Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL; and the Young Progressive Party, YPP, have condemned Sunday’s attack on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South district, describing the incident as “very disturbing, barbaric and and an affront to the Igbo nation.”
Similarly, former Governor of Anambra State and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has also condemned the attack and called for the arrest of the perpetrators.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia, in an exclusive interview with Ikengaonline, said that killing was alien to Igbo culture in the past, and wondered if the perpetrators of senseless killings in the South-East are truly Igbo.
According to him: “This is very disturbing. I feel so sad about it. In Igbo land in the past, killing was abominable act, a taboo and something that was not contemplated.
“Anybody that killed would be be ostracized. Killing is objectionable, repulsive which a normal person doesn’t even want to contemplate.
“But most unfortunately, the development in the South-East now is worrisome. I sometimes wonder if those behind this heinous crimes are really Igbo.
“We have our values, our virtues, norms and culture that are being extolled and which people tend to emulate. But I don’t understand what is happening now with our core Igbo values.
“I’m disturbed. What are we supposed to hand over to the next generation as Igbo values and norms? How are we even sure it will not degenerate and become worse?
The Ohanaeze chieftain also expressed sadness over the Killing of a community leader at Agukwunri on Sunday.
“I also feel sad that an Onowu, a highly revered personality from Agukwunri who came to purchase something at Orieukwu market was shot dead. This sends a wrong signal.”
Describing the festering insecurity in the country as the effect of bad governance and leadership failure, the Ohanaeze chieftain said the menace could only be arrested with the institution of good governance.
“No matter the military presence the only thing that can solve the problem in Nigeria is to bring good governance. And the only way to bring good governance is through credible election. By the time we have credible election, good people coming to preside over the affairs of the country, the economy will be stimulated.
“When that is done, there will be employment and crime will reduce. There is no way you can reduce crime when there is high rate of unemployment.
“So, what is happening in the country now is the effect of bad governance, bad leadership, unemployment, induced poverty, greed and primitive accumulation of wealth by the leaders.
“So, the only way to solve it is when we change the leadership through the democratic revolution, then these things will begin to fizzle out.”
He said that the protracted strike action by university-based unions could also be fueling the insecurity in the country as some students might be recruited into the crime industry.
“Don’t be surprised that some of those behind the killings may be students who have been out of school for over six months of the strike.”
He also blamed the insecurity in the South-East on marginalisation and near political exclusion of the zone by the Government at the centre.
“The other dimension that trends to create problem in the South-East is the issue of alienation of the Igbo people from the centre of power. The deliberate alienation of Igbo is frustrating and at the extreme of such frustration, some may be tempted to take up arms.
“At certain level of extreme provocation and marginalisation the people express frustration through taking up arms. So, the best way is to ensure there is good governance.”
Also, the YPP Chairman Abia State, Hon. Chimex Uluocha, in an interview with our Correspondent, described the attack on Ubah as “shocking and disheartening.”
Hon. Uluocha called for urgent action and immediate review of the security architecture in the South-East geo-political zone.
He called for a probe into the incident and tasked the security agencies to quickly unravel those behind the barbaric attack.
The YPP Chairman who registered his condolences with the families of the victims noted that if a serving Senator could be so attacked almost without resistance then ordinary people are vulnerable.
In its reaction, the Coalition of South East Youth Leader, COSEYL, described the attack as “wicked, barbaric and villainous.”
The Igbo youth group in a statement by its President General, Comrade Goodluck Ibem, condemned the senseless attack and called for the arrest of the masterminds.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “The Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the apex socio-political youth group in the South-East geopolitical zone condemns in strongest terms the wicked, barbaric, villainous and senseless attack on Distinguish Senator Ifeanyi Ubah’s convoy at Enugwu Ukwu junction in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State that led to the death of his aides and security agents attached to his convoy. The attack on our great son on Igbo soil is an affront on Igbo nation.
“We are really pained and disheartened to receive this heartbreaking news of how our youths just lost their lives within a twinkle of an eye in broad daylight. What a wicked world!
“It is infelicitous that such senseless killing of innocent youths who have done nothing wrong is happening in Igboland that is before now adjudged most peaceful in all ramifications. Something is fishy in this very attack and we demand that security agencies must unravel those hoodlums and their sponsors behind the assassination attempt on the life of Senator Ubah and bring them to justice.
“This vicious attack and assassination of our youths is a confirmation that enemies of Ndigbo have crept into our midst and they must be found by any means and flushed out immediately.
“The wicked activities of these criminals are destroying businesses in the South-East as some businessmen and women who come from other parts of the country and outside the country to do business in Igboland are scared to come to do business in the zone because of fear of the activities of these senseless hoodlums.”
COSEYL condoled with the families of the victims and urged for support of the State Government and security agencies in their efforts to apprehend the culprits.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba, and Heads of other security agencies to immediately arrest and prosecute perpetrators of this dastardly act so that justice will be served.
“Delay they say is dangerous, our security agents should get to work now. Our youths in the state should support the Governor and security agents by gathering and giving credible information that will lead to the arrest of these criminals.”
On his part, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi Monday took to his Twitter handle to also condemn the attack on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah describing it “condemnable and unacceptable.”
“I deeply commiserate with my brother, Senator @Dr_IfeanyiUbah, and extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this ugly incidence.
“The attack is condemnable and unacceptable. I hereby re-emphasise the urgent need for enhanced security of lives and property in society. I have continued to lay emphasis on the urgent need for enhanced security and protection of life and property in our society.
“Those who engage in these dastardly acts should be fished out swiftly using all machinery available to government, and promptly punished in accordance with our laws.
“I enjoin the Federal and State governments to strenuously strive to to curb the menace of insecurity rampaging our Nation.”
Meanwhile the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Anambra State Command, Tochukwu Ikenga, has confirmed the incident but refused to disclose the number of casualties.
‘’The Commissioner of Police, Mr Echeng Echeng visited the scene and there were blood stains at the place indicative of the fact that the attack was bloody, but to give the number I cannot say anything on that,” he said when contacted.