The Southeast has recently become the new location for surprising violent attacks and has witnessed a few instances of insecurity, which have left their mouths open and also raised a question mark over security claims in the region.
From Ebonyi to Abia, from Anambra to Imo, there has been one form of bloodletting or another. In Ebonyi, invading gunmen entered a community and killed innocent and helpless people, including women and children, in the most gruesome way imaginable.
In Abia, the same security concerns persisted with pockets of killings, interspersed with robberies and attacks on security guards and their facilities.
The attacks in Imo and Anambra states, which only took place a few days earlier, can be described as the most brazen of security breaches.
In Anambra, an unknown number of armed men invaded the venue of a youth summit at Isuofia in Aguata LGA, where former central bank governor Professor Chukwuma Soludo, who is also an aspirant to the post of Governor of the Grand Alliance of Progressives (APGA) was already speaking. to over a thousand youths and opened fire, killing three policemen.
Previously, there had been cases of attacks and killings of security agents in the state as well as attacks on police stations.
In Imo, the mother of all attacks was led by yet-to-be-identified gunmen, who stormed the Nigerian Prison Service detention center in Owerri and engaged trained officers in a shooting match, subdued the men on duty and forced to open the prison, asking all inmates to “go home, Christ is risen for you”.
A bit of comedic relief you can tell, but over 1,800 convicted felons were released that day.
The recent wave of attacks has exposed the apparent threat that an yet-to-identify group has declared war on the area, either to make a point or to disrupt the peace in the area for unknown reasons.
The question, however, remained who is responsible, to what end are these attacks directed?
In Ebonyi, fingers pointed at Fulani shepherds for the gruesome murder of natives of a community in the state, Miyetti Allah, DAILY POST learned, did not disappoint at all, as he quickly admitted to the killings, describing it as a retaliation to a precedent. attack against them by the natives of the community.
The attacks in Anambra and Imo, however, were believed to have been orchestrated by the Biafra Indigenous Peoples’ Security Branch (IPOB), known as the Eastern Security Network (ESN), with speculation that he is perhaps no stranger to the usual wordy and boastful broadcasts of his leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The group and its leader, however, denied the allegations, saying the group’s non-violent stance had not changed. The group’s publicity secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful, said in a statement that the group was trained on the principles of peace and would not compromise or attack government facilities.
Powerful’s statement read: “IPOB’s attention was drawn to spurious and fabricated information that it was involved in the attack on the prison and police headquarters in Imo. IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN) are known groups, not unknown gunmen. ESN is in the bush chasing terrorists and has nothing to do with said attacks. We were not involved in the attack on Owerri and the recent attack on the Onitsha-Owerri road at the Ukwuorji junction. It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prisons. “
Despite these denials, the outgoing Inspector General of Police, Adamu Abubakar had insisted that the attack on the Owerri detention center was carried out by ESN, while also promising to deal with it.
There has, however, been a series of attacks on the old IGP and the blame on the ESN. Many have wondered how Adamu could have made such allegations when investigations had yet to begin.
Public affairs commentator Barr Innocent Adu, who spoke on a radio show in Awka, insisted that it was not wise for the former IGP to close before even opening a investigation. Adu said: “Is it because they are Igbos that the IGP found so easy to accuse them?” It’s been days since the Ebonyi community has been attacked by so-called shepherds, so did the IGP blame the shepherds? The answer is no. They said they had to investigate before concluding. So why can’t the IGP investigate the Owerri incident before concluding?
To make this even worse, IPOB’s sister organization in the secessionist candidacy, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), absolved IPOB of the attack, claiming instead that the attack came from outside to describe the area as a battlefield. . In a press release made available to DAILY POST to Awka, the head of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu accused the federal government of being responsible for the attacks in Igboland.
The group said it had discovered it through its intelligence service and that the aim was to portray the Southeast and the secessionists as terrorists or turning violent.
Part of Madu’s statement said: “MASSOB condemns the terrorist attack on Chukwuma Soludo in Isuofia, we also condemned the wrongful killings of indigenous citizens of Ebonyi state by Fulani terrorist shepherds, MASSOB condemned in its totality, the break-in of Owerri prison by the so-called stranger. armed men. Through intelligence agency MASSOB, we found out that all of these attacks are sponsored and executed by the Federal Government of Nigeria through their protected militiamen called bandits and unknown gunmen. Their main objective is to discredit pro-Biafra nonviolent freedom fighters like MASSOB and IPOB. They want to create the mistaken impression that the pro-Biafra agitators have turned violent and militant.
The group wondered that “Nigeria’s military cantonment, Obinze Owerri is a seven-minute drive from the scene of the crime, the MOPOL base in Imo State is a three-minute drive from the scene of the crime, but no resistance did not come from pro-Biafra agencies.
The terrorist attacks in Owerri are part of the destructive measures underway by the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari to discredit and blackmail pro Biafra organizations in order to create a mistaken impression that the Biafrans are at war with Nigeria, ”said Madu.
As the debate continues over who could be responsible for the series of attacks, fear in the region is now what will be the location of the next attack? Who would be the victims?
The security situation in the area has deteriorated to such an extent that the police and other security agencies with a mandate to protect the population can no longer provide this service, especially since they are the target of the attacks itself.
In Anambra state, DAILY POST learned that there is a new directive prohibiting police officers from wearing their uniform on the streets. This, we learned, is a measure to keep the police away from the attackers.
Also in Anambra, the State Police Command and its Nigerian Corrections (NCS) counterpart blocked roads through the State Police Headquarters and the State Detention Center, causing serious harm. incalculable difficulties for motorists and other road users.
The blockade is aimed at preventing attacks on the facility, as stern-looking police officers stand guard, ordering motorists and passers-by to take alternate routes. NCS Anambra State Command public relations officer Mr. Francis Ekezie said this was part of the attack prevention plan, saying other measures that could not be made public also had been taken by the NCS.
“You should know that before seeing the physical manifestation of security measures such as barricades of target points, other measures which are not always intended for public consumption have been put in place. All the security agencies are on the ground in places that you cannot easily read. Intelligence gathering and strategies are already on the ground. We are leaving no stone unturned to avoid external aggression, ”said Ekezie.
Anambra State Police Command Public Relations Officer DSP Toochukwu Ikenga said the barricades erected by the command were a way of stopping the attacks. “We just have to ask people to support us for now, but these things are very necessary. You also know that this barricade did not start today, but that we are strengthening it because of recent events.
Following the appointment of a new IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, residents of the southeast are waiting to see what could be done to restore known peace to the area.