There was outrage and mourning Sunday over the assassination of Barr. Ahmed Gulak, a former political adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, by gunmen in Imo State.
Gulak was shot dead by assailants who trailed him to Obiangwu village as he made way to Sam Mbakwe Airport, in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, on his way to Abuja.
Funeral prayers for the Adamawa-born politician were conducted yesterday evening at the National Mosque, Abuja, after which his remains were interred at the Gudu Cemetry at around 8 pm.
Police in Imo last night said they had tracked down suspected killers of the of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, and killed at least six of them, after a fierce encounter.
A statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Bala Elkana, said that “On 30th May, 2021 following a distress received by the Command on the gruesome murder of Ahmed Gulak, Police Special Forces made up of Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Tactical Units from the command were deployed to the scene at Obiangwu Junction at Ngorokpala LGA of Imo state.
The teams were given a clear instruction to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of the act with a view of bringing them to justice.
“Eyewitnesses account, especially the account given by the Driver of the vehicle that was conveying Ahmed Gulak to the Airport before the attack, gave a vivid description of the assailants and the vehicles they used in carrying out the attack.
“The assailants were said to have used a Toyota Camry 2005 model with silver color; Toyota Sienna 1998 Model with golden color; Toyota Hilux with white color; and a Lexus RX 330 with golden Color. (Registration numbers are withheld for security reasons).
“Having established the identity of the assailants and the description of the vehicles used in carrying out the attack, the teams further got details of the direction the hoodlums have taken. With further leads, the team was able to establish the location of suspects.
“The suspects were rounded up at Afor Enyiogugu junction in Aboh-Mbaise Local Government Area. The hoodlums where met distributing onions to locals from a trailer they confiscated. The trailer was loaded with Onions from the Northern region of Nigeria.
“On sighting the Police, the hoodlums providing security coverage to those sharing the onions opened fire on the Police teams.
“The Gallant and battle ready Police Officers swiftly returned the fire. The six hoodlums who carried out the killings and four other members of their gang were fatally injured. Three out of the four vehicles used in attacking Gulak were recovered.
“Three AK 47 Rifles, one Pistol, five AK 47 magazines with ninety two rounds of live ammunition and criminal charms were recovered. The assailants were identified as members of the proscribed IPOB and ESN.
“The driver who drove late Ahmed Gulak and a co- victim who survived have all identified the dead body of the IPOB/ESN members positively as their attackers and also identified the three vehicles recovered as those used by the attackers.
“During the encounter, two of the police armored personnel carriers (APC) were riddled with bullets but survived the gun battle.”
A video clip on the aftermath of the attack shows Gulak in a pair of Jean trousers and a blue T-shirt lying in a pool of his own blood, besides the abandoned car.
Gulak was the chairman of the controversial Imo All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election that produced Hope Uzodinma as the party’s flagbearer. He was also said to have remained close to the governor visiting the state frequently.
‘Why he was in Owerri’
Though Gulak is said to be a regular visitor to Owerri since the ascension of Uzodinma, his last trip was however to attend the public hearing of the constitution review committee held in the city.
After the conclusion of the committee’s sitting, Gulak stayed back while other members of the committee departed the city on Friday.
A source close to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who chaired the public hearing in Owerri said the deceased was offered to fly on Kalu’s private jet after the public hearing, but he declined.
According to the source, Kalu’s team left Owerri on the day the public hearing ended but Gulak stayed behind saying he had things to do in the city.
The source said: “We left Owerri on the day the public hearing ended and we asked him to join us on our private jet and we had enough security with us. But he said he had things to do in the city.”
Nigerians knock FG, political actors over killing
Nigerians on social media berated the federal government and political actors for his killing.
A commentator on the Facebook link of the story published by Daily Trust, Ifeanyi Maduako, while describing Gulak’s death as ‘’distasteful’’, linked the incident with politics.
‘‘This killing is very distasteful to me. It appears political and those behind it should be unraveled. The killing will expose those behind the current insecurity in Imo State.
‘‘Who invited him and why killing a northerner in Imo State? I am very afraid what fate awaits innocent Imo State people in the coming days in the hands of northern controlled security agencies,’’ he wrote.
Another commentator on the thread, Oloruntobi Micheal Omo, noted: ‘’The police report proves that this killing is political and hence calls for an in-depth investigation. Police I guess have some questions to answer.’’
On his part, Comr Umar Hassan Ahmad wrote, “The soul of our innocent people is more important than this scam which is called Nigeria unity.
‘‘This illiteracy will not be acceptable to us, enough is enough we are peacemakers but those are pushing us to the wall that this peacemaking can no longer be sustained. I am warning our retaliation will be worst. Buhari you failed us woefully, am urging Imo police to confront the culprit’’
Nasiru Inuwa wrote, “A wake up call to the northern elites, they’ve started with the innocent Fulani herders & now turned to northern govt officials & prominent politicians…’’
Count us out – IPOB
The outlawed IPOB, in a statement by its secretary, Emma Powerful, faulted reports linking it to the murder of Gulak, noting that the assassination of politicians is not part of its agenda.
“We, therefore, state without equivocations that IPOB knows nothing about the said assassination. In the first place, what threat did the late Gulak constitute to our cause to warrant his elimination? We had nothing in common with him and could not have in any way killed him.
“Pointing accusing fingers at IPOB for this barbaric act is only meant to divert attention away from the real masterminds. This is the same way terrorists in security uniform commit various atrocities in South East and turn around to blame IPOB for their crimes just to tarnish our global reputation.
“This is purely a smokescreen to justify their long-awaited plan to declare another special military operation in the Eastern region to kill more innocent Biafrans.
“Instead of the security agencies to properly investigate the incident and possible factors, they switch to accuse IPOB of a crime we know nothing about. Did IPOB have the itinerary of the late Gulak to have waylaid him at the airport?”
The group said security agencies should first investigate “Gulak’s host, Hope Uzodinma, as well as his political opponents to establish their possible involvement”.
Buhari: Those behind Gulak’s murder won’t go unpunished
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that those behind the murder of Gulak and other incidents across the country will not go scot free.
President Buhari, in a statement issued Sunday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, expressed outrage and disgust over “the heinous murder”.
The president, who expressed sadness over the incident, said: “I’m repulsed by such premeditated and gruesome murder of Gulak by evil people who are determined to undermine the peace, unity and territorial integrity of our country.
“Let me warn however that nobody or group of people who engages in such despicable acts should expect to go free. We will deploy all resources at our disposal to ensure that such callous and criminal elements are brought to justice.”
Gulak’s killing unacceptable – Akeredolu
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu described the news of the assassination as very shocking and disturbing.
In a statement personally signed by the governor, he said this is one murder too many, describing the action as senseless and wicked.
‘‘The perpetrators of this heinous act are enemies of this country. This contrivance is meant to mislead, confuse and destroy. It bears the unmistakable, despicable imprints of fifth columnists bent on setting the country on the path of conflagration. These criminals must not be allowed to succeed.
“We want to use this medium to express our solidarity with our brother, Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma. We admonish him and other governors in the South Eastern States to brace up, and confront the current security challenge to put an end to the bloodbath in the land. The enemies of the people always employ the weapon of fear to create disaffection in the polity.
“This cowardly act is calculated to instigate Nigerians against each other, particularly Northerners, against the Igbo living outside the South East. We must confront the enemies of the people with a view to neutralising them. This is definitely not the time for political correctness. Banditry should not be allowed to subvert the legitimacy of the current government at all levels.
“We call on all security agencies to collaborate with a view to unveiling the criminal elements sponsoring and undertaking terrorist acts. They must be punished, severely.”
The Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri described as shocking the gruesome murder of Gulak who was a former Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly.
Governor Fintiri said the death was painful and a reflection of the wickedness of the wicked.
Governor Fintiri described the late Gulak as a witty, determined and practical politician whose rise in life was as a result of sheer hard work.
“It is unfortunate that death has taken from us The Rt. Hon Ahmed Gulak in such a gruesome manner. He was a lively politician who loved and worked with everyone, and always held the interests of the country at heart”.
Recalling his interactions with the late Gulak, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri said, “He was a brother and a mentor, and a fighter for human rights as a lawyer. Madagali community has lost a true son”.
In a statement issued yesterday in Yola through his Chief Press Secretary, Hunwashi Wanisoukou, the governor noted that “Our country has lost an astute fighter for human rights. We all remember how passionate he fought for the plight of those displaced by insurgency and the downtrodden”.
ACF condemns assassination
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has condemned Gulak’s assassination, describing it as a “monumental loss” to the nation.
The ACF in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said it was sad to receive news on the assassination of Ahmed Gulak describing him as a dynamic and progressive politician from the north.
“You liked or hated him that was your business. He had class. He had style. May God bless him and give his family and his state, Adamawa the strength to bear this monumental loss,” it stated.
Assassination part of plans to replicate 1966 coup – CNG
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has described Sunday’s assassination of Ahmed Gulak, a prominent northern leader and former Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan as coordinated and as well as incessant attacks on police formations in Nigeria’s southeast as part of a wider plan to replicate the coup of 1966.
The CNG in a statement signed by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said it was the reason why the northern part of the country cannot be reasonably expected to live with the south east as a nation alleging that the “violent rascality” by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and other armed Igbo gangs are funded, fully supported and emboldened by every component of the Igbo society at home and in the diaspora.