By Akanimo Sampson
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio cultural organization of the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria is blaming Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State for the current security crisis rocking the state.
This is coming as aggrieved armed persons have again razed another police station in the state few hours after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and removed Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu left Owerri, the state capital.
The Igbo group says Uzodinma should accept full responsibility of violence perpetrated in Owerri on the early hours of Monday as he had serially failed to constructively pursue peace and instead opted for military action against peaceful Biafra agitators in Orlu.
In a statement by Ohanaeze factional Presidential General, Chidi Ibeh and Secretary General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the group described the attack on the state police command and Owerri correctional centre as a revengeful mission and well coordinated reprisal attacks against the state government in response to the governor’s acceptance of using military action and airstrikes against peaceful Eastern security network and IPOB members at Orlu.
The group urged Governor Uzodinma to tender apologies to Ndigbo for resorting to military action and incarceration of innocent people over the Orlu crisis.
“Ndigbo had previously warned Governor Uzodinma about the consequences of his impulsive actions against IPOB/ESN in appeasement of his paymasters. Governor Uzodinma acts before he thinks; now he has seen the consequences of such rash decisions.
“The pattern and uniformity of the modus of operandi of the perpetrators, show evidences of a well coordinated serial attacks in almost police stations in all Igbo states at early hours of each day with the sole targets of amassing ammunitions for the possibly full scale banditry in the South East geo-political zone.
‘’Those who attacked the Imo state police headquarters and the Owerri correctional centre also released their members incarcerated by Imo state Governor over Orlu crisis. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide calls for cease-fire; we remind the perpetrators that dialogue remains the best weapon of resolving conflicts and disputes”, the group said.
Ohanaeze warns that Eastern Nigeria will gradually become another North-East If political, religious and other stakeholders in the zone fail to join hands to nip the crisis in the bud, and accordingly called on the South-East governors to liaise with the Federal Government to de-proscribe IPOB and remove the terrorist tag on them.
“South-East governors must establish the regional security network with full backing of the law and engage the youths to defend our territories without further delay”, the group said
Osinbajo and other officials of the government, including Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola, had visited the state to inspect the level of damage on the burnt security facilities.
Gunmen burnt down Ehime Mbano Local Government Area Divisional Police Headquarters shortly after Osinbajo and Adamu left. It was gathered at the police station that the gunmen freed all suspects in detention before setting the Police Divisional headquarters ablaze.
It was also gathered that the gunmen operated without any resistance from policemen. A source said: “gunmen this evening razed Ehime Mbano LGA police divisional headquarters. On arrival, the gunmen carrying guns freed the suspects before wrecking the havoc.”
Though Imo Police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, said he was not briefed on the incident, a senior police officer, who craved anonymity, said the Command’s hierarchy was saddened by the latest development.