One time most peaceful and secure State, Imo, has lost its glamour, colour and hospitality to insecurity as it is one day, one attack served with killings
While every an eye has lost sleep, with ears itching to know what must have transpired in Ehime Mbano where unknown Gunmen had attacked a police divisional headquarters, leaving in their trail, unfortunately, five dead policemen and one missing, this hour it is as though there is a war situation in Owerri.
People were seen running and scampering for safety with no known destination.
Culling from social media, unknown Gunmen were said to have engaged the military personnel guiding Ama-Hausa along Douglas Road face to face with non of them agreeing to blink for over Three hours now.
At about 9:15 pm, no vehicular movement could be seen around Weatheral Road through Douglas and Egbu Road junction by Fire Service Urban Divisional Police headquarters. The writer could only hear gun salutes at dangerous hour of the night.
The only thing, which even the deaf and dumb could feel are the clattering, chattering and tottering of the the barrels of guns singing in different strange frightening tunes.
An witness who spoke from a hiding said the situation was critically precarious as it is more like a war situation. “I have never seen this in my life. These unknown gunmen were shooting face to face with the army with no one ready to blink.
“We are stocked. We cannot move because stray bullets are dangerous. It is only with little light that we can see as the street lights are not illuminating enough. We pray for God’s protection and intervention.
Recall that Imo State government in its bid to neutralize the existence of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, alleging of a planned attack under the guise of attacking herders.
Channels TV quoted the Attorney General of Imo State, Cyprian Akaolisa, as saying the operation, which was conducted jointly with the police, was aimed at “clearing camps” said to have been built by the Eastern Security Network, a security arm of the pro-Biafra group, IPOB.
Mr Akaolisa, who briefed reporters on February 20, 2021 said the Nigerian Army was invited to Orlu by the Imo State Government.
He said “the state government got intelligence that IPOB was planning an attack against the Orlu people and the government, under the pretext of looking for herders in the communities”.
“The attacks on police stations and killing of policemen during #EndSARS were carried out by IPOB and not protesting youths for the sole purpose of hijacking and stealing weapons.
“They are now using those arms to destroy Orlu. They killed 10 policemen, a prominent Orlu son, Ignatius Obiezu, and one Emmanuel Okeke and collected their Hilux vehicles,” the attorney general said.
“There are no Fulani herdsmen in Orlu,”
Since that military onslaughts in Orlu against perceived members of IPOBLESN, rather than quell the brewing calamity, it has only quickened the dooms day as all security formations have had the bitter feel of bloody antagonism.
The latest that has also added to the already inflamed situation was the murder of the IPOB/ESN Commander, Ikonso by the a joint task force.
The launching of Ebubeagu has also brought about muscle flexing with the Governors insisting on Ebubeagu Security Network while IPOB is enjoying the support of World Igbo Congress. Meanwhile average Igbo man has bias for IPOB/ESN.
It is worthy of note that leaders in critical situations like this consult, use tact and diplomacy. A statistician, Kenneth Obi, has queried the competence and sincerity of the political class in Nigeria.
“If they are serious about the people, they should first consult widely before churning out policies. It is foolhardy to believe that South East leaders never cared about the wishes of their people. If they had, I don’t see anything difficult using tact to dialogue with IPOB. They are human beings and not spirits.
For others, fear of what becomes of the acclaimed Igbo defenders in the name of IPOB/ESN in the nearest future is a thing to be afraid of.
Issue of Osisikankwo and other dreaded elements that existed in the past are examples they put forward as they became uncontrollable, maiming and killing innocent people.
While IPOB had denied, but it was believed that the attack at the Governor’s country home cannot be far from a reprisal from their stable.
In their response, the murder of their Commander, the proscribed group had promised Uzodimma a pay back, which NewsTrack Nigeria had reported.
The tooth for tat law of moses may not have only applied here but immediately.
With the situation climaxing, one may wonder the reason for killing of eight security personnel and another five recorded in Rivers State. while the army has vowed to investigate the incident and go after the assailants, we cannot be sure of what becomes the state of things tomorrow.
For Imo State, the tradition of hospitality has taken the back seat while gun duel and killing games have become the only available entertaining dishes.
Owerri, so ghostly you have become and nightfall so long even as most people are losing patience for the breaking of the day.
Dialogue have been proposed by most leaders, Harmonisation of Igbo interest has also been canvassed, which Igbo leaders in diaspora has proposed while others have called for equity, fairness and justice in Nigeria. Can Igbo Presidency solve this puzzle?
Quo imus hinc et – Where do we go from here!