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Nwobodo's son, others shot in Enugu's Assembly violence

Posted by Webby on 7/26/2002 8:11:15 AM |

Nwobodo's son, others shot in Enugu's Assembly violence

THE crisis brewing at the Enugu State House of Assembly yesterday, turned bloody with sporadic shooting that led to injury of several people including Jim Nwobodo's son, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo.

Trouble started when the Ogbonnaya Asofwa-led faction, which had maintained that it had suspended the House Speaker, Mr. Abel Chukwu decided yesterday to hold its session which its members had consistently announced on the television.

But hell was let loose as the faction's members approached the entrance of the Assembly which had been under seal and occupied by many policemen, when thugs numbering over 100 and who had equally kept vigil around the premises, started shooting sporadically at them.

The shootings led to the legislators scampering for safety, even as the hapless policemen who manned the gates, equally took to their heels.

A Mercedes Benz car 300 CE belonging to Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbu, son of Igwe of Nara was completely shattered by bullets. Another Benz marked BX 10 Mus and Toyota Bk 85 ENU were also damaged.

When normalcy returned, the legislators went back, alleging that some of their members had been kidnapped by the thugs and insisted that they would go on with the planned session in spite of the earlier rampage.

They were, however, not allowed to enter the premises as the policemen at the gate, insisted that they were acting on a court order obtained by Chukwu restrained further sittings at the Assembly.

With the policemen insistence that the order of the court be respected the legislators sat on the floor, in front of the gate with a broken mace to conduct the session.

At the session, Chief Chijioke Aroh moved a motion for the indefinite suspension of Uchenna Igwesi, whom they accused of hiring the thugs that attacked Mr. Fraben Ugwu, who moved the motion for the Speaker's suspension.

The motion after being carried by the 14 legislators present, went further to set up a committee to investigate the thuggery in the state. The committee has Chief Chijioke Aro as chairman, Uche Anya and Callistus Nnamani as members. They adjourned sitting to August 1 and went back to Abuja, saying that the state had become so unsafe for opposition and truth.

Contacted later, Ifeanyi Nwobodo claimed that he was not on the premises but was passing around Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) when he was shot.

"I was passing through that path when someone shouted 'hey' and I turned. I saw him with a short gun, so he opened fire on my vehicle, shattering the glasses. Pieces of the glass caught me below the eyes while my cousin Oluchukwu Nnamani was shot in the arm," he said.

Reacting also, Chukwu in a press briefing, dismissed his colleagues as "clowns," adding that they dragged the reputation of the House in the mud by sitting on the floor.

In that conference also, Igwesi wondered why his colleagues, believed to be on the majority would not wait till August 20, to which he claimed, they had adjourned the house.

Earlier Asogwa had accused the police of complicity, saying that it was a shame that thugs advanced from behind the police lines, to shoot at them and they could not provide support.

"Even the journalists who came from Abuja to witness what is happening have all run away. Imagine in a civil society, for guns to be used by civilians. It is a shame, but we will sacrifice our lives for the cause," he said.

But, Police commissioner, Mr. Anyogo Daniel who was at the scene of the incident, denied that his men colluded with thugs, saying that they had already arrested six of the thugs.

On Wednesday, 14 out of the 24 members of the Enugu State House of Assembly, had gone to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) saying that they were on a 'Save Our Soul' (SOS) mission.

The 14 lawmakers said that they were sacked from the state legislative chambers by thugs allegedly hired by the State Executive.

Addressing the lawmakers, House of Representatives' Speaker, Ghali Na'Abba said that he was compiling a dossier on the alleged excesses of the government in Enugu. He further accused the police of colluding with executive officers to undermine democracy




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