Attacks on security officers in Southeast: We’re not responsible, IPOB, MASSOB insist
• Ohanaeze Condemns Action, Preaches Peace
Who is killing security officers in the Southeast? Why have security officers and their establishments suddenly become targets for invading gunmen, who disappear with their rifles? What are the motives of those behind the attacks and how far do they intend to go?
These and many others are perhaps the unanswered questions on the lips of many residents of the Southeast, as apprehension mounts over the attacks. While many have feared it could be a calculated attempt to lay bare the security apparatus in the zone and then launch an attack on the ordinary masses, others insist it could be a dress rehearsal towards this year’s Anambra State governorship election.
The fears have been heightened by the fact that no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, as both the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have denied involvement.
According to MASSOB: “We are a non-violent group and would not kill our own people simply because they are wearing Nigerian police or army uniforms to achieve Biafra.”
So far, the police in the zone have failed to make any arrests or gun down any of the attackers in what could help provide a lead to the development that is unsettling the southeast region.
Contacted on the development, the MASSOB denied involvement in the killings of security officers and burning of security facilities in the zone.
National Leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, who condemned the act, insisted that it was not healthy for Igboland, stressing that those behind it were doing so to create the impression that Igboland was not safe for investment.
He stated: “There is no need for this; we don’t need to engage in war to achieve Biafra. We condemn what is happening in totality and ask security agencies to rise to their responsibility. These people whoever they are should take their fight to the government and stop destroying public institutions.
“We think that politicians are behind these people because of the inefficiency in governance, but whatever their grievances are, should be channeled to the government.
“Some of the policemen killed are Igbos and these are also Biafra people. So, why would MASSOB, a non-violent group be part of the killing of Igbo people? It is not possible and we will never be part of anything that can cause violence in the country. Our approach has been civil not force,” he said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesperson for IPOB, Emma Powerful, failed. But an official, who craved anonymity, insisted: “IPOB is a non-violent group and has not been carrying arms. They should go and look for the people killing their security officials, not our members. When they arrest them, we shall confirm where they are coming from.
“You must also know that IPOB set up the Eastern Security Network (ESN) to protect lives and property. We cannot be seen as taking the lives of the people we are meant to protect. Igboland has long been invaded by those who think they have right over others.”
On its part, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, condemned the development, saying it was a serious dent on the peaceful disposition the Igbo had maintained for sometime.
Ohanaeze, however, insisted that the orgy of killings of security officers and attacks on their facilities was part of the system failures being suffered in the country.
Wondering how a country that had jettisoned fairness, truth and justice can exist in peace, the organisation stated that restructuring and giving each zone equal sense of belonging were the solutions to the current security challenges, adding that the Igbo should be allowed to produce the next President.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Chiedozie Ogbonna, told The Guardian that until the country’s leadership embraced justice, fairness and truth in its dealings, the people would continue to agitate in various ways to show their anger.
He stated: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemns this new onslaught on Igboland and calls on those responsible to desist. But we want to add that nothing can work in Nigeria with the level of injustice going on.
“The extreme victimisation and exclusion of Ndigbo in the scheme of things is an issue that will continue to create problems. Let them allow the Igbo to produce the President and restructure the country in such a way that will give everyone equal opportunity. Otherwise, these things will continue.
“A situation where a chief executive of a state is not in charge of security, how do you expect things to work well? Our leaders know the truth, but have refused to do the right things for the country to work.
“The way positions are zoned, regardless of merit and competence, is worrisome. It is skewed against a particular segment of the country and you think there will be peace?”
On fears that the current attacks on Police and security facilities and personnel could lead to militarisation of the Southeast, Ohanaeze said it would not be surprised if that happens, warning, however, that government should not unleash mayhem on innocent people on account of the development.
“They did it in Orlu recently, they did it in Abia State sometime. As much as we condemn what is happening, they should seek solutions to it with human face,” he said.
Earlier, after visiting some affected areas, including Orlu, President General of the organisation, Prof. George Obiozor, said: “Our position is that no matter how bad Nigerian problems may be, only peaceful solution will be best to guarantee Nigerian unity. This can be achieved through a restructured, renegotiated, decentralised or through power devolution.
“On the other hand, use of force, intimidation or violence will be a national catastrophe, which should be avoided. Use of violent method will lead to a synchronised national crises and ultimate disintegration of Nigeria. This too must be avoided.
“Those who preach or prefer military solution to Nigerian problems are today, equally as a threat to Nigerian unity as those enemies they are fighting.”
Obiozor cautioned those behind the attacks, saying: “Nigeria is in a precarious situation and a great caution must be taken by the leadership to avoid events that have the capacity of incrementally aggravating or opening more theatres of national crises. Insecurity in the country is real and must be treated as a matter of national emergency.”
Coordinator of Concerned Citizens for Good Governance, Duru Daniels, condemned the attacks, warning that such acts could lead to anarchy.
He urged the civilian populace to see the security agents as those protecting them and not enemies, adding: “We are appealing for understanding. There is no meaning and reason for constant attacks on the Police and military. Those doing so should desist henceforth.”
The Guardian investigation indicates that no fewer than 14 Police officers have been killed in the region in the last three months in over 10 attacks launched at different times, either at the security checkpoints or Police stations in Abia, Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states, while Enugu remains the only state without a tale in that direction.
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