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IPOB’s reign of terror in Anambra must stop

Editorial, October 5, 2021

A wave of violence has been sweeping through Anambra State, so much so that security of lives and property is now under threat. Suspected members of the proscribed group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and other elements have unleashed terror across the state. This has adversely affected economic, social and cultural activities, just as it has grounded all political party activities including rallies and meetings.

Now, convoys, vehicles with siren or jeeps and trucks or branded with any political party logo or government inscription or number plate are targets. The development, which is causing fear among the people, who can no longer go about their legitimate businesses, could have a negative effect on the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state which is slated for November 6th.

On Sunday, the terror group attacked and burnt down the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) headquarters and the personal house of the All Progressives Congress (APC) member and Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Drainages and Sanitation, Mr. Joe Igbokwe in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Last Thursday, they targeted the convoy of the member representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Chris Azubogu in Nnobi area of the state, killing his driver.

The same Thursday, in Ajalli, the headquarters of Orumba South Local Government Area of the state, they burned down the police station and vehicles inside the compound, killing five policemen and blocking the federal highway along the town for hours.

Penultimate Tuesday night, Dr. Chike Akunyili, the widower of the late former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyili, was gruesomely killed in a point-blank range along with his driver and police orderly.

The same Tuesday, a Naval rating serving with the Navy Outpost, Onitsha, was killed at the Upper Iweka area of the commercial city while another person was beheaded at Obosi. Three policemen were also killed.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State said on Wednesday that between Sunday, September 26 and Wednesday, September 29, over 10 persons were killed in various areas of the state.

The situation in Anambra is totally unacceptable.  It is indeed unfortunate that life has become so cheap in Nigeria that barely a day goes by without a report of death, most of them avoidable. How do you explain the killing of over 10 persons in three days? This must stop.  It is not enough to bemoan these incidents, deliberate efforts must be made to arrest them. It is worthy of note that the South-east generally used to be relatively peaceful until the activities of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), an offshoot of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). This group has for some months now embarked on attacks of civilians and security forces, while destroying properties as well.  Though the IPOB has denied culpability and any involvement in the killings, this cannot hold as the group trained ESN in the use of small arms and light weapons. Now, it seems to have lost control and the foot soldiers have turned their guns on unarmed and non-violent civilian citizens, the same people they profess to fight for.

Moreover, on May 24, 2021, IPOB claimed responsibility and circulated the video of the attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities in Awka, state capital.

Also, their terror gangs have been declaring “No more elections in Anambra State,” which culminated in the attacks on elements of the electoral process. This affront on the people of Anambra State, the South-East region and Nigeria must be stopped immediately.

Government cannot sit back while lives are wasted. The act should be called by its name, terror and handled as such. All those behind these dastardly acts should be uncovered and dealt with according to the law.

The governor of Anambra State should work with the federal government and security agencies towards ending this crisis. Also, governors in the region should come together and make a deliberate effort towards putting a stop to the activities of this group. The Department of State Security (DSS) should step in. Non-state actors cannot be the determinants of whether elections will hold in a state or not.  Government and other stakeholders must note that not holding the elections as scheduled will lead to a constitutional crisis with a negative impact on the people, state and country. Therefore, everything must be done to stop this nonsense now.

The above Editorial was from Daily Trust,

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