Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
More reactions have continued to trail the gruesome murder of Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, member representing Aguata II Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly.
The lawmaker and his aide, Cyril Chiegboka, were kidnapped by yet to be identified assailants on May 15, 2022, and later beheaded by the kidnappers.
The gruesome murder of the lawmaker and his aide has generated wild fear and reactions from stakeholders in the state.
The State Commissioner of Police Mr. Echeng Echeng had in a press release signed by the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, recalled that the Command’s operatives had embarked on a rescue operation along Aguluzigbo-Umuona Road, the day the lawmaker was abducted.
According to the Police Commissioner, “while the rescue operation was still ongoing, a headless body was seen and recovered by the Police along Nnobi-Ideani Road, which was later confirmed as Honourable Okoye.”
The Commissioner who added that the corpse had been deposited in a morgue described the incident as barbaric and an act of cowardice.
He said that the police had embarked on investigation to unravel those behind the kidnap and killing.
Anambra State started experiencing worsening violent attacks by yet to be identified assailants shortly after the visit of Governor Soludo to the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody; a move seen as a strategic non-kinetic approach to finding lasting solutions to the prevailing insecurity in the South-East geopolitical zone.
However, rather than abate, there have been renewed violent attacks and arson leading to burning of Government properties, kidnappings and various forms of criminal activities. The gruesome murder of the State lawmaker and his aide added insult to the injury of insecurity in the state.
Ikengaonline had reported that the news of the murder came as a shock to the Anambra State Governor who had earlier Thursday, while presenting the Anambra State revised budget to the State House of Assembly, assured the lawmakers that their colleague, Hon. Okoye, was in good health and would be released soon.
But in a swift reaction to the incident, the State Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, in a statement through his media aide, Christian Aburime condemned the dastardly act and consequently placed a N10 million reward for anyone or group that would volunteer valuable information that could lead to the immediate arrest of the perpetrators.
Gov. Soludo had also condoled with his Isuofia kinsmen, noting that the killers were the same criminal gang that attacked him and killed three policemen at Isuofia two years ago.
“The same criminals are now on the prowl,” Soludo said.
He vowed to deal decisively with the perpetrators and criminals operating in the state, reassuring the people of government’s resolve and renewed determination with the security agencies to go all out against the criminals and ensure they are brought to justice.
Reacting in a press statement, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Uche Okafor, described the death of Honourable Okoye as unfortunate and heartbreaking.
Hon. Okafor who described the late Honourable Okoye as one of the outspoken and articulate lawmakers, noted that the Legislative Institution in the state has lost a quality member.
The Speaker recalled the late Okoye’s sense of humour, hospitality and commitment to duty among other positive attributes, adding that his demise will be felt in the House of Assembly.
He urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo not to relent in his efforts towards achieving maximum security of lives and property of the people of the State and called on well-meaning citizens of the state to join hands with the governor in rescuing the state from the men of the underworld.
Also, Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a platform for Citizens and Non-State Actors’ stakeholders reacted with outrage and sadness to the gruesome murder of the Aguata-born lawmaker.
The leader of the group, Prince Chris Azor in a release to newsmen, described the incident as one too many, and absolutely unacceptable.
He said that citizens cannot sit back and watch the level of degeneracy in security of lives and property.
Comrade Azor said the Civil Society Organizations, citizen and stakeholders have thrown their weight behind the State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo, in ensuring that the culprits were expeditiously apprehended and brought to Justice.
He revealed that they were already mobilising their members across the State especially, the grassroots, through strategic surveillance and information gathering in partnership with community leaders and law enforcement agencies, to achieve desired result.
“We call on all leaders and men/women of conscience in the South-East, Nigeria and indeed globally to condemn in the most strongest terms, these acts of wickedness and callousness. All Patriots should rally round Governor Soludo to stem the tide of this cowardly brigandage and sabotage,” he said.
The group further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to his avowed responsibilities to defend hapless Nigerians especially, in Anambra State and the South-East.
“We see no reason why our President will be busy attending funerals outside the country, while the citizens are here mourning without consolation,” they lamented.