By Romanus Okoye
A pan-Igbo sociocultural think-tank, Nzuko Umunna has condemned attacks on the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and Nigeria Custodial Centre both in Owerri, Imo State.
Nzuko Umunna while condemning the wanton destruction of public assets by the attackers and reported death of at least one fleeing inmate of the correctional centre; noted the prompt directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to all security and intelligence agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the attackers and the restraint displayed by the acting Controller General of Corrections, John Mrabure in his preliminary report on the incident.
The group however considered as hasty the statement by the outgone Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that the attackers were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN). “This is moreso when it is noted that Mr. Adamu listed several sophisticated weapons deployed by the attackers to include General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK-49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” it stated.
According to the group, the level of sophistication of these arms and ammunition call for a more holistic and dispassionate forensic investigation in line with global best practice and devoid of name-calling or scapegoating. Accordingly, the group called on the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba to adopt an entirely different, inclusive and sustainable approach in tackling the security challenges to ensure that government unearths the real masterminds of these wanton attacks and meets its primary duty of securing lives and property in the South East and Nigeria generally.
In a statement signed by Dr. Paschal Mbanefo, Secretary General and Mr. Ngozi Odumuko, Co-ordinator, Nzuko Umunna, the group stated the need for an in-depth investigation. “It has also become imperative in light of speculations that there may have been security lapses leading to near-absence of resistance from multiple security entities in the heavily fortified area. There is a need to unravel the seeming tepid resistance offered by the security operatives in order to determine any complicity in the attacks and avoid recurrence.
“Nzuko Umunna is worried at the seeming tardiness in investigation of the Ebonyi Killings, and urges the Inspector General of Police to display the same level of speed and commitment shown in his preliminary assessment of the Owerri attacks in unraveling the masterminds of the killings.
“We note the dire security situation in the entire country and urge the Federal Government to rejig its security architecture in order to arrest the fast descent into anarchy.
“Nzuko Umunna urges the South East Governors Forum (SEGF) and the State Houses of Assembly to immediately revisit the popular quest for a regional security framework towards safeguarding the citizens against bandits, kidnappers and killer herdsmen. This has become more urgent in light of the heinous killings in Ebonyi State among others.”