…How Akunyili, husband of late ex-NAFDAC boss, 8 others were killed in Onitsha suburb
…Igbo nation under siege with too many killings, Ohanaeze laments
…It’s in our hands to make this region better again— Umahi
…We’ll ensure public safety—Police
…Fish out killers, S-East govs charge security agencies
…Buhari mourns Dr. Chike Akunyili, says killers must face judgment of man
…Igbo group decries insecurity in S’East
…It’s political assassination —IPOB
By Anayo Okoli, Regional Editor, South-East, Vincent Ujumadu, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Peter Okutu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Chinonso Alozie
Outrage yesterday trailed the killing of Dr. Chike Akunyil, husband of the late Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Dora Akunyili, by gunmen at Nkpor, Anambra State, on Tuesday, as apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said Igbo Nation was now under siege.
Also reacting to the gruesome murder of Akunyili, the South East Governors Forum condemned the killing and charged security agencies to make concerted efforts and fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed deep sadness over the killing, saying the perpetrators must face the judgment of man.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, immediately dissociated itself from the killing, explaining that the killing of Chike Akunyili was an offshoot of the ongoing political assassinations in Anambra State.
How Akunyili, eight others were slaughtered in Onitsha suburb by gunmen
It was gathered that unknown gunmen had opened fire in the usually busy area at a time Akunyili was returning home to Enugu after receiving a post-humous award by the University of Nigeria Alumni Association on behalf of his late wife at the All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha.
Akunyili, in company of his driver and police orderly, left immediately after receiving his wife’s award and was seen off by his son, Obum who also attended the ceremony.
They took the old Onitsha-Enugu Road and ran into the gunmen who shot them dead at Nkpor, a suburb of Onitsha.
Those in the vicinity said the gunmen were probably attracted to his vehicle by the policeman sitting in front of the car and then opened fire on the occupants.
According to eye-witnesses, it was possible the gunmen did not know the identity of Dr Akunyili at the time he was shot. They also said the gunmen killed three more persons, cut off the heads of three others before speeding off in a waiting vehicle.
We’ll ensure public safety, says Anambra CP
Reacting to the killing yesterday, Anambra State Police Commissioner, Tony Olofu, assured the people of the state of the commitment of the command to ensure public safety.
In a press statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, Olofu, who visited the scene of the incident for on-the-spot-assessment, called for collaborations between the people and the police to fish out bad elements in the state.
While not specifically speaking on the killing of Dr Akunyili, Ikenga’s statement read: “The Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, CP Tony Olofu has today 29th September, 2021, observed with grave concern, the series of security breaches that have taken place in the state and has therefore ordered tactical commanders of the command to immediately put an end to the madness.
“He gave this order when he led senior police officers from the command on- the-spot assessment to the crime scenes.
“The CP while regretting the unfortunate loss of lives and valuables due to those senseless acts, has sued for calm, as the Command collaborates with other security agencies in the state to decisively deal with the perpetrators, who seem to have lost every iota of human conscience and sensibility in them.
“He implores members of the public, particularly residents of the state to continue to partner with the police with a view of containing these atrocious acts and that the Command is more than ever determined to flush out these undesirable elements and make the entire State safer for law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses.”
Former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who hails from the same Agulu community as Akunyili, visited the Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi, where the corpses of the slain nine persons, including Akunyili, were deposited by the police.
Obi explained that the body of the late Akunyili would be taken to the Borromew Hospital, Onitsha where Akunyili served as chairman of its Board of Directors until his death for proper preservation.
Addressing reporters at the palace of the traditional ruler of Agulu, Igwe Innocent Obodoeke, Obi described Akunyili as a nice person.
He said: “Chike had always lived his life well. Nobody can explain how our society had degenerated to this level.
“I was with his son at the mortuary for identification of the body and I have spoken with his first son, also a medical doctor, who is abroad. We also visited the police station at Ogidi where his corpse and those of eight others killed on that spot were taken.
“He was a gentleman. He can’t do wrong to anybody. He just lived his life. He was always happy with himself. I am shocked that this happened to him.
“What is happening in the country now requires the collective attention of all stakeholders, including those in government, the traditional institution and presidents-general of the various communities. This is something that, if not controlled, can consume everybody.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Agulu, Igwe Innocent Obodoeke described the death of Akunyili as unfortunate.
The monarch said: “It is unfortunate for us to allow our people to be slain like this. What this means is that this type of death can come to any of us anytime. To say the least, this is not good.
“It was not long Prof. Dora Akunyili died and now the husband has joined her under this terrible circumstance. It is too early for their children to become orphans.
“It was in the morning that the chairman of Agulu Caretaker Committee called me and narrated what happened to Dr. Chike Akunyili. It was terrible that such a nice man should die in this manner.
“Chike was a lovely, humane person. He had no issues with anybody. I lack worlds to describe this kind of situation, but I blame the government for not providing security for our people any longer. He was not supposed to die in this manner”.
Too many killings, Igboland under siege – Ohanaeze
Reacting to the killing at the prayer meeting to mark World Igbo Day, President-General of the group, Prof George Obiozor, who was represented at the prayer meeting by Amb. Okey Emuchay, Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, lamented the gruesome murder of Dr. Chike Akunyili.
“We need to take a pause on the happenings in Igbo Nation. We need to seek the face of God. We need to remember our brothers and sisters that have been killed over the years. But more importantly, we need to think about today. The Igbo Nation is under siege. There are too many killings.
“As I sat there waiting for this event to start, a video was sent to me about the senseless killings in Anambra State involving the husband of former NAFDAC DG, Prof. Dora Akunyili. He was brutally murdered yesterday. If you see the video and see how brutally Dr Akunyili was killed, you won’t be able to do anything today.
“The senseless killings in the last couple of days in Anambra State calls for retrospection and deep reflections. We are under siege.
“All South-East states are under siege. We plead with the men of God gathered here, the mothers in this hall, the fathers in this hall and everybody, something needs to be done. Something urgent needs to be done.
“I advise IPOB and their other groups to think and to think so deeply because if you kill anybody today, who would be there tomorrow? This is the message from the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor. “
Fish out perpetrators, S’East Governors Forum charges security agencies
Also reacting, the South East Governors Forum charged security agencies to immediately fish out killers of Dr. Akunyili to face prosecution.
Chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, in a statement signed Mr. Francis Nwaze, his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, “commiserated with the people of Agulu, Anambra State Government, and Ndigbo on the unfortunate event of the murder of Dr. Akunyili.
The statement read: “The Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engineer David Nweze Umahi, has condemned the gruesome murder of Dr. Chike Akunyili, the husband to late Professor Dora Akunyili, former Director-General of NAFDAC by unknown gunmen.
“The governor, while expressing concern over how Ndigbo is now losing most of its finest to hoodlums in the zone, commiserated with the people of Agulu, Anambra State government, and Ndigbo on the unfortunate event of the murder of the elder statesman.
“He appealed to security agencies to rise to the occasion and arrest all perpetrators of the dastardly act to enable them to face justice.
“We have received the shocking story of the gruesome murder of one of our brightest and husband to our late former Director-General of NAFDAC, late Professor Dora Akunyili by unknown gunmen. On behalf of the Governors of the South East, we condemn the act. It is not only barbaric, but it is also unbecoming how much human lives no longer matter in our Society.
“We give security agencies a marching order to uncover and arrest all the perpetrators of this inhuman act and make them face justice.
“He also charged the people of the Zone to collaborate with the relevant security apparatus including the Ebubeagu regional Security outfit to stamp out insecurity in the South East Zone. He prayed God to grant the departed rest in his bosom.”
It’s in our hands to make this region better again — Umahi
Governor Umahi had at a different forum, called for more prayers for the South East geopolitical zone and the country at large.
Umahi, who spoke through the Secretary to State Government, SSG, Dr. Kenneth Ugbeala, said: “There were people who fought and suffered so much for us to be free as a people; yet there is still fighting amongst us.
“This simply tells us something: that Igbo are the ones killing themselves. Do we really love ourselves? We don’t. If we love ourselves, what we are experiencing today in Igbo land won’t be happening. If a hen runs into the house, it has gone and is safe.
“What is the essence of bringing it out again to be slaughtered by enemies? We need love among us.
“We have told ourselves the truth about the situation in our land. However, we have a job to do. There is a job for the CAN; there is job for the Ohanaeze; and there is also job for everyone of us to ensure that peace and orderliness is restored in Igboland.
“We are our own problems. It’s in our hands to make this region better again. God brought us here to make it a better place for all of us.
“What are we gaining as a people, that we sit-at-home every Monday? Our children were denied the opportunity to write a national examination, which children in other regions of this country wrote, because of sit-at-home. We, Igbos, are undoing ourselves. We are the cause of what we suffer today.”
Buhari mourns Dr. Chike Akunyili
Also reacting yesterday, President Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, said he shared the pain of the offspring of Prof and Dr Akunyili, their families and friends “whose lives will never remain the same after the inhuman and reprehensible act that happened in Onitsha, Anambra State.”
The President said he had fond memories of working with the late Dora Akunyili at the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, adding that “Nigerians will never forget the memory of the amazon, who distinguished herself as a courageous, dependable and patriotic citizen.”
Enjoining security agencies and leaders of thought to work harder to bring an end to the violence being unleashed on innocent Nigerians, “the President assures the grieving families who lost their loved ones in the incident that the perpetrators of the heinous act will face both the judgment of man and that of God.”
Also yesterday, the Senate observed a minute silence to mourn the death of Dr. Chike Akunyili.
The upper chamber mourned the deceased, following a point of order raised by Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central).
Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules – Personal Explanation, Ekwunife noted with concern that on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, Dr. Chike Akunyili was gunned down in a most gruesome and very horrifying manner at Afor Nkpor, Anambra State.
According to the lawmaker, the late Dr. Chike Akunyili until his death, was the Medical Director of St. Leo Hospital, Enugu.
She noted that he also was an established academician, medical director and one who had contributed to the development of healthcare in Nigeria.
Narrating the circumstance which led to his death, Ekwunife said: “Dr. Akunyili went to Onitsha to present a paper and receive an award at the memorial lecture put together by civil society organisation in honor of his late wife, Prof. Dora Akunyili, and was gruesomely attacked at Nkpor on his way home.
“The Senate is aware that lots of gruesome attacks and killings had been going on around the entire South East zone, especially Anambra, Enugu and Imo states.”
Consequently, the lawmaker urged the Inspector-General of Police and other law enforcement agencies to step up action towards unraveling perpetrators of the gruesome killings in Anambra State and other South-East states under the name of unknown gunmen.
Ekwunife also urged governors of the South East to live up to their responsibilities of ensuring safety of life and properties of the citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Igbo group decries insecurity situation in S’East
In its reaction, an Igbo group, The Igbo Conscience, TIC, decried what it described as “worrisome security situation” in the South-East, and South West, and called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the region.
The group stated it had become expedient by the FG to arrest what it described as “dangerous state of anarchy.”
TIC, led by Mr. Joe Igbokwe, Special Adviser on Drainages to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, made the call, yesterday, as part of its four-point demand at a press conference in Ikeja, in reaction to the gruesome murder of Dr. Chike Akunyili, expressing shock over the incident.
Igbokwe led other kinsmen, including Comrade Declan Ihekaire, Peter Clever Okpara, among others, at the briefing.
The group noted that the assassination of the medical doctor by unknown gunmen was just a tip of what was happening currently in the five states in the region, saying such had been a recurring picture since the outlawed Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, launched an armed warfare against the South-East.
“The South-East as of today, is under a murderous and destructive siege launched by our people in the name of actualising Biafra, with thousands having been killed, busine-sses and human activities seriously affected,” Igbokwe stated. The group, there-fore, urged the Federal Government to draft more security forces and agencies to the region to save the people from themselves.
Igbokwe demanded that the Federal Government should identify, arrest, prosecute any person, group, interest or organisation found to actively procure, support and facilitate the state of anarchy in the region.
He added that the government should do all within its powers to tame the conflagration in the South-East in order to save Igbos from what he described as “a self-inflicted ruination.”
“Given these concerns therefore, we demand the following; That the Federal Government consider the option of declaring a state of emergency in the South East or at least some states of the South East to arrest this dangerous state of anarchy,’’ Igbokwe said.
It’s political assassination – IPOB
Dissociating itself from the killings in the South East, including that of Dr. Akunyili, IPOB claimed that the killings were politically-motivated, adding that the masterminds were taking advantage of the current situation in the region to unleash mayhem on their political opponents.
“We have no issues with Chike Akunyili and we didn’t kill him. Those behind this act must stop this and stop using IPOB name. We don’t want anybody to blame IPOB because we must get them. This is pure political assassination going on in Anambra State now and it’s been perfected by DSS security agents who are doing this to paint IPOB black in the face of support and encouragement we are getting from our people.
“We know their plans and gimmick to discourage Biafrans who are encouraging and supporting us but it can’t work for them, in the near future those committing these atrocities in Imo, Anambra States will hear from IPOB and our people should not blame us because we must get them.“
The group also said it did not at any point issued a statement on the forthcoming governorship elections in Anambra State, to the effect, that the election will not hold, adding that those peddling the propaganda were doing so to cast aspersions on IPOB.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the group, Emma Powerful, stated this in a statement yesterday.
The statement read: “We the great family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukkwu Kanu, wish to dissociate ourselves from the senseless killing of innocent citizens in Anambra State. We have no hands in the political killings going on in Biafra land. We have severally raised the alarm that some cruel politicians are hiding under the cloak of the situation in Biafra land to eliminate their political enemies and blame it on IPOB.
“We don’t know why wicked politicians especially in Imo and Anambra States will choose to slaughter their opponents and turn around and point accusing fingers at IPoB or the operatives of Eastern Security Network ESN. Politicians should leave us alone and settle their scores. No IPOB member or ESN operative is involved in such barbarity. We have no interest in the zoo politics. Restoration of Biafra is our mandate!
“We also wish to clarify that IPOB has never issued any official statement that there would be no governorship election in Anambra State.
“Those peddling such rumour are not our members, and should be ignored. Our position on Anambra election will be made public at the right time through our normal channels of information dissemination.
‘’Anything to the contrary should be disregarded. Members of the public should stop believing social media fake stories purported to have emanated from IPOB. We are an organized movement and we don’t hide our position on any matter.
“Those killed Dora Akunyili husband killed his wife with poison from Fulani because she exposed the death Yaradua death for Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to take over President of failed Nigeria, they know themselves those conspired to poisoned prof. Dora Akunyili, they’re contesting governorship election in Anambra State today.”
“Had IPoB issued a statement regarding Anambra election, by now traitors like Joe Igbokwe would have been ranting that it was IPOB that killed APGA and APC members killed along Nnobi junction last week.
“It is obvious that those that burnt Anambra Government House and other parts of the state some years back are back to use intimidations and killings to subdue their opponents ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State.”