PAN-Igbo socio-cultural body Ohanaeze Ndigbo has blamed Governor Hope Uzodinma for the recent security breaches in Imo State that have among other things seen 1,800 prisoners released from Owerri Prison.
Yesterday, gunmen stormed the prison in Owerri after blasting their way in with explosives in an attack, which also targeted police and military facilities. This comes on the back of other lapses in security, including the murder of seven suya sellers of northern extractions in Orlu and Umuaka.
of late, Imo State has been the centre of a lot of clashes after Governor Uzodinma invited the military into the state to attack members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob). It appears that yesterday, the anger boiled over with the headquarters of the Imo State Police Command also attacked.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo the invasion of Orlu a few weeks ago by the Nigerian military at the invitation of Governor Uzodinma was responsible for the security crisis. However, Ohanaeze Ndigbo called for a ceasefire and reminded the perpetrators that dialogue remains the best weapon for resolving conflicts and disputes.
Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Ohaneze Ndigbo general secretary, said: “The uprisings, waves of violence and banditry in Imo State within the last 48hrs is a revengeful mission and well coordinated reprisal attacks against the government in response to the governor’s acceptance of military action and airstrikes against peaceful Eastern Security Network and Ipob members at Orlu recently. Ndigbo had previously warned Governor Hope Uzodinma of the consequences of his impulsive actions against ESN in appeasement of his paymasters.
“Consequently, Imo State governor should now accept the full responsibilities of violence perpetrated in Owerri in the early hours of Easter Monday. The pattern and uniformity of the modus of operandi of the perpetrators shows there is evidence of well-coordinated serial attacks on police stations with the sole targets of amassing ammunition for the possible full scale banditry in the southeast.
“However, the new dimension of the attacks at the Owerri correctional facility points that the perpetrators had equally released their members recently incarcerated by the Imo State governor over the Orlu crisis. Governor Hope Uzodinma should tender unreserved apologies to Ndigbo for his non-consultative military actions in Orlu and the incarceration of innocent people and rescind most of his unpopular anti-Igbo decisions and policies.
“Southeast governors must establish the regional Southeast Security Network to engage the youths to defend our territories without further delay with the full backing of the law. The EndSARS federal government Youth Empowerment Funds should be shared equitably in all the 95 local government areas of the southeast, while anti-open grazing laws must be uniformly enacted in all the southeast houses of assembly and signed into law by governors without further delay.
“Southeast governors should de-proscribe the activities of Ipob and persuade the federal government to remove the terrorist tag on them. The southeast will gradually become another northeast if our political leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders keep quiet as evil triumph before us, this is the best time to uproot these menace growing up in the east.”