By Vincent Ujumadu, Olayinka Ajayi & Chinonso Alozie
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, yesterday, said he would be shocked if Wednesday’s attack during a townhall meeting was politically motivated and targetted at him because no office is worth the life of even a chicken.
He spoke on a day the Anambra State Police Command arrested five suspects and beefed up security around him.
Soludo is a front line aspirant for the November 6, Anambra State governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Soludo in an interview programme on Channels Television, recalled that the gun battle lasted for over 15 minutes during a town hall meeting at Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State in which three police orderlies were killed.
READ ALSO: Suspects arrested over attack on a Soludo
Soludo thanked the Anambra Police Commissioner and his team for the quick response.
I’ll be shocked if attack’s politically motivated— Soludo
The former central banker, who urged immediate freedom for the abducted commissioner, said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the investigation that is ongoing because I understand that some of those apprehended are also providing useful information, so I wouldn’t like to pre-judge the outcome of that investigation.
”But for some that want to promote the attack on me, it is not just the Anambra way. In Anambra, we talk, we go extra miles and we still remain friends. I am friends with virtually everybody contesting for the office. So, I don’t think it is worth the blood of even a chicken let alone that of a human being. So I will be shocked that it was politically motivated and it was aimed at me directly. But part of the thing fuelling this thing is the abduction because the person they abducted has relationship with me and the government of the state.
We pray for the repose of the souls of the three policemen who were senselessly killed.”
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Monday Kuryas, led a crack of police to the area for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, yesterday, as outrage greeted the attack.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; the Peoples Democratic Party, Vice Presidential in the 2019 election, and immediate past governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi; and the National leadership of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, led by Edozie Njoku, were among those who condemned the attack on Soludo and tasked the security agencies on fishing out the criminals.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Police Command said last night that it had arrested five suspects in connection with the attack.
Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, Mr. Ikenga Tochukwu, gave the names of the arrested suspects as Mbah Victor, 30, John Olisakwe, 21, Chigozie Omeh (20) and Emmanuel Nnobi (28). It had earlier arrest one suspect.
“The suspects confessed to have actively taken part in the attack and subsequent abduction of the Commissioner for Public and Utilities, Engr Emeka Ezenwanne, who the command is working assiduously to rescue.
The attack took place at the venue of a stakeholders’ community meeting at Isuofia Civic Centre, which came under attack at about 6. 30 pm by armed men.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, Mr. Ikenga Ntochukwu, in a statement, said the assailants were resisted by security operatives at the event, adding however, that in the ensuing gun duel, three policemen sustained severe injuries and were later confirmed dead in the hospital.
Their corpses have been deposited in the mortuary.
The PPRO said: “Following the incident, the attackers abducted Engr. Emeka Ezenwanne, Commissioner for Public and Utilities in Anambra State. Meanwhile, one person has been arrested in connection with the act.
“The police operatives led by the Command CP, visited the scene and also visited the former CBN governor to reinforce the security in his house and the community entirely.
“The CP, while condemning the act, commiserates with the family and friends of the officers who paid the supreme price, has ordered the immediate launch of a tacit investigation to unravel the mystery behind the incidence, as well as bring perpetrators of the barbaric act to book.”
Ohanaeze condemns attack, calls for decentralised policing
Condemning the attack on Professor Soludo, Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, described the insecurity situation in the South-East as worsening, adding that people in the zone now live in raw fear after no fewer than 23 persons had been killed in the region within the last one week.
Ohanaeze restated the need for a decentralised policing system to enable each geopolitical zone and individual states tackle their security challenges.
Fish out, prosecute Soludo’s attackers — Peter Obi
Also, Mr. Peter Obi urged security agents to fish out those who attacked Professor Soludo, and killed three policemen.
According to Obi, “political violence should have no place in the democratic process in Anambra State.”
He tweeted: “The reported attack on Prof Charles Soludo in which some security agents were killed stands condemned. Political violence should have no place in the democratic process in Anambra State. The Ballot and not the Bullet should determine the outcome of our elections.
“Meantime, security needs to be stepped up, and the culprits fished out and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to copycats.”
Attack on Soludo, strange devt — APGA Nat Chair
On his part, the APGA national chairman, Edozie Njoku, described as the attack on Soludo as a strange development.
Njoku said: “The entire APGA family and Ndigbo in general condemn this strange development in strongest terms. We condole with the families of the police officers that lost their lives in active service. We condole with the IG of police whose men have come under severe attacks of late. We also send our warmest concerns to the family of Soludo and all those that witnessed this dastardly act.‘‘
“I shall be addressing our indefatigably and undaunted party men and women in few days to come. We must not relent in cleansing our party of men and women who trade with the collective will and aspiration of our people.
“We wish to encourage the Nigerian Police to do everything within its powers to commence full investigation so as to unravel those behind this nightmare.
“However, it is pertinent to state unequivocally; that acts of violence of this nature are strange to the ideological foundation of APGA. They are unnatural and a total deviation to the ideals that we propagate as a party and a people. It is alien to APGA.”