Imo Attacks: Uzodinma Blames ‘Desperate Politicians, Criminals Posing As IPOB’
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has finally reacted to 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 WHISTLER reported earlier that the 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).
Governor 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.”