A civic group, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) says the brutal assassination of former Political Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, on Sunday, May 30, has taken Nigeria’s political crisis to the next notch.
Gulak was killed by gunmen as he travelled from his hotel in Owerri to the city’s airport to board a flight back to Abuja.
He was in the Imo State capital as one of the consultants providing technical support to the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution.
The Committee held its zonal public hearings for some of the South East States (Imo and Abia) in Owerri on May 26 and 27.
Gulak remained in Owerri past Friday, May 28, when most of the Committee members had departed. It was on his return on Sunday, May 30, that he was killed.
The Nigeria Police in swift reaction to the killing, said that it had apprehended the assailants and that in a shoot-out, ten were killed, with a few others escaping.
Police also announced the recovery of vehicles used by the assailants in their operations, listing them as: one Toyota Camry 2005 silver colour, Toyota Sienna 1998 model, gold colour; Toyota Hilux, white colour and Lexus RX 330, gold colour.
According to the police, these details were given by the driver of the car that was taking Gulak to the airport.
The police displayed burnt and partially burnt bodies of the said assailants, with weapons well arranged on their bodies, as well as vehicles burnt beyond recognition.
Spokesman for the police, Imo State Command, Bala Elkana, a Superintendent of Police, in a statement said the assailants have been identified as members of the indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
According to PLAC, the police’s explanation of what happened and its announcement that it had killed the assailants has raised even more questions, with observers worried that a proper investigation needs to be conducted to get to the root of the matter.
But IPOB in a statement, stoutly denied any involvement in the killing, claiming that Ahmed Gulak is not a person of interest to them.
Following the incident, the South East Governors’ Forum, in a statement by its Chairman and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, called for the arrest of the perpetrators of the crime.
Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, also described the incident as an attempt to turn the North and South-East regions against each other.
The incident came just as IPOB declared a sit-at-home order for May 31 to honour fallen Biafran heroes in the Nigerian civil war.
An order the government and security agencies had countered, asking citizens to go about their regular activities.
”This has heightened tension in the region, particularly in Imo State being the hotbed of clashes between members of IPOB, the ESN and security agencies”, PLAC says.