Gunmen, at about 10pm on Monday, attacked St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, killing its security man.
The ugly incident took place some hours after the state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, attended a church service held in the same cathedral. It was staged to mark the end of the sit-at-home order observed every Monday in the South East and parts of South South.
Religious and traditional leaders in the South East geopolitical zone had, in collaboration with the Anambra State Government, resolved to hold a special church service across the region, on Monday, to seek divine intervention on the increasing level of insecurity in the region.
It was also to officially end the observation of the sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Soludo had, during his inaugural speech after he was sworn in as governor, revealed that the South East loses billions of naira every Monday because of the ghost town observation.
He lamented that Anambra alone loses about N19.6 billion even as many businesses have relocated to other states. He said that the bulk of the money generated in the state comes from artisans who are largely badly affected by the ghost town order.
“A significant part of our state economy is powered by artisans, Keke drivers, vulcanizers, hairdressers, cart pushers, petty traders, bricklayers, women frying akara, and all those who depend upon daily toil and sweat to feed their families.
“Every day, there is a “sit at home”, these poor masses lose an estimated N19.6 billion in Anambra alone. Due to the protracted breakdown of law and order, businesses are relocating outside Igbo land, with growing unemployment, and traders who used to come to shop in Onitsha, Aba, etc are going elsewhere,” Soludo lamented.
Determined to halt the observation of the sit-at-home order, Soludo urged market leaders to open various markets in the state on Mondays. He also ordered government workers to be at their duty posts on the same day.
Sources in Ekwulobia told Daily Sun that the gunmen fired several shots in the air before fleeing from the scene. One of them said that there were bullet holes on the cathedral’s gate.
“Soludo attended mass in the church around 11am. But around 10:05pm at night, we heard gunshots in the church area.The gunmen killed a security man in the cathedral. They shot him in the stomach,” he said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the incident, but said that the gunmen did not specifically target the cathedral. He said that they only released gunshots along the road to scare residents of the area.