IPOB denies involvement in Owerri prison attack; buhari blows hot from london as Ohanaeze Ndigbo sues for peace

However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday said its mandate and that of its security arm, Eastern Security Network, ESN, was not the attack on prison and police headquarters in any part of the country or any security agency, including Army, Navy and Air Force, let alone the ones in any Biafra State.

IPOB, however, mocked South-East governors who refused to set up security outfits to confront security threats to the people of the zone.

In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB denied its alleged involvement in the attack, saying it was not part of its mandate or that of ESN to attack security agents and their facilities, saying IPOB was formed on the principle of peace and is still on it since Biafra actualization was built on a peaceful approach.

IPOB said in a statement: “The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has been drawn again to the fallacious and fabricated news that IPOB and ESN are involved in the attack on prison and police headquarters in Owerri, Imo State.

“IPOB and ESN are known groups, not unknown gunmen. ESN is in the bush chasing herdsmen, so, why link IPOB and ESN to this attack?

“IPOB and ESN were not involved in the attack in Owerri Imo State and the recent attack on Onitsha, Owerri road at Ukwu-orji junction. It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities.

“The Nigeria government and its compromised media outfits should stop linking IPOB and ESN to the multiple attacks going on in Nigeria now.

“IPOB was formed on the principle of peace and we are still on it. Unknown gunmen are people we don’t know and they are not IPOB or ESN security outfit. If the governors or those accusing us know them, they should tell the world and go for their arrest.”

IPOB wondered why anybody will be linking it with the attack on Imo State headquarters of Nigeria Correctional Centre when the authorities at the centre had confirmed that there was no IPOB inmate in the centre that will warrant involvement of the pro-Biafra group in the attack.

I’ve ordered detailed investigation — Uzodimma

Speaking yesterday, Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, said he had ordered detailed investigation into the jail break that resulted in hundreds of inmates being freed after hoodlums attacked Owerri correctional facility.

Uzodimma spoke in Owerri yesterday, when he visited the Owerri Correctional Centre along Okigwe Road to see for himself the extent of damage.

He also visited Imo State Police Headquarters that was attacked by the same hoodlums.

He said: “I want to assure our people that the situation is under control. We are currently working with the security agencies to get to the end of the matter. Whoever has done this wants to put fears into our people.

“I have already ordered a detailed investigation into this ugly incident to find the perpetrators of this ugly incident. The lifeless body along Okigwe Road is not a result of gun shot. I think the body became unconscious as a result of shock.

“On Onitsha-Owerri road, I am not aware of any loss of life there. I have commissioned a comprehensive investigation into the causes of the action, with a view to finding a permanent solution to the matter. Until that is done, I don’t want to blame anybody.”

It’s an act of terrorism — Buhari

Reacting to the attacks yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari condemned what he described as “deadly insurgent attack” on the Police Command Headquarters and the correctional facility in Owerri, Imo State, calling it an act of terrorism.

President Buhari in his reaction contained in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, yesterday, commended the initial response by security guards and security forces for preventing greater loss of life and the destruction of public property.

“The President directed security and intelligence agencies in the state and the geo-political zone to fully mobilize and go after the terrorists, apprehend them and get them punished under the full weight of the law.

“He also called for the best efforts to be made to rearrest fleeing prison detainees, many of whom are believed to be deadly criminals,” the statement read.

President Buhari appealed to members of the public to assist law enforcement agencies with any relevant information that could lead to the apprehension of the criminals who perpetrated the despicable act.

He also urged members of the public to be vigilant, saying “all of us have a stake in preserving our way of life from disruption by terrorists and anarchists, while the Federal Government will use every available tool at its disposal to confront and terminate this bare-faced anarchy.”

Ikpeazu imposes curfew on Umuahia, Aba

In a related development, Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor, has imposed a curfew on Umuahia and Aba metropolis of the state between 10pm and 6am.

He said the decision was a result of security reports from multiple sources.

The governor did not give details of the security reports but said there was “need to continue to protect innocent citizens and residents of the state”.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo sues for peace

Peeved by the security challenges in the South-East, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has sued for peace over the killings in Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states, warning that reprisal attacks will aggravate the situation.

In a statement signed by the Chidi Ibeh faction, the group described as madness, the alleged killings of Northern traders in Imo State by people suspected to be members of Eastern Security Network, ESN.

The group urged the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum to restrain their people from reprisal attacks against Ndigbo residing in the North.

It called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to prevent reprisal attacks, stressing that drastic measures must be adopted to reduce the growing tension in the country.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemns the killing of Northern traders in Imo state as well as the massacre in Ebonyi State.

“There’s no amount of provocative actions sponsored by enemies against the East and North that will pitch the two regions into escalating tensions and war between them again since after 1970.

“The evidences on ground show that there are fears among both Northern communities residing in the East and Ndigbo residing in the North. We sue for peace both in the North and East. Urgent steps must be taken to prevent reprisal attacks both in the North and East,”the statement read.

The group disclosed that it had waded into the crisis by reaching out to various stakeholders in the Nigerian project, such as ethnic and religious leaders and other interest groups.

“We are in touch with various prominent leaders and groups in the country, especially in the North; the Arewa Chieftains and the Arewa youths on the alleged attacks on Northern traders.

“We sympathize with them. Even as investigations are still ongoing, we give assurances to Northern leaders that no Northerner doing genuine business will be molested again. We equally assure Ndigbo residing in the North to be calm as their security is guaranteed.”

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