Gunmen behead lawmaker representing Soludo’s community

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Gunmen have beheaded Okechukwu Okoye, the lawmaker representing Governor Charles Soludo’s community in Anambra House of Assembly, Nigeria’s South-east.

Mr Okoye, who represents Aguata 2 Constituency in Anambra State, was abducted alongside his aide, Cyril Chiegboka, on Sunday, along Aguluzigbo road, Anaocha Local Government Area of the state.

His head was said to have been dumped at Chisco park in Amichi, a community in Nnewi South Local Government Area of the state on Saturday, six days after he was abducted.

The police spokesperson in the state, Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed this in a statement Saturday night.

He said the lawmaker’s headless body was later found along Ideani road, Nnobi community, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

“(With) further information and confirmation, (we) identified the corpse as (that of) Hon Okechukwu Okoye,” Mr Ikenga said.

He was, however, silent on the fate of the lawmaker’s aide, Cyril Chiegboka.

But there are indications the aide may have also been killed.

The police spokesperson said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Echeng Echeng, described the lawmaker’s murder as “barbaric and act of cowardice.”

Mr Echeng also commiserated with the family and friends of the lawmaker and assured that the police will track down the killers.

A video clip which captured the head dumped at the park has gone viral on various social media.

In the clip, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, two warning notes, believed to have been written by the gunmen, were dropped on the road.

“We give the politicians 48 hours to withdraw all the soldiers in Biafraland or face our wrath or the consequences,” the gunmen said in one of the notes.

In the second note, which was blurred, the gunmen appeared to be threatening politicians “colluding” with law enforcement officers.

READ ALSO: Soludo demands immediate release of abducted lawmaker

“We will attack you one by one because soldiers and police (officers) are no longer our problem,” the second note said.

The abducted lawmaker, a representative of Mr Soludo, hails from Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area, where the governor also comes from.

Worsening situation

Security in Nigeria’s South-east has deteriorated in recent times with attacks by armed persons reported almost on a daily basis across the region.

Anambra State has witnessed some of the worst attacks in the region. The attacks often target security agencies, government officials, and facilities.

Mr Soludo recently visited Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in detention.

The governor said the visit to the IPOB leader was part of his “wider consultations with critical stakeholders” to ensure lasting peace and security in the South-east.

During his inauguration as the state governor, Mr Soludo had called for dialogue with the IPOB group and other gunmen behind insecurity in the state and region.

The governor, thereafter, announced an amnesty programme for the gunmen and declared an end to the sit-at-home order in the state. But residents have continued to obey the Monday sit-at-home order in the state and across the region, mostly out of fear.

The attacks by the gunmen increased in the state shortly after Mr Soludo’s inauguration and announcement of an end to the sit-at-home order in the state.

The Nigerian government has accused IPOB of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.

The separatist group is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south Nigeria.

The leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu, is currently being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for terrorism.

Mr Kanu appeared in court on May 18 in continuation of his trial.

He is billed to appear in court again on May 26.

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