President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed sadness over the gruesome killing of Dr. Chike Akunyili, widower of the late former Director-general of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Dora Akunyili, and assured that his killers would not go scot-free. Buhari described the killing of Akunyili as inhuman and reprehensible, stressing that his killers would face the wrath of God and man.
The president’s position was reinforced by the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who placed a N20 million bounty on the heads of Akunyili’s killers.
The South-east Governors Forum also condemned the killing and demanded security agencies move quickly to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them to justice. In a statement by the Chairman of the Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, the forum described the killing as “not only barbaric but also unbecoming how much human lives no longer matter in our society. We give security agencies a marching order to go all out to uncover and arrest all the perpetrators of this inhuman act and make them face justice,”
In its own reaction, the apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, raised the alarm over the incessant killing of innocent citizens in Igboland, concluding that the zone is currently under a heavy siege.
The Senate observed a minute silence for the deceased at its plenary yesterday, and a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, expressed shock at the murder of Akunyili.
Buhari, in a release on Wednesday by his media adviser, Femi Adesina, shared the pain of the children, relatives, and friends of the deceased.
The president said he had fond memories of working with the late Dora Akunyili at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and Nigerians would 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 assured the grieving families, who lost their loved ones in the incident, that the perpetrators of the heinous act “will face both the judgement of man, and that of God.”
Obiano placed a N20 million bounty on the heads of the killers and others, in a press release he personally signed after a meeting with heads of security agencies in the state. He implored anyone with useful information about the killing of Akunyili and other persons, who fell to the bullets of gunmen between Sunday and Tuesday, to come forward with it.
The statement read, “It is on a very sad note that I address the state today to condemn in very strong terms, the violence that has been witnessed in Anambra in the past few days.
“Since last weekend, some armed persons have unleashed terror with sporadic attacks on innocent citizens in various parts of the state. From the briefings I have received from security commanders, offices of some political parties, branded campaign vehicles and individuals occupying them have been attacked with killings and burning of vehicles observed.
“Other innocent road users have become victims of this menace with many losing their lives and others, their properties. Between Sunday 26th and yesterday, 28th September 2021, attacks on citizens at Oko, Agulu, Obosi, Nkpor, Nnobi, Nnewi, and other places have left about 10 people dead, including an illustrious son of this state, Dr. Chike Akunyili, husband of the late Professor Dora Akunyili, who was, reportedly, gunned down yesterday around Nkpor.
“To reinforce our commitment and seriousness on this issue, I, on behalf of the state government, wish to announce a twenty million naira (N20, 000,000.00) reward for any useful information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators of these heinous attacks on our state.”
The governor regretted the wanton killing of illustrious sons and daughters of Anambra people.
He said, “These are our own people dying every day and for what reason? Ndi Anambra, these attacks and accompanying deaths cannot be justified and must stop now. I have, therefore, conducted an extensive security meeting and have directed all security agencies to step up and confront this monster ravaging our land.
“I charge everyone involved in the security architecture of Anambra State to take very seriously this threat to our livelihood and boldly rise to confront same. Everything that needs to be done will be done and no stone will be left unturned in this effort. My directive to this effect is clear and I urge every security personnel on duty in Anambra State to do his utmost best to secure our people.”
Ohaneze Ndigbo Alleges South-east Under Siege
Igbo’s apex sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze NdIgbo Worldwide, raised the alarm over the incessant killing of innocent citizens of the Igbo nation. Ohanaeze said the zone was currently under a heavy siege.
President General of the organisation, Professor George Obiozor, raised the alarm during the Igbo Day Prayer Summit organised by Ohanaeze NdIgbo Worldwide, in collaboration with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East zone. Obiozor spoke against the backdrop of Dr. Chike Akunyili’s murder.
The president-general, who was represented by Secretary General of Ohanaeze, Mr. Innocent Nwudenyi, stated that there was need for the people of the South-east to pause and seek the face of God, because there were too many killings in the zone lately.
Obiozor stated, “As we gather today to pray, we need to take a pause 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. Many unnecessary killings in the zone.”
He described the killing of Akunyili as unfortunate, regrettable and most worrisome, pointing out that the killings in Anambra State and otherstates of the South-east have reached an alarming stage.
The Ohaneze Ndigbo president noted that something needed to be done urgently to save the South-east from the unnecessary killings. He also asked the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other groups to think deeply and take a pause.
“Professor Obiozor has asked IPOB and other groups to think deeply, because if they kill every person, who will be there,” Nwudenyi said. “We need to take a pause as a people and understand what is confronting us,” he added.
The president-general regretted that beyond the sit-at-home order, there were on-going killings from one state to another in the South-east and called on the clergy to pray fervently for the zone.
In an address, Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, wondered why Igbos would be killing each other, and called for brotherly love, harmony, and peace among the Igbo.
Umahi, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, Dr. Kenneth Ugballa, regretted the killing of Akunyili and noted that his death was a big blow to NdIgbo
Senate Observes a Minute Silence
The Senate, Wednesday, observed a minute silence for the late Dr. Chike Akunyili, who was brutally murdered by unknown gunmen at Afor Nkpor in Anambra State on Tuesday. The moment of silence in the Red Chamber followed a point of order raised by Senator Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central).
Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules – Personal Explanation, Ekwunife noted with concern that on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, Akunyili was gunned down in a most gruesome manner at Afor Nkpor, Anambra State.
According to Ekwunife, Chike Akunyili was till his death Medical Director of St. Leo Hospital in Enugu. She said the deceased was an established academic, medical director and one who had contributed to the development of healthcare in Nigeria.
Narrating the circumstance that 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 a civil society organisation in honour of his late wife, Professor Dora Akunyili, and was gruesomely attacked at Nkpor on his way home.”
The ranking senator also noted that lots of horrible attacks and killings had been going on across the entire South-east zone especially, Anambra, Enugu and Imo states. She urged the Inspector General of Police and heads of other law enforcement agencies to step up action towards unravelling perpetrators of the killings in Anambra State and other South-east states.
Ekwunife also urged governors in the South-east to rise to their responsibilities of ensuring safety of life and property of the citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Obi Expresses Shock, Identifies Body in Morgue
A former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, expressed shock at the death of Dr Chike Akunyili, who was shot dead on Tuesday evening. Obi, who spoke to journalists, said he was in Lagos on Tuesday for some functions, and on Wednesday morning he got the news of the death of Akunyili on social media and immediately boarded a flight back to confirm it.
The former governor said, “I was lucky to get the first flight, and I landed in Owerri and moved straight to Iyienu Hospital in Onitsha, where I and his son identified him in the mortuary.
“He was not the only victim, there was his driver and police security aide. About nine people in all were involved in the shooting on Tuesday, and some of them were even headless, and it is now a problem identifying them.”
Obi said the killing of Akunyili, who was a private medical practitioner, remained a great pain to him and members of Agulu community, where Obi and the late Akunyili hailed from.
Obi added, “It is a very sad thing to think of. If you knew Dr Akunyili, you will know that he could not hurt anyone, not here in his village and not anywhere else. He was a good man who was so happy with himself.
“As for who his killers are, I can only say that no one knows. It is a very sad thing, and as I speak to you, Agulu people are in mourning.”
Meanwhile, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tony Olofu, assured the people of the command’s commitment to public safety.
In a press statement by the command’s spokesperson, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Toochukwu Ikenga, Olofu, who had visited the scene of the incident for on-the-spot-assessment, called for collaboration between the people and the police to fish out bad elements in the state.
Ikenga, in the release, said, “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 within 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 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 the police with a view to containing these atrocious acts, stressing 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.”
Anambra has within three days witnessed several incidents of attack by unidentified gun wielding men.
Persons riding in two unmarked Sienna vehicles and a Toyota Hummer bus attacked a team of police operatives attached to the Aguata Area Command about 2pm on Tuesday, while the team was on routine patrol duty along Ezinifite/Igboukwu road. The hoodlums set the patrol vehicle ablaze and fled the scene.
There was also a gun attack on a member of the public about 5pm on the same day along Oko road. The attackers set the vehicle of the victim ablaze, leaving him with a bullet wound on his feet before escaping. About 4pm on the same day, some gunmen, in an attempt to snatch a Lexus 350 from its driver along Agulu Road, shot the owner and abandoned the victim and the car, and fled.
The incident at Nkpor, which claimed the life of Akunyili, also led to the death of about nine other persons.