Achonu’s convoy survives gun attack in Imo, as Labour candidate is prevented from attending church service by Uzodinma’s goons
Written By Anthony Iwuoma
Posted By Town Crier News Nigeria
Published By Fitness Network Communications
Tragedy was on Sunday averted when the convoy of the Labour Party candidate for Saturday’s governorship election in Imo State, Senator Athan Achonu, escaped death by the whiskers.
Achonu was on his way to St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Obibiezena in Owerri North Local Government Area where he was invited to attend the church’s Synod when his convoy ran into an ambush laid by the hirelings of Governor Hope Uzodinma, who had mounted a road block with an armoured personnel carrier (APC), an All Progressives Congress branded Siena space bus and a Hilux truck.
One Oladimeji, a police officer attached to the Tiger Base Police Squad, Owerri, was said to have led the team of rough-looking policemen and gun-weilding ebubeagu security operatives.
According to an eyewitness, on approaching the road block, police officers in the Armoured Personel Carrier started shooting at the convoy but missed the wrangler jeep by the whiskers and hit the drivers’ window of one of the Lexus Jeep in the convoy. This could have resulted in casualty if not that it was bulletproof.
They were shooting sporadically in full public glare in broad daylight.
Even after the Police Commissioner reportedly spoke to the police officer, Oladimeji, over the phone, he allegedly refused to listen to him, insisting that because Uzodinma was coming that way, he would not allow Achonu to pass.
A young man identified as ‘TAKPE’, backed by the police was also reported to be shouting and threatening Senator Achonu’s team to turn back or he would “destroy all the cars”. This scenario caused so much panic among the women in the convoy.
To avoid further confrontation, the DSS and other security officials, accompanying the Labour Party candidate exercised restraint and moved the candidate and his team to safety.
The Head of the Media Team of the Achonu Campaign organisation, Chibuikem Diala lamented that “It is unfortunate that Imo State has descended into a police state where violence reigns supreme because of the ambition of one man.
It is sad that this Oladimeji who has been allegedly committing all manner of attrocities against the youths of Imo State, and humiliating leaders, yet nothing is said or done about it by the powers that be.
“It is even sadder that the state police has sold itself to Uzodinma to the point that even the state commissioner of police no longer has power to control security matters in the state.
“Therefore, we demand an urgent probe into the activities of the involved culprits, including officer Ola, and the state commissioner of police. We also demand that the chief thug, ‘Takpe’, shown in the viral video should be arrested and brought to book.
“We also demand the immediate transfer of all compromised officers, to avoid crisis in Imo State.
“We wish to also want to make it abundantly clear that the Labour Party and its candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, alongside all lovers of democracy in Imo State cannot be intimidated.
“We call on President Bola Tinubu, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the Chief of Army Staff, Head of Department of State Services, DSS, and relevant security agencies to weigh into the security situation in Imo State to avert bloodshed during and after Saturday’s election.
“We have implicit confidence in the president and the head of security agencies to do the needful and avoid suspicion that the Federal Government is complicit in these heinous crimes.
“That is the least they can do for this bleeding state,” Diala said.
While speaking to newsmen in Owerri after the incident, the unruffled Senator Athan Achonu restated his commitment to take back Imo and called on “Imolites to rise up and resist all forms of oppression and harrasment from this failed government.”
He also restated his commitment that no iota of intimidation will prevent him from liberating Imo from injustice, criminality, police brutality, and corrupt leadership.
He said, “I wonder why I can’t be allowed to go and worship freely. When they stopped us, they started shooting. I came down and I accosted one notorious Ola of Tiger Base Police Owerri, an officer alleged to be part of the many attrocities happening in the state and I asked him, ‘why are you blocking our access?’ I told him I was going to expose his attrocities to the whole world. I also told him to leave the state immediately. If he (Ola) doesn’t leave this state latest Monday, then I’ll know that this government wants to annihilate us.
“I am putting the president, Bola Tinubu on notice to know what is going on here. This man wants to annihilate the entire state. He should quickly redeploy heads of security agencies because they are not obeying orders. There is a killer squad in Ohaji Egbema. They call him “Kill and Bury.” The people over there have been crying? It’s a war zone.
“Look at what they did to the NLC President. This governor is going mad.
“My aide called the Director of DSS, who gave the phone to the Commissioner of Police, who in turn requested to the speak to the officer Ola. The man rebuffed the Commissioner of Police. Imagine a police officer, ignoring the police commissioner.
“We have military, DSS, Civil Defence and the police. If they cannot protect us, then we would better protect ourselves.”
Responding to a question from a reporter if this was a deliberate act to harm him, he said: “This is a deliberate act because they claimed the governor was in the church. But the governor was not there at all. So, it was a deliberate plan to harm me. Why would they prevent me from attending church service?”
He recalled that the Armoured Personel Carrier used to block the access to the church could be one of those he repaired. He called on the Inspector General of Police to immediately release the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers he repaired so that they can be used to protect the people.
He also called the voters to be encouraged.
“This attack should embolden Imo people to know what is coming. They (APC) are scared that you people have rejected them. They think they can scare me. They are small rats. They can’t do anything. You people should be emboldened. We are going to vote them out,” Achonu retorted confidently.