Eight days after the mindless killings of worshippers at the St Philips Catholic Church, Amaka, Ozubulu in Anambra State, some suspected gunmen, on Sunday, shot dead a policeman and a civilian near the Assemblies of God Church, Oguta Road, Onitsha in the state.
The development came just as a three- storey building collapsed in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Sunday killing four persons on the spot.
An eyewitness said that the gunmen had stopped near the church, adding that on sighting some policemen at the church, they opened fire on them. The source also said the attackers made away with the rifle of the slain policeman.
He said, “When the firing became too hot, the policemen abandoned their patrol vehicle and ran away for safety. The gunmen moved to their patrol van and took a gun belonging to the policeman they killed.”
But the eyewitness said he could not identify the number of armed men involved. Another eyewitness said: “Gunmen on Okada (motorcycle) shot a policeman and collected his rifle. They also shot dead an Okada man while escaping and the passenger he was carrying was injured.
“The policeman was the one armed among his colleagues; they were providing security while church service was going on at Assemblies of God Church, Oguta road Onitsha”. Reacting to the incident, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, Mr. Garba Umar, confirmed the incident to journalists.
Umar said it was not an attack on the church, adding that the gunmen took away a rifle belonging to the slain cop. He said, “My men were on patrol near the church when they were attacked by some gunmen. It was not an attack on the church in the real sense of it.”
The Daily Times recalls that unknown gunmen on August 6, 2017 attacked worshipers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, killing no fewer than 13 persons and injured 27.
Our correspondent also reports that those who died in the three storey building that collapsed in Owerri on Sunday included a year and six months old girl, Osinachi Nnabu, a three-year-old boy identified as Amara and two other persons whose identities were yet to be ascertained while three out of the seven survivors wounded were in coma as of the time of filing this report.
According to an eyewitness, the parents of a year and six months old child, Mr. and Mrs. Dominic Nnabu and one Sunday Uzohor, who sustained minor injuries were not taken to the hospital as they were said to be in stable conditions. Two corps members and one Anoruo whose full identity could not be ascertained were trapped in the building and were unconscious as medical doctors at the police clinic, Owerri, were said to be battling to save their lives.
It was gathered that the two Corps members were sleeping in the same room when the building collapsed in the dead of the night. The rescue of the Corps members took eight hours as they were buried in the ground by the building, and they were still breathing when they were finally rescued. One of the survivors, Uzoha, who spoke to reporters, said that there was nothing that showed that danger was lurking, saying that it was by the grace of God that he survived.
But Mr. Dominic Nnabu, the father of one of the dead children, said that it was by God grace that himself and his wife survived, adding they were barely two months old in the collapsed building.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Chris Ezike, said that preliminary investigation showed that the tragedy was as a result of unprofessional construction work by the engineering them. Ezike assured that with the level of destruction and loss of lives, the Command would prosecute all those involved in the disaster.
The officer in-charge of police clinic in the state, Bose Salami, confirmed that two children and two adults died in the incident. She also confirmed that two Corps members and one Anoruo were being treated in the medical clinic.
A representative of the state chapter of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Kingsley Onwubiko, told reporters that investigation had revealed that the tragedy was as a result of unprofessional approach.
According to him, the building was an old one which its owner against professional guidelines decided to build three storey building on top of it which led to its collapse. He said that his association would collaborate with the security agencies to make sure that the culprits did not escape justice.