Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe
By Vincent Ujumadu, AWKA
THE Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has denied a report that a phone call from an unnamed person saved him from boarding the Abuja -Kaduna train that was attacked by gunmen on March 28, 2022.
No fewer than eight persons were killed during the attack, while several people sustained injuries. A number of people were also abducted.
Chief of Staff of Ime Obi Onicha, Chief Osita Anionwu, said Igwe Achebe never made the statement attributed to him that a call allegedly made to him not to board the train saved him.
According to him, for the records, the Palace would like to state categorically that His Majesty never made such a statement to anyone at any time.“Anionwu said that around March 28 when the Abuja – Kaduna train was attacked by armed bandits, the Obi of Onitsha travelled by road to Kaduna and was never at the train station.
The statement reads: “While His Majesty was abroad, the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, sent a letter dated 21 January 2022 inviting him to deliver a lecture on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 to its annual training programme of officers from all security agencies in the country on Internal Security.
“His Majesty, on return to Onitsha on 8th February, accepted the invitation in keeping with his commitment, along with his brother traditional rulers, to the promotion of peace and harmony in the country.
“In discussing the options for His Majesty’s travel to Jaji with his hosts on 14 March, the option of travelling by train from Abuja to Kaduna was considered and set aside in favour of road transport with adequate security escort.
“Thus, His Majesty travelled safely to Jaji on 28 March and returned to Abuja on 30 March with very adequate security escort provided by the AFCSC, and no hitches whatsoever.
“On Thursday, 31 March, His Majesty attended the South-East Leadership press conference in Enugu.
“In his brief goodwill message, he lamented the state of insecurity and violence in the country and drew attention to the train attack in which the Onitsha kingdom lost the young medical doctor, Chinelo Megafu.
“It was in that connection that His Majesty mentioned casually that the option of his travelling by train to Kaduna on that date had long been set aside in favour of road travel by mutual agreement with his hosts.
“No reference was made to any imaginary phone call from anyone. This has been His Majesty’s only public reference to the tragic train attack of 28 March.
“The news media were present at the Enugu meeting and one of them would be the likely source of the false and convoluted story claiming that His Majesty made the said statement on Saturday, 02 April, 2022.
“Indeed, His Majesty has mostly engaged Saturday,2nd April, with the Anambra Peace meeting organized jointly by the new Anambra State Government of Mr. Governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo and the Joint Body of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Archbishops/Bishops of the South East on Peace and Conflict Resolution.
“Other than delivering the keynote press statement of the occasion, His Majesty did not engage the media on any subject whatsoever.
“The entire country is in dire straights on internal security and anyone could be a victim in the situation that we currently face, for instance, the unfortunate victims of the train attack. Thus, it is absolutely callous for anyone to use such a distressful national tragedy to grab fake media attention.”