Former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has given graphic detail of how Dr. Chike Akunyili and others were murdered, saying most of the victims were beheaded, after being shot.
The late Akunyili was a widower of the celebrated former Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Akunyili.
Speaking with journalists at Akunyili’s Agulu home town of Anambra State in a joint press conference with the monarch of the town, Igwe Innocent Obodoakor, a visibly shaken Obi said, “I was lucky to get the first flight, and I landed in Owerri and moved straight to Iyienu Hospital in Onitsha, where his (Akunyili’s) son and I identified him in the mortuary.
“He was not the only victim; there were his driver and police security aide. About nine people in all were involved in the shooting on Tuesday, and some of them were headless, and it is now a problem identifying them.”
Obi, a Vice Presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, demurred, saying the killing of Akunyili was a rude shock to him and members of Agulu community.
Meanwhile, police authorities in the state have vowed to fish out perpetrators of the crime.
A statement by the Anambra State Police Command’s spokesman, Tochukwu Ikenga, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said that Mr. Tony Olofu, the state’s Commissioner of Police, visited the scene where Akunyili was killed in NKpor and two other locations where violent crimes were perpetrated.
Ikenga quoted Olofu as saying that with the way they operated, the gunmen seemed to have lost every iota of human conscience and sensibility in them.
. ‘Declare Emergency Rule in South-East’
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe of Igbo descent, has asked the federal government to immediately declare a State of Emergency in Nigeria’s South-East region.
Igbokwe was reacting to Tuesday’s brutal killing of Chike Akunyili and others.
He criticised the South-East leaders for turning a blind eye to the ugly situation going on in the region.
“Since governors and our leaders in the South-East are now deaf and dumb, let me say it with all the emphasis in my command, that FG should Declare a State of Emergency in the South-East” Igbokwe stated on his Facebook page.
Many people are, however, linking Akunyili’s murder to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) militants, and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
But the groups have denied their involvement.
. Senate Mourns, Fails to Debate Killings
The Senate, also at a plenary session observed a minute silence in honour of the late Akunyili, but came short of debating the assassination.
The one-minute silence was sequel to a motion for a matter of urgent public importance moved by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP-Anambra).
Ekwunife, in her personal explanation, having cited Order 43 of Senate Rule, said the deceased was murdered in Anambra.
She said the late Chike, Medical Director of St Luke Hospital, Enugu, and an academician and a medic of repute, contributed immensely to healthcare in Nigeria.
The senator explained that the deceased was gruesomely murdered by gunmen.
She said that the deceased was in Onitsha to present a paper and receive an award in honour of his late wife, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who was also Nigeria’s Information Minister.
Ekwunife said government should take action to stem the tide of attacks and killings in the South-East, especially in Anambra, Enugu and Imo states.
She also urged the Senate to observe a minute silence for the deceased and other innocent citizens that had lost their lives to gunmen.
Ekwunife, as such, called on the Inspector-General of Police and other security heads to investigate the killings.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, in his comment, said there was no debate on the motion as it was brought under Order 43 of the Senate rule.
The Senate, thereafter, observed a minute silence in honour of the deceased.
. Pan-Igbo Group Reacts
The Igbos For A Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) has also reacted, strongly condemning the incident in its entirety.
Speaking with newsmen in Awka, IPAN’s national president, Comrade Lawrence Onuzulike, described the act as ungodly; calling on the state government to urgently fish out its perpetrators.
“Unfortunately, miscreants have been allowed to cause mayhem and untold hardship to the people, especially in the Southeastern states of Nigeria, while the government of the states stand hands-on akimbo and watch.
“IPAN wonders why the government of Anambra State is not doing anything tangible to protect the lives of the people they govern. Has Chief Willie Obiano lost interest in protecting the state?
“ IPAN also wishes to remind the Federal Government of Nigeria that the people being slaughtered routinely in the South-East are law-abiding citizens of Nigeria; therefore, immediate action needs to be taken to put an end to the carnage and barbarism taking place in the region.”
Speaking too, IPAN’s Head of Media and South East Zone Coordinator, Comrade Oliver Okeke, said, “Proactive actions need to be taken by the various tiers of government to reduce the heightened tension in Anambra State.
“And to Akunyili’s family, IPAN regrets the untimely death of your brother, husband, son, Dr. Chike Akunyili. May his soul rest in peace and may God grant those he left behind the fortitude to bear this irrepressible loss.”