Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET) a platform for citizens and non state actors has frowned over the hightened insecurity in the Southeast and called for dialogue/peace building mechanisms, to stem the ugly tide.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, over the weekend, Prince Chris Azor, the Chairman of the group, recounted the spate of violent attacks in the Southeast in recent times, leading to avoidable deaths, barely one month to the Anambra governorship election.
News Echo recalled that, Dr. Chike Akunyili, the husband of Nigeria’s former Minister of information and Culture, Prof. Dora Akunyili, was murdered in cold blood on Tuesday evening at Nkpor in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He was not the only victim; his driver and police security aide also paid the supreme sacrifice. About nine people in all were reportedly involved in the shooting on that fateful Tuesday. Similarly, there was a gun attack on a member of the public at Oko Road. The criminal elements set the vehicle of the victim ablaze, leaving him with a bullet wound and escaped.
Also, some undesirable elements, in an attempt to snatch a Lexus 350 car from its driver on Agulu road, shot him.
According to Azor, “the killings in Anambra State continued unabated on Thursday as six (6) policemen were shot dead by hoodlums despite the heavy presence of security operatives in major towns of the State. Also, at Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of the State, a car belonging to a member of the House of Representatives for Nnewi North/South/ Ekwusigo, Chris Azubogu, was attacked and his driver killed”.
“this is becoming very worrisome considering that Anambra Governorship election is barely one month ahead.
A few days ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) expressed fears over worsening security challenges in the state.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, expressed the concerns, at a forum on ‘Inclusive Election in Anambra and Beyond’, organised by INEC Press Corps in Abuja. He noted that a constitutional crisis might ensue in the state if the Commission is unable to conduct elections on account of insecurity.
Represented by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, the INEC chairman explained that Section 178 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic has restricted the period for the conduct of governorship elections.
He noted that the tenure of the incumbent governor would expire on March 17, 2022. Quoting relevant sections of the Constitution, Yakubu said the earliest date for the election in Anambra is October 18, 2021, while the latest date is February 15, 2022.
“By virtue of the provisions of Section 1978(2) of the Constitution and Section 25(8) of the Electoral Act, election into the office of a state governor shall hold not earlier than 150 and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office,” Yakubu said.
He said: “The Commission needs a safe and secure environment for efficient and professional deployment of staff and materials.He therefore, appealed to all critical stakeholders to cooperate with the Commission to avoid a constitutional challenge.
Also, in a special address by the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano to mark the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, he remarked that “We are in very critical period of our evolution as a free society. Almost every day, we witness events that test our patience as members of a sane society and our resolve as those charged with the responsibility of providing leadership to our people. We are confronted by the sight of evil and the brazen display of callousness that is alien to our people.
We see our brothers and sister bleed to death from wounds inflicted by their fellow compatriots”
ASCONET therefore, counselled the government, political actors and indeed all citizens to embrace dialogue and peace building mechanisms in solving our problems, for sustainable development.