The pan-Igbo think tank Nzuko Umunna has condemned attacks on the Police Command Headquarter and Nigerian Custodial Centre, both in Owerri, Imo State, last Sunday, by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday by its Secretary-General, Paschal Mbanefo and Coordinator, Ngozi Odumuko, said it was saddened by the news of the attacks, wanton destruction of public assets and reported death of one fleeing inmate of the correctional centre.
While noting the prompt directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to all security and intelligence agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the attackers, the group, however, said it considered the statement by the immediate past Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, accusing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of the crime as hasty.
“Nzuko Umunna considers as hasty the statement by immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, that the attackers are members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN).
“This is more so 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).
“The level of sophistication of these arms and ammunitions calls for a more holistic and dispassionate forensic investigation in line with global best practice and devoid of name-calling or scapegoating.
“Accordingly, we call 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.
“The need for an in-depth investigation 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,” the group observed in its statement.
On the Ebonyi killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen, Nzuko Umunna said it was worried at the seeming tardiness in investigation of the killings and urged the acting Inspector General of Police to display the same level of speed and commitment shown by his predecessor in the preliminary assessment of the Owerri attacks in unravelling the masterminds of the killings.
It noted the dire security situation in the entire country and advised the Federal Government to “rejig its security architecture in order to arrest the fast descent into anarchy.”
The group called on the South East Governors Forum (SEGF) and the states’ lawmakers to immediately revisit the popular quest for a regional security framework towards safeguarding the citizens against bandits, kidnappers and killer herdsmen, saying, “This has become more urgent in light of the heinous killings in Ebonyi State among others.”