Killings in Anambra State as the gubernatorial election drew near last year were spearheaded by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha has alleged.
Although it coincided when the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) was enforced, killings of prominent Nigerians in the South-East heightened after the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the separatist group.
Security agencies repeatedly accused the group’s paramilitary arm, Eastern Security Network (ESN) of being responsible for the attacks but its spokesman, Emma Powerful, severally pushed back the allegation.
On Tuesday, Oguwike Nwachuku, the Chief Press Secretary to Imo State governor named Mr Okorocha and his son-in-law Uche Nwosu of sponsoring kidnappings and banditry in the state.
Responding to the allegations, Mr Okorocha who addressed newsmen on Wednesday denied responsibility and named his successor as sponsor of violence in the state and neighboring Anambra, particularly prior to the November 6, 2021 exercise.
The Imo West lawmaker who said the governor maintains a killer squad known as Hopism Security Forces (HSF) challenged Mr Uzodinma to name the killers of Ahmad Gulak, a former presidential aide and prominent traditional rulers killed last year.
According to Okorocha, HSF is made up of security operatives and operatives of the South-East Security Network popularly known as Ebubeagu.
“Mr. Governor should tell the world, who killed Gulak,” he dared. “Who killed the traditional rulers? Who killed the 140 people? Who beheaded those beheaded and displayed their heads as if they had won trophy?
“He hired some criminals to implicate Uche Nwosu, my son-in-law. I have taken it as matter of honour to let the world know what is happening in the state. The governor goes to Abuja to tell Mr. President lies. I know Mr. President as one whose integrity is not questionable and he would not listen to those lies perpetrated by Uzodimma.
“The governor goes with killer squad anywhere he goes. He was made the chairman of APC governorship campaign committee in Anambra State and there were killings there. Since the Anambra election was concluded, there has not been any killing there. And in Imo State, since those he sent to abduct Uche Nwosu in the Church had been unmasked, no killing has been recorded in Imo.”
The lingering political battle between Governor Uzodinma and his predecessor has heightened in recent days following the arrest of the latter’s son-in-law during a church service in December by masked Police officers believed to be working for the state government.
The officers fired gunshots in the church and reportedly assaulted Nwosu’s wife and other relatives during the arrest.