By Ori Martins
The gun attack on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, last week, has appropriately sent shivers down the spines of politicians across the country.
Gunmen suspected to be hired assassin, last week, attacked Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, at Enugwu-Ukwu community in Njikoka Local Government Area in Anambra State. Ubah represents Anambra South Senatorial district in the National Assembly.
The gruesome attack, besides psychological or emotional breakdown, did not harm Ubah, but caused the death of five persons in his convoy, including two policemen and three aides.
Following the unrestricted manner the assassins smoothly carried out the heinous ambush on Ubah, virtually most politicians in the country, particularly the Southeast, now move about with heavy police or armed security escorts.
Investigation carried out by Business Hallmark noted that some politicians who do not have bullet proof vehicles, and are yet to secure armed police escorts have besieged their respective state police commands across the country for authentications and approvals to that effect.
“It appears that the attack on Senator Ubah has aroused the consciousness of politicians across the country about personal security. In the last one week or there about I can tell you the number of Nigerians, particularly politicians seeking for armed police protection has increased astronomically”, an police source said in Awka stated.
It was gathered that besides seeking for armed security protection, the rich and politicians have equally moved for other protective devices like bullet proof vehicles, bullet proof vests, trained security dogs and close circuit television (CCTV).
An Owerri based security consultant and the managing director of ViewBest Security Enterprises, Mr. Ilo Tony, revealed that there had been increased demand for security gadgets, surveillance and protection by politicians in the Heartland state since the reported attack on Ubah about a week ago.
He said; “From our records and going by the number of sales we are making now in terms of products demand, I can confirm to you that there has been an astronomical increase of our products in the last one week.
“In fact, since the reported attack of Ubah in Anambara State, people have been coming to buy our security equipment. Those who are trooping in here are mainly from Anambra, Abia and, of course, Imo states.
“They demand for trained dogs for their homes and offices; they demand for trained security guards and they ask how they could purchase bullet proof cars and bullet proof vests. I am not telling you that we were not having demands and sales in the past but the number has increased more than 50 per cent”.
As a matter of fact, there are revelations that some social, cultural, political as well as religious events scheduled in some parts of the country in the last one week, especially in the South East could not hold because of fear of being attacked by gunmen.
Pastor John Michael Udo, the general overseer of the Heavenly Gospel Church, Okigwe Road, Owerri, said more than three big personalities have called him to put off an already scheduled programme in the church.
According to him; “I do not want to mention names but about two or three of my church members who are based in Lagos and Abuja have called me to cancel indefinitely dates already announced for some programmes billed in the church. This is baffling.
“But if you take an unbiased look about it from all the perspectives, you will agree with me that they have genuine reasons. I think, all of them have their roots in the attack, not long ago, on Senator Ubah in Anambra State”.
One factor that really confirms the fear gripping Nigerians politicians is their failure to freely associate with the very particular people they come to canvass votes from when they start campaigning.
“What I have really observed in Abia State with special reference to Aba and Umuahia, is that since Ubah was attacked and few of his aides, including his security details, died, politicians are now running helter skelter on how to be protected by armed security personnel.
“Even as we talk, the office of the Abia Police Command is stuffed with all manner of politicians who have gone to the place to look for police protection. The funny thing about it is that when the politicians want to seek for our support, our votes, they were coming to us before Ubah was attacked.
But the moment they are elected, they will almost immediately use fierce looking armed security men, sometimes police and army, to surround themselves in order for us not to get to them any longer. This is bad. It sad”, Chikwe Kanu, an Aba based businessman stated.
In spite of the assurances by spokesperson of the state police command, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, that the force would unravel how the attack on Ubah was carried out and even promised that the public would be protected, the politicians in the South East are still very much cowed.
According to him “Yes, there was an attack at Enugwu-Ukwu today, but the casualty figure is not clear. As I speak to you, the CP has personally led a team of men to the scene, and normalcy has been restored”. He said he would inform the journalists on the findings of the command as soon as possible.
Although the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has been moving about with heavily armed mobile police and army escorts in his official convoy, he was still touched and shocked following the assassination attempt on Ubah.
In a release made available to journalists in Owerri, Uzodimma enthused that Ndigbo must unite to fight insecurity. This is against the backdrop that he had even set up a security network known as Ebubeagu which has attracted public opprobrium.
Uzodimma said; “That is the danger of allowing non-state actors to operate freely. Ifeanyi Ubah is one of our best, a big philanthropist in the South East. He has helped so many people. Surprisingly, I don’t know how any sensible human being will want to eliminate a philanthropist like him. It is so painful and a sad story to hear.
“However, it has become necessary for the political elite to unite and secure the environment. One governor or speaker can’t do it, it needs the efforts of every stratum to join forces to protect this society.”
Former governor of Anmabra State and the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, in what could be termed “shocked to his nerves” described the attack as wicked and evil, insisting it was a huge setback to the peace that had already been restored in the state. His remarks clearly showed a politician who would most likely beef up his security details, at least anytime he is in the South East.
Although the minister appealed to the people not to entertain any fear, his shaking voice of condemnation of the attack belied his admonition to the masses. “We are deeply concerned about the activities of armed groups in the region and other parts of the country.
“The nation has lost four brave policemen and other aides of the senator. On behalf of the government and the people, we pay our respects to these security men and the aides who were brutally murdered. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time.”
“It is certainly a setback at a time many had thought reprieve has come from the dreadful darkness that lately enveloped our dear state.
Ubah in his reaction said he was fatefully lucky to have survived the attack.
“Senator is down both psychologically and emotionally. He has been asking, ‘why me? ‘why me’? ever since the attack on him. He cannot understand why, upon all his humanitarian and philanthropic gestures to the masses, somebody would still conceive to perpetrate this evil attack on him”, an aide to the chief executive officer of Capital Oil who does not want his name in the public space revealed.
Ubah had kept to himself until he eventually spoke to journalists about the sad incident which claimed some lives of his aides. In an emotionally laced voice,
Ubah expressed sadness at the death of his security aides from the Police and Department of State Services. He, in particular, mentioned two of the murdered aides, who he pointed out “were very close to his heart”, as Obum Ikechukwu and Goodness Mathias.
Understandably, he did not entertain much questions as he prayed to be allowed to mourn his men that died.
There was even more worries and concerns when the Anambra State Police Command eventually confined that five persons were killed in the failed assassination attempt on Uba.
The state Police spokesperson, Tochukwu Ikenga, revealed those killed were two policemen and three civilians.