The politician, Oyibo Chukwu, was murdered along with an unnamed personal aide by assailants police suspect were operatives of banned separatist group IPOB and its militant wing ESN.
“The Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, CP Ahmed Ammani, fdc, has ordered the … manhunt of the subversive criminal elements, suspected to be IPOB/ESN renegades, who … ambushed and simultaneously attacked and murdered People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) members, and also attempted to attack the convoy of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate.”
The armed attackers stormed their target points in a tricycle and Hilux vehicle, the statement added.
The attacks are happening less than three days before Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi said in a tweet Thursday he was saddened to learn of the brutal murder of his party’s senate candidate.
More than 93 million Nigerians are registered to participate in the country’s general elections starting Saturday, but uncertainty hangs over voter turnout on polling day, with insecurity among the biggest concerns.
Separatist gangs have terrorized the southeastern region where agitations for a breakaway Biafra state have turned violent many times. In other parts of the country, marauding gunmen known locally as bandits have carried out mass kidnappings mostly for ransom.
Voting will not take place in more than 200 polling units across Nigeria, INEC says, because of concerns over security.
The Nigeria branch of Amnesty International has also condemned the killing, describing it as “horrific.”