(EXCLUSIVE) Akunyili’s death: We’re heartbroken, say kinsmen as they declare three-day mourning

By Henry Okonkwo

Shock, grief and outrage have enveloped Agulu, a town in Anaocha Local Government Area in Anambra State following the recent spate of insecurity that has led to the killing of two prominent sons of the community.

The two persons – Dr Chike Akunyili and Mr Azubike Anikwata, a Turkey-based entrepreneur – were gunned down by hoodlums on Monday evening and Tuesday, respectively.

Dr Chike was the widower of the late Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Dora Akunyili, who died in June 2014.

Chike was killed alongside eight others by gunmen at Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He was said to be returning from a trip to Onitsha, where he went to obtain a posthumous award of excellence for his late wife, when he ran into the hoodlums at Nkpor and was shot dead.

On Wednesday, Anambra police confirmed Chike’s murder and vowed that the command, in collaboration with other security agencies, would deal with the killers.

The police also detailed a series of attacks and murders by hoodlums in the state.

Since the sad incidents, AF24NEWS gathered that uneasy calm has enveloped the entire Agulu community, especially Ifiteani, Chike and Anikwata’s village.

Some residents of Ifiteani said that the village had become a ghost town and sorrowful as shops, bars and markets had become deserted, and political activities suspended.

Reacting to the tragedy, Sir Onyebuchi Okpala, the President-General of Caretaker Agulu, declared three days of mourning, starting from Wednesday 29 September till Friday 1 October.

He said, “Agulu has declared three days of mourning as unknown gunmen killed two sons of Agulu. In yesterday’s (Tuesday) attacks at Madonna Catholic Church, Agulu, they killed Mr Azubuike Anikwata, who came back from Turkey and was busy building an industry in our community.

“There was another attack at Nkpor Junction which claimed the life of Dr Chike Akunyili, husband of the late amazon, Prof Dora Nkem Akunyili.

“On this note we Ndi Agulu in general commenced three days of mourning from Wednesday 29 September to Friday 1 October.”

Okpala called on the Anambra State government to beef up security, ensure the protection of lives and property, and quickly visit the families of the deceased to pay condolences.

“Meanwhile all political activities in the community are hereby suspended during the mourning period,” he added.

Another resident of Ifiteani, Mr Jude Ezeani, described Chike and Anikwata’s murder as man’s inhumanity to man.

He said, “We all in Ifiteani are heartbroken and aggrieved at what happened to us. Ifiteani lost two shining stars in just one week. Dr Akunyili and Anikwata were not politicians but individuals who struggled to make a name for themselves and for our village.

“But they were gruesomely murdered by unknown gunmen. I am pained at the way they were tragically gunned down. This is purely an act of man’s inhumanity to man.”

Another resident, Mr Charles Ezim, while expressing outrage at the deaths, said he suspected something fishy in the killings of the Agulu sons.

“The death of our beloved brothers is political, take it or leave it. Something is wrong somewhere and it’s high time we asked ourselves, Ndi Agulu, what is going on in our town.

“They should extend the suspension of all political activities until we get justice for what happened to the people who just lost their lives, because it’s so suspicious,” he said.

Ezim urged that the killers should not be referred to as “unknown gunmen” because “we all know that they (victims) were not shut by spirits.”

Another Ifiteani indigene, Mrs Ijeoma Okeke, said “these deaths are so painful.”

“May the killers never go unpunished,” she added. “What a loss to us Agulu people! May their souls rest in peace.”

Anambra police have said they will find the killers and deal with them.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Tony Olofu, said the command would work in collaboration with other security agencies.

Olofu, who spoke while confirming Akunyili’s death, sued for calm and stressed that the perpetrators would be unmasked and “decisively dealt with”.

A statement issued by the command’s spokesperson, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, on Wednesday in Awka said that Olofu visited the scene where Akunyili was killed at Nkpor and two other locations where violent crimes were perpetrated.

Ikenga quoted Olofu as saying that with the way they operated, the gunmen “seemed to have lost every iota of human conscience and sensibility in them.”

 

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