THE Anambra State Government has denied reports that Governor Willy Obiano’s convoy was attacked by gunmen at a campaign rally in Ihiala Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, James Eze, said the reports that Obiano was attacked was false and should be disregarded.
The statement said, “The fact is that when some gunmen engaged security operatives in a shootout in Ihiala today, Governor Obiano was attending a pre-scheduled political rally in Ogbaru Local Government Area along with Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the standard bearer of the All progressives Grand Alliance in the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election in the state.
It added that “the Ogbaru campaign was highly successful with a large turn of party members and supporters who came to reassure Prof. Soludo and APGA of their support in the coming election.
“Governor Obiano deeply regrets the shootout at Ihiala today and the attendant loss of lives. He calls on all the politicians involved in the ongoing electioneering campaign in the state to join hands with him in calming the political temperature of the state in order to ensure a peaceful and fair election on November 6, 2021.
Earlier, there were reports that gunmen ambushed the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, at the APGA rally at Odoata Primary School, in Ihiala.
It was gathered that the gunmen engaged the governor’s security guards, including the APGA candidate in the November poll, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, in a shootout for about one hour.
According to a source, five of the gunmen were killed while a soldier lost his life in the duel.
A source said, “A combined team of policemen and soldiers this afternoon repelled an attack by unknown gunmen at Odoata Primary School, Ihiala, where the All Progressives Grand Alliance was scheduled to organize a campaign rally for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
“The gunmen came on various motorcycles and in three vehicles, namely, a Toyota Lexus 350 ES with registration number EKY 765 EX, Toyota RAV4 with number JJJ 434FP and a Ford van whose number could not be ascertained because it caught fire during the exchange of bullets between the gunmen and security forces.
“The gunmen, unable to withstand the superior firepower of the soldiers and police officers, quickly ran into the large premises of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, which is directly opposite the campaign ground.
“They suffered serious injuries, even though they managed to shoot a gallant soldier”.
“If the gunmen had not run into the hospital which is a very delicate place to shoot any person, the security men would have gunned all of them down”.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the incident.
He said,” Exhibits recovered include one AK 47 rifle; two magazines with 30 rounds of ammunition; one Lexus 350 SUV, one Rav4 SUV, one Mercedes Benz and a Toyota Corolla.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the hoodlums started shooting indiscriminately while arriving Odata Central School but they were successfully repelled by police operatives and the military on ground.
“Normalcy has been restored and operations are ongoing in the area for possible arrest of fleeing gang members.
Governor Obiano was said to have commended the police officers and soldiers who repelled the attack for their gallantry.
He described the response of the security men as professional and patriotic.
Soludo expressed sympathy for the innocent victims of the attack, pleading with every aggrieved person to lay down their weapon and opt for dialogue to resolve their grievances in the interest of the people.