By Dons Eze PhD
We woke up last Monday to hear that "unknown gunmen" in a guerrilla style operation, had attacked the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Prison, raized scores of vehicles there, and freed detained inmates in their various facilities numbering about 1,800.
We were thrown aback, overawed, surprised, and dumb-founded at such an horrific incident. Who did it, and for what purpose?
We had hardly done with our question when, in a supersonic manner, the just sacked Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, jumped to the conclusion that those who carried out the Owerri attacks were operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, the security arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Like his brother, Danladi Umar, the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, who took a Plateau State indigene that confronted him at a popular plaza in Abuja to be "a Biafra boy", Mohammed Adamu, former Inspector General of Police quickly concluded that the Owerri incident was carried out by "IPOB/ESN operatives".
According to him, "the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns, GPMGs, Sub-Machine Guns, SMGs, AK-49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades, RPGs, Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, /Eastern Security Network, ESN."
But in a swift reaction, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, distanced itself from the Owerri attacks on Police and Correctional Service headquarters. Its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said in a statement that the group was formed on the principle of peace and would not compromise its principles.
According to him, “The attention of IPOB has been drawn to the fallacious and fabricated reports that it is involved in the attack of prison and police headquarters in Imo. IPOB and Eastern Security Network, ESN, are known groups, not unknown gunmen. ESN is in the bush chasing terrorists and has no business with the said attacks.
“We were not involved in the attack in Owerri and the recent attack on Onitsha-Owerri road at Ukwuorji junction. It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison
facilities,’’ he categorically stated.
Why is it that every ugly thing that happens in Nigeria must be blamed on the Igbo? In other words, why are most Nigerians so anxious to give the Igbo bad name in order to hang them? Why are Nigerians so obsessed with Igbophobia? Why are they having mindsets fixated against the Igbo, attributing every bad thing in Nigeria to the Igbo?
In his book, "The Trouble With Nigeria", Chinua Achebe lamented that the only place where all Nigerians were united was in their hatred of the Igbo. According to him, "Nigerians of all other ethnic groups will probably achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo".
Thus, while the former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for more than two weeks, was still investigating the killing of scores of people at Egedegede in Ebonyi State, and some other people at Adani, Enugu State, in less than 24 hours, he had investigated and established that those who attacked the police headquarters and the Correctional Prison in Owerri, Imo State, were IPOB/ESN operatives. A very brilliant cop, with superlative performance! We hail him.
Look at the speed with which the Nigerian federal government had proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra, and declared it a terrorist organization, while members of the Miyetti Allah and Fulani herdsmen men who terrorize and kill innocent Nigerians have been walking the streets and bushes all over the country without let or hindrance.
This year alone, both the Nigerian military and the police, have been bombarding innocent people of Imo State for the simple reason that members of the Eastern Securuty Network, ESN, were operating in the bushes, smoking out criminal elements hiding in these places, but who have been making life miserable for the people.
We have no doubt that last Monday's Owerri incidence was self-infliction by the security agencies, contrived to find reason to make the South East a troubled spot, so that they could easily descend on the people the way they would want. That was why Mohammed Adamu hurriedly concluded that the attack was carried out by IPOB/ESN.
The question then is, why was it that in spite of the heavy weapons which the former IGP claimed that the attackers had used in the operation, no single casualty was recorded on both sides during the three hours that the attack lasted? Report also had it that no single police vehicle was destroyed during the incident, but only vehicles belonging to ordinary citizens, parked in the area, that were burnt, no doubt, by those who planned the operation.
So, for Mohammed Adamu and his cohorts, it was easy to import the name IPOB/ESN into their cowardly act. But this could not sink properly. Perhaps, that was why the man was sacked as Inspector General of Police while he was visiting his bungled operation in Owerri. Like the religious people would say: "Back to sender", and for the Igbo people: "Obialu egbum, gbuo onwe ya".