• It wasn’t inside church – Anambra govt
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Tragedy struck in Onitsha, Anambra State, yesterday, as gunmen shot dead a policeman and civilian at Oguta Road, near the Assemblies of God Church.
It was gathered that the gunmen, on a motorcycle, opened fire on policemen on patrol along Oguta Road, close to the church. One of the policemen was killed as well as a civilian, suspected to be a commercial motorcyclist, popularly called okada.
A witness, Uchenna Ibe, told our correspondent that after shooting the policeman, the gunmen collected his rifle and zoomed off.
The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police Nkeiruka Nwode, who confirmed the attack, said the gunmen shot and injured a policeman who was rushed to hospital for treatment.
The PPRO said one suspect was arrested.
Said she: “I have the authority of the of police commissioner, Mr. Garba Baba Umar, to intimate you on the incident that happened this afternoon at Oguta Road, Onitsha. At about 10.30am, gunmen men in disguise as masquerades attacked policemen on foot patrol, who opened fire on them.
“The team of policemen responded swiftly and arrested one, while others on the run are being trailed and would soon be apprehended. Unfortunately, one of the policemen was critically injured and has since been taken to the hospital for proper medical care.
“CP Garba warns perpetrators and would-be perpetrators to desist from acts of crime as the command will not hesitate to deal with anyone found committing any act of crime in Anambra State, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
“He also advised parents to restrain their children and wards from engaging in acts capable of ruining their future. The commissioner, while imploring Ndi Anambra to assist the police in its responsibilities of safeguarding the state by reporting suspicious movements in their localities promptly, promised that the command will not relent in its drive till all criminals relocate from the state.”
Reacting to the incident, the Anambra State government said it had nothing to do with any church.
In a statement yesterday, Chuks Iloegbulam, head of Governor Willie Obiano’s media team, said: “What happened was an attack by hoodlums who disguised as masquerades and tried to snatch the personal belongings of pedestrians on Oguta Road.
“In the event, a policeman on foot patrol was shot, while two others were injured.
“The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Princes Nwode, confirmed this to be true. The Assemblies of God Church on Oguta Road was not at all affected. It conducted its Sunday service peacefully.
“The government of Anambra State urges its peace-loving people to continue to go about their lawful businesses and interests as there is absolutely no cause for alarm.
“There is no doubt that purveyors of false stories intended to disrupt the peace and tranquility of Anambra State (they) will fail woefully, as Governor Willie Obiano and his able team are on top of the situation.”