*Kill 3 policemen, 2 others in Anambra
*Kill one, abduct 2 worshippers in Kogi
*Kill one student, injure 5 others in Imo
*Set ablaze INEC office in Enugu
By Boluwaji Obahopo, Omeiza Ajayi, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Chinedu Adonu & Steve Oko
Gunmen went on rampage in different parts of the country weekend, killing, maiming and destroying properties.
They did not only kill three policemen and two others in Onitsha, Anambra State, they set ablaze an office of the Independernt National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Enugu.
They also attacked a church in Kabba, Kogi State, killing one person and kidnapping two worshippers.
In another attack in Imo State, gunmen attacked students of Marist Comprehensive Academy, MCA, Uturu, Abia State , as they travelled back to Abia from Orlu in Imo State, killing one student and inflicting injuries on five others.
In Anambra State, about six gunmen yesterday shot and killed a policeman, a tricycle operator and a passer-by around Ukaegbu /Oraifite Street, Awada in Idemili North LocaI Government Area of Anambra State.
Vanguard gathered that the incident threw residents of Awada into panic as they scampered for safety, while some courageous ones gathered in clusters to discuss the incident.
Eyewitnesses told Vanguard that the gunmen arrived the police check-point in a white Sienna vehicle, took the Policemen unawares, aimed at and killed their victims immediately on arrival, while stray bullets hit and killed a tricycle operator and a young man who was probably going for a Sunday worship in a nearby church.
The incident forced many residents of the area to remain indoors.
At press time yesterday, soldiers and other security personnel had been drafted to the scene. They set up barricades, cordoning off the entire route leading to the scene of the incident.
Residents of the area and motorists found it difficult to gain access to their residences as the road block mounted by soldiers made it difficult for entry and exit to their houses.
Residents who spoke with Vanguard, expressed fears that killing of security agents had been on the increase in the South-East in the last seven months, with no end in sight.
They also expressed disappointment that South-East governors seemed not to be doing much to end or reduce the senseless killings.
Contacted, Anambra State Police Public Relations, PPRO, Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the attack but said he had no details of the incident at press time.
“The information is still sketchy. I will get back to you,” he said.
INEC office in Enugu set ablaze
In the Enugu attack, the arsonists set ablaze the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, office in Awgu Local Government Area.
A source revealed that the arsonists climbed through the perimeter fence to gain access into the building.
The fire which started in the early hours of yesterday, did substantial damage to the INEC office. Quick response of the Fire Service helped moderate the destruction.
The Fire Service Station in Ozalla was said to have responded quickly.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of INEC in Enugu State, Pius Eze, confirmed the incident, saying the commission is yet to know the extent of damage caused by the inferno.
Chief Fire Officer in Enugu State, Okwudili Ohaa, who also confirmed the incident, said a distress call was received by the Enugu State Fire Service at about 1.30 a.m.
“As usual, when we received the distress call, our trucks and men at Ozalla Station quickly moved to the scene. We equally mobilised fire engines and fire fighters from Enugu metropolis. Our prompt intervention saved the entire complex as only one office room was affected in the raging fire before it was extinguished,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer of Enugu command, Daniel Ndukwe, who also confirmed the incident, said the command had commenced investigation to unravel the mystery behind the fire.
“The State CID Enugu has commenced investigation to unravel the mystery behind the fire incident that occurred at INEC Office in Awgu LGA, in the early hours of today (yesterday) September 19, 2021. Further development will be communicated,” he said.
Also confirming the incident yesterday, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye , said in a statement issued in Abuja: “Our Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, reported an attack on the INEC office in Awgu Local Government Area of the State.
“The building was set ablaze this morning (yesterday), September 19, 2021, resulting in extensive damage to mainly the stores section where election materials are kept.
“Fortunately, all movable election materials had been evacuated following recent attacks on our offices in the state. There are no casualties in the incident.
“The identity or motives of attackers are unknown while the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation.
“The Commission appreciates the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, as well the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu Local Government Neighbourhood Watch.
“This unfortunate incident is the first since the last attack on our facilities four months ago in May 2021.”
Gunmen kill one student, injure 5 others in Imo
In Imo State, a student of Marist Comprehensive Academy, MCA, Uturu, Abia State, died of bullet wounds sustained, following an attack on their bus by bandits operating around nearby Ihube town in Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State.
Doctors are currently battling to save the lives of five other students who sustained varying degrees of bullet wounds during the attack, according to the school source.
The students were said to be returning from a final religious competition of some Marist Brothers in Orlu, Imo State, on Saturday evening when they were attacked.
Speaking with our correspondent on phone yesterday, the principal of the school, Rev. Brother Joachim Ezetulugo, described the incident as devastating.
He said the students were on their way back to the school after the trip to Orlu when herdsmen suddenly opened fire on their bus, inflicting bullet wounds on them.
The principal said parents of the wounded students had been contacted.
Meanwhile, a source gave the name of the dead student as Donald Edeh from Lagos Division.
Herdsmen menace had been on the increase around Uturu-Ihube- Okigwe axis as they have virtually taken over the hills and valleys of the area, taking undue advantage of the cashew plantation in the region as cover.
This attack is coming barely one month after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen abducted three lecturers of the nearby Abia State University, Uturu.
The bandits had also about three months ago, abuducted unspecified number of passengers, including students of ABSU while traveling from Uturu to Okigwe.
Kabba church attacked, one killed, 2 worshippers abducted
Meanwhile, gunmen yesterday attacked the ECWA church in Okedayo – Kabba, killed one person and abducted two other worshippers during church service.
The attack is coming barely seven days after the attack on the Federal minimum correctional centre and barely four days after three poultry farmers were abducted in their farm; all in the same community.
The gunmen were said to have attacked the church situated along the Express way of Kabba – Okene road around 8 am.
Among those kidnapped inside the church was the pioneer Provost, College of Education, Technical Kabba, J.O.T Oshadumo.
Eye-witness account said Oshadumo who worships regularly in the church after his retirement, was abducted inside the church during service.
The resident pastor of the church and another female worshiper were also said to have been kidnapped by the gunmen.
A source said a security man who is a staff of College of Education, Technical, Kabba, whose name was simply given as Reuben, was shot dead while making efforts to defend the former provost.
Oshadumo’s wife and a student of the COET were also shot by the gunmen and are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the community.
The pioneer provost who hails from Jege, Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi State, retired from Federal College of Education, Okene, before he served as the pioneer provost, College of Education, Technical, Kabba.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP William Aya, who confirmed the attack, however, said two and not three persons were kidnapped.
Residents of the community said they had for a while asked stakeholders in the community to engage the services of indigenous security guards to help in securing the community but lamented the dearth of mobilization.
A resident, Mr. Yomi Obalore, had said that neighboring communities in Okunland had taken to this precautionary measure to forestall insecurity of lives and property, reiterating the need to do same in the entire Kabba land.