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Gov. Orjiís attack: We ran into and through death -Witnesses

Posted by From CHIDI NNADI, Enugu on 2008/07/28 | Views: 2572 |

Gov. Orjiís attack: We ran into and through death -Witnesses

Witnesses in the last Tuesday armed attack on the convoy of governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji have narrated how the attack that left seven of the governorís vehicles riddled with bullets traumatized them.

Witnesses in the last Tuesday armed attack on the convoy of governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji have narrated how the attack that left seven of the governorís vehicles riddled with bullets traumatized them.

The Chief Information Officer to the governor, Mr. Jinanwa Azubuike, who was in the convoy that was going to Port Harcourt to pick the governor from the airport, told Saturday Sun in Umuahia that they had suddenly ran into the gang of robbers on the Umuahia-Port Harcourt expressway.

According to him, when they noticed the robbers they shot into the air to scare them, but instead the robbers returned fire in a more daring manner that made them scamper for safety.
Also speaking to Saturday Sun, the Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Mr. Ukoha Kalu, said the attack was not ordinary going by its intensity.

The encounter
That Tuesday morning about 7:45 am, we were heading for Port Harcourt to pick the governor but somewhere around a community called Ngwuitiekwe in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area, we saw some vehicles parked by the two sides of the expressway, indicating that something was wrong somewhere. We felt that if these were armed robbers if we shoot into the air they would run away, but we were mistaken.

As we tried to drive past them, we noticed that there was a roadblock and it was just like we ran into them. They were heavily armed, they had sophisticated weapons and they opened fire on us. The policemen with us tried to shoot back, but their firepower was overwhelming us and we had no other option than to run for safety.

Sighting the robbers
It was at a very close range. In fact, it was too close that we could not make a u-turn, and we could not go further either. There was confusion and everybody had to jump out of the vehicle and we scampered for safety.

Attire of robbers
No, they were dressed in mufti, but they had bulletproof vests, some of them carrying machine guns, and others having chains of bullets all around them.
In that confusion, we were not able to ascertain how many they were, but they were many, they were not less than 10.

Other vehicles attacked
It seems so, other vehicles were parked on the road and people knew there was something going on there, but in the confusion I wouldnít be able to say whether there was a bus they were robbing at that time. But our siren was on and they also knew that a convoy was coming. I can say they were ready for us.

As I told you, the robbers were heavily armed, there was one particular man that was carrying a Ghana-must-go bag and I am sure that it was stuffed with ammunition. So, we didnít have sufficient arms to withstand them. But our people shot some few bullets, but when they saw it was not something they could contain, they had to run too.

Damaged vehicle
I am not exactly sure, but about seven vehicles were damaged. They were some that couldnít move because when we ran away, they came and deflated the tyres and shot the vehicles, some of the windscreens where shattered and the vehicles riddled with bullets.

They were shooting at us but everybody tried to escape. And when we were in the bush we still heard their gunshots for over 30 minutes, later when the sound subsided, we knew that they had gone and we came out.

Happy to be alive
I gave thanks to God because it was a very close shave. We were all happy that nobody was killed in the process.

I am not sure that the robbers stole anything from the vehicles. It was the villagers who really came later to ransack the vehicles and took all our belongings away. We lost quite a good number of valuables, some lost their phones, computer sets, TV camera while some lost cash. Some of the entourage who didnít run too far into the bush said they saw when some boys came to the vehicles to open them to make away with our items.

ÖUkaoha Kalu speaks
Seriously speaking every attack causes traumatic injury to the heart and psyche of the people involved. It is only people who have not experienced this kind of situation that will think it was mild. It was a most devastating experience we had and the lesson we had from there will be a long-life experience.
There were about seven vehicles in the convoy that was attacked and riddled with bullets. If you see the vehicles you will know that these people meant business.

I donít know what you mean by overpowering them because when somebody lays an ambush, he surely has an edge. An Igbo dictum says that: "surprise blunts the heroís prowess". The truth is that we ran into and through a death trap. There is hardly any meaningful confrontation anyone in that circumstance would put up with killers who took you by surprise.

PPAís motto is: Prosperity and Security to the People. So, the government of Abia is committed to making sure that property and lives are secured in the state. Insecurity is a global thing, it is not localized to Abia alone. Especially, you know we have had problems with the Niger Delta states, which, of course, Abia State is part of. There are loose cannons so to speak, there are people who are just there looking for opportunity to perpetrate violence and you can imagine violence against a governorís convoy with siren. But when you see an ambush that heard the siren and did not run away you will know that it is not the everyday kind of robbers. We donít carry money in our convoy, so it was not an ordinary attack.

Nobody remains happy when told a sad story. The governor on getting this news knew it was an attempt targeted at him, probably to assassinate him and the members of the convoy. When you see the pictures of the incident you will know that it was no childís play. But we give God the glory that no life was lost.

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