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South East Unrest: Ohanaeze, Sen. Abaribe, Gov Uzodinma Condemn Attacks on Security Personnel, Facilities

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•Attacks on security personnel ‘unacceptable, ‘ FG must halt anarchy–Abaribe

•‘Desperate politicians, criminals posing as IPOB’ responsible–Uzodinma

•Unrest may jeopardize 2023 Igbo Presidency – Ohanaeze Youths

Jude Johnson

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South has described the recent invasion by unknown gunmen on correctional facilities in Owerri, Enugu and Ebonyi States; and the attack on security agencies, particularly the police, which is the first line of civil defense as “unacceptable and stands condemned.”

In an interface with the media on Wednesday, the lawmaker called for thorough investigation of the rising wave of attacks on police formations across the country, especially the ones that happened recently in the South East.

Senator Abaribe, who condemned the surge in violence in the South East, particularly the attack on the Correctional Centres urged the security agencies to dig in and unravel the motives behind the incessant attacks and apprehend the criminal elements to face the full weight of the law.

He also warned the federal government to rise up now and address the poor security situation in the country to prevent further slide into total anarchy, even as he said the time has come for sincerity and nationalistic approach by government to address the myriad of problems besetting the country, especially insecurity and poor management of the country’s diversity.

“The time for knee jerk approach and fixated mindset in investigation of criminal attacks by the security agencies has gone. It is not enough to be driven by a certain mindset, which has the tendency of foreclosing other probable leads and motives during investigations of very serious crimes like the ones we are currently experiencing.

“This time calls for deeper introspection and painstaking investigation by the relevant security agencies, so that we nip these dangerous dimension in the bud, if the country must be rescued from falling off the cliff,” Senator Abaribe said.

He condoled with the police and other security agencies that have come under attack of recent.

In a related development, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has in the wake of the heightened tension in the South-East, warned that the region’s chances of producing Nigeria’s next president may be under threat.

OYC issued the warning against the backdrop of the series of attacks being launched against government institutions, especially the police, in the region.

Recall that a correctional center and the police headquarters in Imo State, amongst others, recently came under massive attacks by hoodlums.

At least 1,844 inmates, among whom are said to be dangerous criminals, were freed when the hoodlums blew up the correctional center on Monday morning.

In its reaction on Wednesday, OYC accused Governor Hope Uzodinma of fueling some of the recent attacks witnessed in the state.

The group, in a Wednesday statement issued by its President General, Mazi Okwu Nnbuike, condemned the attacks on security formations in Imo as despicable.

It also warned that the security threats in the South East region could jeopardize the chances of an Igbo president in the 2023 presidential election.

Nnbuike accused Governor Uzodinma of acting a script of politicians whose ultimate aim was to truncate the 2023 Igbo Presidency

The group claimed that the governor’s alleged invitation of soldiers to quell the recent unrest in Orlu was responsible for the attacks being experienced in the state.

“we have a governor who has refused to learn from history, who has refused to learn that violent approach does not work in all circumstances.

“When he invited the military to Orlu we cautioned him but he was not ready to listen to anybody, now he is reaping the benefit of that singular action.

“All his actions since he became Governor of Imo State have been anti-Igbo, it has been clear from the blast of whistle that he is serving the interest of anti-Igbo elements and the ultimate aim is to make sure that an Igbo man does not become president in 2023.”

Earlier, the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, reacted to condemn Monday morning attacks on a correctional facility and police headquarters in the state.

Governor Uzodinma said he condemned “in strong terms” the attacks said to have been perpetrated by members of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) and its non-state regional force and paramilitary wing known as the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, had claimed that IPOB/ESN members were behind the attacks.

The assailants were said to have blown up the Imo correctional center with dynamites while also burning down several buildings and cars, including those of the state’s police command headquarters.

The attacks led to the escape of 1,844 prisoners, according to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).

But Uzodinma, in a statement issued late Monday, vowed to use his constitutional powers to fish out the perpetrators and ensure their prosecution.

His words: “I condemn in strong terms, the Monday wee-hours attacks on facilities belonging to the Police and Correctional Services in Owerri. The development is regrettable and I call for thorough investigation into the dastardly act.

“Criminal elements claiming to be members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), had attacked the Imo State Police headquarters and Owerri Correctional Services Centre with various degrees of dangerous weapons, destroying buildings, vehicles and other sensitive official materials and unlawfully setting free inmates which the authorities said were over 1800.

“The primary aim of the IPOB members who carried out the attack was to create fears in the minds of the people and at the same time, strive to secure the release of their fellow criminals in custody.

“However, the government is on top of the situation, fully aware that the primary reason government exists is the protection of lives and property of the citizenry.

“We are on top of the situation and there is no need for undue anxiety. I have met with the heads of security agencies in the state to evaluate the incident. I am confident that the situation has been brought under control as the plan of the perpetrators of the despicable atrocity which was to cause panic and fear in the State has collapsed already.

“Moreso, given the magnitude of the attacks, the damage done and sophisticated weapons deployed in the attack, I have directed that a comprehensive investigation into the situation be carried out with a view to establishing the faces behind the heinous crime.

“Therefore, I urge Imo citizens and visitors alike to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation as the government is abreast of the situation and will do all within her behest to protect the lives and property of residents.

“May I seize this opportunity to advise parents to rein in their wards and resist the temptation of being used as cannon fodder in a war of attrition being orchestrated by desperate politicians hiding behind criminal elements.”

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