…unknown gunmen attack Ebonyi Community as Okada Rider escapes death by whiskers
…We want Buhari to grant pardon to Nnamdi Kanu – South East CAN
…I want to see peace in South East before I meet my ancestors – Amechi
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday called on the South East leaders to allow the ongoing court process, bordering on the charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the country.
Buhari stated during a meeting he had with the South East leaders, including the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at the new Government House, Abakaliki.
The President, who has ended his two-day working visit to the State, pointed out that the determination of the court on the matter was necessary.
Buhar further expressed dissatisfaction over the spate of insecurity in the country, noting that anybody, (apart from security operatives) seen carrying AK 47 rifle in any part of the country, should be treated as a criminal.
He listed among others, some of the projects being carried out by his administration in the South East region to include the reconstruction of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the ongoing construction of the second Niger Bridge, the N5.5 billion Diagnostic Centre in Umuahia.
He commended Governor David Umahi for the life-changing projects executed by his (Umahi) administration.
Earlier, the Chairman, South East Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Charles Mkpuma called on the President to grant the plea for the South East region to produce the next President come 2023.
“We plead with you, Mr. President to grant the plea for the South East to produce the next President of the country in 2023.
“We stand by you in all efforts towards the fight against insecurity in South East and the country in general. We however plead with you as a compassionate father to temper justice with mercy in the case of our son, Nnamdi Kanu.
“We have started dialogue to ensure that all those who feel aggrieved are brought to round table discussion. We shall continue to support you and your administration. Do not listen to those advocating for interim government for they are inviting anarchy.
“We urge you to look inwards and build the rest administration around the South Easterner who has outstanding performance.”
Also, Chief Mbazululike Amaechi, the former Minister of Aviation in the first Republic stressed that he wants to see peace in the South East and Nigeria as a whole, before he joins his ancestors.
“I want to see peace in this country before I join my ancestors. I want to see peace in the South East, particularly where there is upsurge of crisis and something that will lead to that peace is around the corner and we are asking you to give me the mandate and I will give you peace. I guarantee you this, Mr. President.
“We say in Igbo land that a mad man is owned by his people. If somebody was mad yesterday, and on guarantee of elders, like me and other elders, I will bring him out and that is to get peace. Help us to get the peace and I will give you peace in this part of this country and also in Nigeria, because I am a Nigerian. I took part in the struggle for the independence of this country.”
Speaking on behalf of the religious leaders, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali called on President Buhari “to grant Nnamdi Kanu freedom. We pray that he be granted pardon as we call on all agitators to cease all forms of hostilities and other demands for a nation, where the plight of the poor, the weak, the oppressed will be addressed.”
“As a body that is of genuine counsel, our country is currently challenged greatly by insecurity and societal conflict here and there with high level of poverty. A great number of our families are living in the fear of the unknown.
“Your Excellency, as a father of our dear nation and South East, we bring to your notice that the sit-at-home has crippled the economy of South East and banditry is engulfing the nation.
“Our society is growing by violence with a lot of youth restiveness. We know that you are doing your best to solve these problems, but we request kindly your Excellency of more dialogue with all nationalists and more empowerment to the various security agencies to tackle this monster called insecurity.
“We request that you exercise the promotion of equity, fairness, and social justice by all institutions and political parties, especially as we approach the year of transition.
“We plead for you political solution as a father, a loving father, a forgiving father to grant Nnamdi Kanu freedom. He pray that he be granted pardon as we call on all agitators to cease all forms of hostilities and other demands for a nation where the plight of the poor, the weak, the oppressed will be addressed.
“Your Excellency, history shall be kind to you and you will have the greatest ovation in the world if your administration can do that which all think will not be possible to assist for the emergence of President of Nigeria in South East of Igbo extraction come 2023.
“It was done in South West in 1999 and NADECO and other agitating groups ceased all hostilities. Agitations in the South East will likewise disappear if you grant us that unique privilege.”
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen suspected to be enforcing a two-day sit-at-home order allegedly declared by yet to be identified group in South-East, reportedly carried an attack at Ebebe Junction, in Amike-aba Community of Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The attackers who struck around 6:20 a.m of Friday, set a vehicle ablaze, while a motorcycle Rider escaped death by whiskers.
Mr Anayo Chukwuemeka, a resident of the area who spoke to Vanguard explained that the attackers fired several gunshots that got residents panicking and scampering for safety.
“It happened in a flash. But, when the gunshots died down and we came out, we saw that a vehicle has been burnt beyond recognition.
“The driver of the vehicle, who managed to escape told us that the gunmen said they are enforcing the sit-at-home declared in protest of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Ebonyi.
“A motorcycle owner, who also escaped the attackers’ gunshots told us that they fired at him but he miraculously dodged the bullets,” Chukwuemeka said.
Also, Mr Simon Onwe, a shop owner in the area, told Vanguard that the attackers came in a vehicle without number plate and shot sporadically into the air and immediately fled.
“I was still inside my shop because I slept there; I heard the gunshots but I discovered later that they left a vehicle burnt beyond recognition while a motorcycle operator told us that he narrowly escaped their bullets.
“It’s so unfortunate that we witnessed such an ugly incident in this area that is usually very peaceful and spralling with business activities especially at evening periods,” he said.
Meanwhile, a combined team of men of the Nigeria Police and the Ebubeagu Eastern Security Outfit, Ebonyi Command have condoned off the area.
Contacted, Mrs Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebonyi command, said that the she was yet to get a report of the incident.
“I’m just getting the information from you; I’m not aware of the attack,” Odah said.
Meanwhile, an officer of the command at the scene of the incident told Vanguard on condition of anonymity that the police have organised a manhunt to apprehend the armed criminals.
However, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group agitating for the independent state of Biafra had in a statement signed by Emma Powerful, it’s media and publicity coordinator said that the group has not declared any sit-at-home in South-East.
President Muhammadu Buhari had departed Ebonyi State for Abuja, where he is expected to attend a meeting.