, adding that it was a sacrilege for anybody, no matter the provocation, to go into a church and attack innocent worshippers who went to pray to their God.

On alleged business disagreement involving their sons living in South Africa that may have led to the incident, he said there was no connection between the killings in the church and business transaction. Obi Oruche totally dismissed the claim, adding that those saying so want to destroy the name of Ozubulu.

“How can anybody be talking about business transaction disagreement when people were shot and killed while worshiping in the church, there is no relationship between shooting people in the church and business transaction by anybody, we are not aware of such disagreement.”

Uwazuruike gives BIM leaders 7 days to fish out suspects

Meanwhile the founder of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has given seven days ultimatum to three zonal leaders of BIM in Anambra State- Chief Arinze Igbani, Anambra South; Chief Vincent Ilo, Anambra North and Emmanuel Omenka, Anambra Central, to fish out the perpetrators of Ozubulu killings.

Uwazuritke, who condemned the killings, said it would not be encouraged in any part of Biafra land, and sympathized with the bereaved families.
Source: Vanguard

How three of my relations were gruesomely gunned down, victims of Ozubulu church attack recount tales of horror

Ozubulu horror attack: How gunmen killed my three relations

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Awka – SHOCK and grief still pervaded Amakwa village, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, as the residents narrated their experiences, during the attack at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in the area.

Just like Sunday, the vicinity of the church was still besieged by hundreds of people from various parts of the country, especially people from the village whose relations worship at the church regularly. They came to find out the situation in their village.

This came as Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons had been arrested in connection with the attack, just as Governor Willie Obiano dismissed insinuations that it was a terror attack against the church.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, also said it was already linking up with international collaborators and respective countries, with a view to establishing the veracity of the drug activities related with the bloody massacre.

How I lost three relations

Among those who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday, was Joel Obunadike, who lost his uncle, his brother’s wife and a baby. He said they were facing the alter when the gunman shot them from behind and the bullet caught them where they were sitting.

According to him, the deceased sustained injuries and died later at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Obinadike added that his brother, whose wife and child were killed, had not even returned home.

It was gathered that the baby was taken to the theater for operation, yesterday, where she later died.

Joel said: “We were in the middle of the service when I noticed that a black jeep was parked outside. The car later moved from the spot and turned back a few minutes later and parked at the same spot.

“A young man came into the church through the back door of the church and started shooting, while backing the alter. Many people tried to escape through the two doors and to our surprise, the gunman started shooting at them on both doors. It was a terrible thing.

“I did not rush out like others immediately and it was most of the people who tried to escape that were either killed or wounded.”

Our ordeal— Victims

Two other victims, Samuel Ndulue and Chinasa Chukwueloka also gave a graphic description of what happened in the church.

Ndulue, who is heavily bandaged after undergoing an operation on his two legs said: “I was sitting on the third row from the front of the church when the shooting started and I got up to run away only for bullets to hit me on my two legs.

“I became unconscious and it was when I woke up that I discovered that I was in the hospital. I am happy to still be alive.’’

Miss Chukwueloka said it was a miracle that she was still alive, adding that she followed other people to run when the shooting started only to fall in the middle of the church when she was hit by bullets.

Mrs. Christiana Okafor, who hailed from the neighbouring Ihembosi community that worships at the church, said she had to return from Enugu to ascertain the situation, adding that though she did not lose anyone, she was sad that people had to lose their lives in such circumstance.

A nurse in charge of the Emergency Unit of NAUTH said, yesterday, that six of the injured persons admitted on Sunday had been transferred to the hospital’s outpost at Oba, while the remaining 22 were recuperating at Nnewi.

LG chairman reacts

Chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme, said he was compiling details of the casualties and wondered why someone should enter the church to kill innocent people.

According to him, it is possible that God wanted to use the incident to expose some bad people in the community and prayed that it will be the last time such an incident would happen in the local government.

He said of the 12 people confirmed dead, 10 were females, including a baby, while two were males, adding that 10 of the bodies had been deposited at New Haven Mortuary, Ozubulu.

He said: “Doctors who were not even on call, and some who were at church service came to join doctors on duty to save the lives of the victims, as I am talking with you now, the accurate number of people who died are 12, including 9 women, a baby girl, and two men, and they are already at New Heaven Mortuary, Joint Hospital Ozubulu, and the one at NAUTH Nnewi.”

Ofodeme clarified on the alleged involvement of a prominent son of Ozubulu who is alleged to be the target of the attack, saying he could not have been the target because he was not in the country when the incident happened.

“This young man, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, they are calling based on the police report has built more than three churches in Ekwusigo communities. He is currently building a new one in one of the communities. He left this country two days ago.

“If he was the target and he did a business transaction that resulted to this killing, those who are pursuing him would have killed him at the football pitch. He played inter-village match a week ago before he left the country for his base. Some are quoting the governor of the state.

‘’The governor was briefed by the police and whatever he said, he should not be blamed because it was security agents that briefed him, and he must tell the people of the state what he was briefed on.

“The shooting happened in the church. Why didn’t the people go to his house or his father’s house? What business has shooting people in the church got to do with business transaction between alleged drug pushers?

‘’This is purely a terrorist attack and nothing to do with a drug pusher’s disagreement in South Africa with our son.”

The council chairman said the attack may be politically motivated to give the impression that there is no security in the state, just to rubbish Governor Obiano’s stride in addressing security in the state.

“If it were a misunderstanding between Mr Aloysius Ikegwuonwu and his kinsman in South Africa, what has that got to do with innocent worshipers in the church,” he asked.

The state commissioner of police, Mr. Garba Umar, said, yesterday, that some arrests had been made, although he declined to say the number of people so far arrested.

“We don’t want to give figures now so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation,’’ the CP said in an interview.

Other victims react

Similarly, Charles Justice, who brought his wounded friends to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, said the incident happened after the homily at 6 a.m. Mass.

“Those who died are mostly children and the elderly, I know about three children who were below five years that died in the shooting,” said Justice.

He said three of the victims had died at the hospital, a claim corroborated by a medical doctor who did not want to be named.

Nonso Nwakibe thanked God as his mother, Antonia, laid groaning from the pains of the bullet wounds on her arm.

Ogochukwu Maduka, a Lay Reader at the church, who sat in the front row at the time of the attack, said she had arrived for the Mass and found the church in darkness.

“After much effort to get the generator to work failed, they had resort to using candles and rechargeable lamps.

“The holy Mass had proceeded as usual, after the first, second and gospel reading, and then the priest’s homily, as we stood up for the proclamation of faith, there was a sound of gun like thunder from behind.

“There was chaos, panic and confusion. The priest ran away as the gunshots continued and I took cover under the seat.

“When people started running around, the man began shooting upwards. Those mostly affected were those at the back of the church.” Maduka added that she counted about 15 corpses afterward.

Another victim, Nnagolum Oramadike, a primary three pupil, who was shot in the leg, said he “bent down” while the shooting was going on.

His mother, Chioma, who also sustained bullet wounds, said she was worried the news would devastate her husband, who had just travelled abroad to seek greener pastures, but hoped he would find out they were alive.

“The shooting started around 7 a.m. and my father in law was not so lucky. I don’t know how to take care of my children now I’m incapacitated,” said Mrs. Oramadike, 32, whose daughter was hit by a motorcycle amid the chaos.

Ifeoma Onyeka sat beside her 14-year-old daughter who had just been operated upon. Her elder, foster daughter, Anwurika Mboje, did not survive the attack, as she had died right inside the church.

“I survived by hiding under the seat while the children must have ran because of lack of knowledge of what to do in such a circumstance,” she said.

We’ve made arrests, but… — Police

Meanwhile, Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons have been arrested over last Sunday’s killing inside a church at Ozubulu, Anambra State.

Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, who disclosed this, said appreciable progress was being made over the ugly development but referred our reporter to Anambra State police command for more information on the arrests.

However, when contacted, Anambra State police spokeswoman, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Nkiruka Nwode, said: “Yes, we have made some arrests over the killings but we cannot tell you the number of suspects arrested or disclose their identities for now. You know this is a sensitive matter and we have to tread with caution.

‘’All I can tell you is that we are on top of the matter and we will not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.”

In the same vein, Vanguard reliably gathered that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, may direct a special tactical squad from Force Headquarters, Abuja, to wade into investigations over the killings.

The move, according to sources, followed insinuations that the state police command may have reached hasty conclusion by asserting that the massacre was drug related.

Vanguard learned that the police boss has been in constant touch with Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Baba Umar, over the ugly development and has directed that perpetrators of the crime be fished out and dealt with accordingly.

The Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Jonah Achema, told Vanguard that the whole story was still at the level of speculation.

He said: “However, let me assure you that we are following the story of the so-called drug deals outside the shores of Nigeria. We are already linking up with our international collaborators and respective countries to establish the veracity of their drug activities.

“For now, that is the level we are. We are focusing our searchlight everywhere. It is regrettable that this measure of violence is happening in this part of the world.

‘’We assure Nigerians that if it is drug related, we will not spare any effort to see to the end and we will deal decisively with anybody involved, whether high or low. It is also a call to rekindle the drug efforts by all stakeholders in the country.”

It’s gang war, not terror attack, Obiano insists

Also, yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano said the attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu was neither a terror attack nor by members of some groups of agitators in the country.

In a special broadcast in Awka, Obiano said it was a gang war that had spilled over to the state from another African country, assuring that it would be the last time such a thing would happen in the state.

The address read: “With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu on Sunday.

“First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate, going forward.

“This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.

“What happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous Gang War that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!

“I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.

No cause for alarm

“Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra State is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case.

“It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!

“In all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God.

‘’I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!

“All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!

“I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.

“To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.

“I have declared today (Monday) a day of mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday (Sunday). We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today (Monday) and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a condolence register for them at Government House.

“Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage, who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.

Buhari called

“At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident.

‘’I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened.

‘’Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country. Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!”

Meanwhile, more reactions trailed the attack, yesterday, as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the early morning massacre as animalistic, bizarre, reprehensible and shocking.

It’s animalistic, bizarre says NLC

NLC in a statement personally signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja yesterday, said: “What makes this attack more confounding is the fact that Ozubulu is far removed from any known theatre of conflict at the moment and has had little or no history of violent conflict.

“Whatever may have been the situation, this attack represents a descent into the pit of hell. It is animalistic, cowardly and shameful and all necessary steps should immediately be taken by security forces to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, Governor Willie Obiano and the people of Anambra State.

“We urge our security agencies to step up security in and around places of worship. We similarly urge worshippers to take the initiative of securing their premises.”

Kanu chides police for quick conclusion

Reacting to the Ozubulu carnage, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, called for forensic examination of the bullets used by the gun men so as to trace the killers.

Reacting to the barbaric incident, Kanu said he suspected some foul play and cover-up in the haste by the police to attribute the “heinous crime” to alleged feud between two indigenes of the community based outside the country.

The IPOB leader faulted the police for their quick conclusion on the cause of the attack or the identity of the assailants without conducting thorough investigations, saying the police should not have quickly ruled out terrorists from the attack without proper investigations.

According to him, there was nothing to suggest that the attack was not an act of terrorism.

Kanu noted that Ndigbo do not have the culture of carrying out mass killing for whatever reason let alone carrying such attack in a place of worship, insisting that it could be from terrorist act and called for thorough investigation.

“ We are asking for a forensic examination to be conducted to ascertain the type of bullet used in the attack. It makes a mockery of the entire security system that people can work into a town and massacre innocent civilians and walk away. Where are the security agencies?

“ All options should remain open because our people are not known for gang killings. It is alien to us.

“ Such atrocious crime has never ever been committed anywhere in Biafra land before. We are not known for mass executions. It was the same thing that happened at Uzo Uwani in Enugu State, the same scenario.

“ I wonder why the narratives coming out is that it is two brothers who are feuding in far away South Africa. Is that possible? Does that make sense?”, Kanu queried.

He lashed out at the security agencies for the level of insecurity in the country, saying that they only show strength when it comes to combating peaceful agitators.

Obi of Ozubulu condenms killing

Also, yesterday, the traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Obi Fidelix Nnandi Oruche, condemned the attack of his subjects who went to worship at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, describing it as callous, wicked, inhuman and cowardly, saying the perpetrators must not go unpunished.

The visibly worried and angry traditional ruler said government and the security agencies must fish out those behind it for punishment, adding that it was a sacrilege for anybody, no matter the provocation, to go into a church and attack innocent worshippers who went to pray to their God.

On alleged business disagreement involving their sons living in South Africa that may have led to the incident, he said there was no connection between the killings in the church and business transaction. Obi Oruche totally dismissed the claim, adding that those saying so want to destroy the name of Ozubulu.

“How can anybody be talking about business transaction disagreement when people were shot and killed while worshiping in the church, there is no relationship between shooting people in the church and business transaction by anybody, we are not aware of such disagreement.”

Uwazuruike gives BIM leaders 7 days to fish out suspects

Meanwhile the founder of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has given seven days ultimatum to three zonal leaders of BIM in Anambra State- Chief Arinze Igbani, Anambra South; Chief Vincent Ilo, Anambra North and Emmanuel Omenka, Anambra Central, to fish out the perpetrators of Ozubulu killings.

Uwazuritke, who condemned the killings, said it would not be encouraged in any part of Biafra land, and sympathized with the bereaved families.
Source: Vanguard

​Floods sweep off two siblings in Anambra

Floods sweep off two siblings in Anambra
Tony Okafor, Awka

Two children of the same parents aged 12 and six years old have been confirmed dead following heavy floods that swept them away in Okpoko , New Haven Layout in Ogbaru , Anambra State .

The rainfall which started on Friday night lasted till the early morning of Saturday, leading to heavy floods in the area .

The floods left several properties damaged in parts of Onitsha, Owelle Aja and Oduke in Obosi and Okpoko areas .

Church buildings, walls , vehicles and houses were also damaged as a result.

In Okpoko area, streets affected included Achina , Ojibe , Onyekwelu and Emenike.

Consoling Mr . and Mrs. John Obasi , parents of the deceased children , a chieftain of the Progressive People’ s Alliance , Mr . Godwin Ezeemo , decried the lack of proper town planning and drainage system , which he said was responsible for regular flooding of the area .

He said floods had caused untold havoc in several parts of the state.

He called on both the state and federal governments to come to the aid of the displaced and affected families.

President – General of Okpoko community, Linus Ezenwamma , blamed the flooding on indiscriminate dumping of refuse, leading to blockage of drainage outlets .
Source: The Punch

Anambra governorship: Soludo dissociates self from APC

Anambra gov’ship: I’m not interested in APC ticket – Soludo


By Emma Elekwa, Awka


The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo
The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has disassociated himself from this year’s Anambra gubernatorial election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said he was not a member of the APC and could not be contesting for its party nomination.

The ex-CBN governor and 13 others were yesterday reported by some national dailies to have indicated interest to contest the election on the APC ticket.

The state chairman of the party, Mr. Emeka Ibe, was quoted to have disclosed to some reporters that Prof. Soludo was among the contenders for the party’s nomination for the Anambra governorship election.

But Soludo, who expressed surprise at the report, said he had received several calls, texts and emails seeking clarification on the matter since appearance of the said publications.

“I also sought and obtained the phone number of the said state chairman and spoke to him in order to ascertain the veracity of the story,” he said.

He, however, said the state chairman said he was misreported by the journalists.

“I wish to clarify that I am not a member of the APC and could therefore not be contesting for its party nomination,” Soludo said.