Lawan, Northern Govs, Others Warn against Reprisal over Gulak’s Murder
•Killing negates Igbo custom, says Ohanaeze
Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu, Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the Northern Governors’ Forum, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, yesterday joined in condemning Sunday’s killing of a former Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Ahmed Gulak.
They also warned against allowing the killing of Gulak in Owerri to stoke ethnic tensions, appealing to people to allow the police and other security agencies to handle the case.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, distanced Ndigbo from the killing, saying the act negates Igbo custom.
Lawan, while reacting to the killing of the former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, described his assassination as one crime too many. He called for a swift investigation to bring all perpetrators to justice.
According to him, there can be no justification for the murder of a human being and fellow citizen.
Lawan, however, appealed for restraint on the part of those callling for revenge, saying they should allow the relevant authorities to serve justice on the matter as the injury of the crime was inflicted on Nigeria as a whole.
He condoled with the family and friends of the deceased as well as the government and people of Adamawa State over the incident.
The Northern Governors’ Forum also described the assassination of Gulak as most unfortunate.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, said in a statement in Jos that the murder of Gulak was a criminal act and should be treated as such.
He warned against insinuations and politicisation of the murder that could lead to further violence.
Lalong said the report by the police that they had identified and killed the suspected assassins should further be consolidated upon to enable security agencies forestall future occurrence.
In condemning the killing, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement by its spokesman, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, described the murder as “a death too many because of the wrong signal it had sent to the general public.”
It said the killing negated Igbo custom on how a visitor should be treated.
He added: “The Igbo custom places a very high premium on the wellbeing and hospitality of a guest” as the host would even “pay the supreme prize in order to protect the life of a guest.”
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, expresses great concern over the recent developments in the South-east of Nigeria; a zone noted for peace, tranquillity, hard work and smooth economic activities.
“Obiozor is saddened by the death of Ahmed Gulak. He described Gulak as an ebullient and sagacious achiever, a detribalised patriot whose active presence was felt in any gathering.
“Our heart goes to the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who has remained in deep mourning since the death of Gulak.
“Our sympathy goes to the immediate family of Gulak and the good people of Adamawa State for this calamity,” Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated.
On his part, Uzodimma bemoaned the way Gulak was assassinated, saying he did not deserve to die that way.
Uzodimma said in a broadcast that Gulak’s murder was a personal loss to him because he was both an invaluable brother and friend.
He also debunked claims that his convoy was attacked over the incident.
He said: “The death of this compatriot is a personal loss to me because he was an invaluable friend and brother whose sense of justice, fairness and uprightness endeared him to me. I was shocked to my marrows when the sad news of his callous murder was broken to me.”
The Arewa Youth for Peace and Security also described the killing of Gulak as political.
National President of the group, Alhaji Salisu Magaji, in an interview in Bauchi yesterday, cautioned Nigerians against giving Gulak’s murder ethnic coloration.
Magaji stated that Northern elders and leaders had been going to the South-east daily without any problem, adding that Igbo have also been going about their legitimate businesses in the North without any hitch.
He urged Nigerians not to allow the assassination of Gulak to be used to further cause division and disunity among them, adding that “the killing of Gulak is political, and should not be given any ethnic or tribal coloration.”
On his part, Ngige condemned the murder of Gulak, describing it as wicked, unwarranted and unnecessary.
In a statement by his Media Office in Abuja, the minister said: “It is not in our character as Ndigbo to shed blood for any reason and for any cause. Peace, consultation and accommodation are integral to our republicanism as a race. Ndigbo cannot afford to be linked to a senseless murder or any other action that can bitterly sour our relationship with our brothers from other parts of Nigeria. ”
Also reacting to the killing, a politician and businessman, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, appealed to Northerners to avoid revenge.
He described the killing as a cowardly act, adding that the development was a reprehensible conduct that could plunge the nation into further conflict.
He called for an urgent action to end ongoing killings in the country.
In a statement yesterday by his media office, Olawepo-Hashim said: “The murder is reminiscent of First Republic killings but appealed to Northerners to avoid any act of reprisal in this moment of grief.
“In this 2021, we should bear the pain as a sacrifice for national unity. We need no revenge action as the perpetrators of this evil act have been promptly apprehended and will certainly be brought to justice by the police.”