The husband of the pregnant woman killed along with her four children by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Jubril Ahmed, said he is still in trauma.
Jubril who works as a security guard in Anambra State told Daily Trust that his wife was nine months pregnant and the family was expecting a new baby within the week when they were killed.
He said, “They were coming back home after she visited her sister who was living in the nearby town. She and the four children were all wearing hijabs; that was why the gunmen targeted them.
“As I’m talking to you, I’m in the process of recovering their corpses. The police have given me some documents which I will use to collect the corpses. I’m in the mortuary now, they are demanding N30, 000 from me before they will release the corpses of my family.
“My hope is to take the corpses to Ganye Local Government Area in Adamawa State and bury them because the cemetery the Arewa community is using here is already filled.
Jibril gave the name of his late wife as Harira Jibril, 32, and those of the four children as Fatima, 9; Khadijah, 7; Hadiza, 5; and Zaituna, 2.
“I’m now left with nobody; they have wiped out my entire family. I am so worried and in trauma, there is a need for the government to do something,” Jibril said.
The leader of the Hausa Community in Orunba South, Sarki Kabiru Bakari, told Daily Trust that they later recovered the corpses of the victims Tuesday evening.
He, however, said the plans to take them to their hometown in Adamawa for burial had been cancelled because the corpses were not taken care of in the mortuary, and could not withstand the travel to the North.
“We have now decided to bury them in Awka Wednesday (today). The mortuary attendant did not treat the corpses, no preservation measure was done; hence we cannot travel with the corpses as they have already started decomposing. We have no other option than to take them to Awka and bury them there,” he said.
Bakari added that the security personnel had been deployed in the area and that the Anambra State police commissioner has visited them and assured them of swinging into action.
“But after we bury the victims, we will all relocate to our hometown in the North; we are no longer safe here. The husband of the woman will also relocate back to Adamawa as soon as he buried his family; he is working here as a security guard,” he said.
ACF, NEF condemns killings
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have condemned the killing of northerners in the South East by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
While the NEF urged the government to take decisive actions to end the killings, the ACF called on the government to pay attention to security.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said northerners and even easterners must be protected from the activities of IPOB.
He called on the government to take decisive steps to end the killings and the targeting of northerners.
“The events in the south East particularly the events in recent days are tragic and very dangerous. There is a lot of anger in the land as there appears to be an attempt to provoke some local communities as well as some parts of Nigeria. Our position is that those with the responsibility to stop this must stop it now.
“We are appealing to everybody to remain calm and not to take the laws into their hands but we are demanding that northerners must be protected same way that we are demanding that easterners must be protected from the activities of these people who are killing.
“There is no excuse for failure to stop what IPOB is doing and we hope that in the next day or two, we will see decisive action on the part of governments, on the part of governors, and on the part of northern leaders and the elite to speak up and stop what is going on there, the targeting of northerners in the southeast must stop. The killings of even south easterners by IPOB must stop; we cannot have a country like this.”
The Secretary-General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Murtala Aliyu, said it was important for the government to bring issues of insecurity to the forefront, secure the country, secure the south East from IPOB and secure the North from bandits and all other threats.
He said, “It is important that government pay attention to security more than any other thing today. ACF is worried like every Nigerian over the killings in Anambra State. Our main worry is the general situation in the south East. Our people, the northerners are also victims, but even the other Nigerians that are living there are not safe, especially even the Igbo themselves.
“The important thing is to look at the whole issue holistically beyond regional or sectarian issues but look at the security of the country. It is quite unfortunate that today, in Nigeria, Nigerians are not safe wherever they are.
“Our own take is that government must take this seriously, a lot of energy is spent on the electioneering, yes, the election is necessary, bringing a new government is necessary but we think that before this government leaves, they must do something about the insecurity otherwise, even election will be impossible in some locations.”
CAN condemns killing
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, has condemned the murder of the pregnant woman and her children.
Describing it as barbaric, the association said it was unfortunate that people no longer value life in the country.
The CAN chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayap, in a statement titled, ‘The expansion of evil versus the silence of godly people in Nigeria,’ lamented how evil had taken over Nigeria on the ground of religion, region, ethnicity and other differences.
The association urged the federal government to go after the murderers and all others who have killed any Nigeria from any region or of any identity.
“Until our government and law enforcement agencies go after all criminals and murderers and justice is seen to have been done on all murderers, this evil will not stop and the murderers will not see their crime as evil but instead, they will smartly make us fight amongst ourselves and pay less attention to their crime.”
Arewa youths challenge Soludo to act
Also speaking on the issue, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in a statement by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, yesterday said the killings of northerners in the South East presupposed an ethnic cleansing agenda.
It urged governors of the region to take urgent steps to “end the killing of innocent northerners or face the legal consequences of their inaction.”
Rising from its emergency meeting in Kaduna, the AYCF said the murder of northerners working or trading in the South East at the slightest opportunity was an unacceptable act of undue provocation.
The group said it had expected Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra to use his exposure in governance and management to tackle the killings, but seemed to have been a ‘disappointment’.
The statement said, “The fact that the governors of the South East are the chief security officers of their states but do nothing to stop the unprovoked killing of northerners presupposes an ethnic cleansing agenda and we condemn it, in whatever guise – IPOB attack or ESN.
“The killing of a mother and the baby she cuddled as well as the Christian Aircraft Engineer of northern extraction means the lives of our own people are no longer valued in the South East, where IPOB, ESN, and so-called unknown gunmen are doing as they please as non-state actors, unhindered.
“Silence of these governors, despite the brutal attacks on our sons and daughters in the South East must be stopped now and we want to sound our note of warning, that no Nigerian has the monopoly of violence and that northerners’ respect for the rule of law should never be taken as a weakness.”
Northerners not targeted for killings in Anambra, says Soludo
But reacting, Governor Soludo denied that the coordinated killings were targeted at northerners in the state, saying it is a general case of insecurity affecting everybody.
He said that the Anambra people had suffered more casualties in the ongoing killings in the state than any other.
The governor, in a statement released by his Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, said the story that northerners were the target was capable of inciting violence in the country.
Soludo said, “While it is true that there is general insecurity across the country, there is no targeted religious or ethnic killing in Anambra State. As a matter of fact, the Anambra indigenes have suffered more casualties as a result of the unfortunate killings.
He added, “The report, therefore, is totally unacceptable and inimical to the unity and progress of the nation. The government of Anambra State hereby states that the report is not only sensational but misleading and should be immediately retracted to reflect the real situation on the ground.”
The governor stressed that Anambra indigenes, the northerners and other people from other parts of the country had lived and done business together peacefully because of shared common values.
He assured of continuous efforts to work for the good and progress of all and sundry in the state.
Police reassure Hausa community of protection
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Echeng E. Echeng, yesterday visited the Hausa community in the state and reassured them of their safety.
The CP in a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, said the investigation had begun, adding that policemen had been deployed in strategic places in the state.