Members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are deliberately attacking security formations in the South East to steal weapons in order to fight for the actualisation of the Biafra Republic, experts and security operatives have said.
Also, a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has described the assault on the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) and the police headquarters in Imo State as a sign of state failure, saying the federal government had allowed non-state actors to take charge.
Credible sources said the IPOB members who stormed Owerri, the Imo State capital in the early hours of Monday, and launched multiple attacks, started their journey from Onitsha in Anambra State and drove for over two hours at night.
It was learnt that the gunmen met resistance from soldiers at Ukworji along Onitsha – Owerri Express Way but overpowered the security operatives.
Two soldiers were said to have been killed while their vehicles were burnt by the assailants.
Another source said a high level security signal was ignored by the South-East governors, including the commissioners of police in the five states in the region.
“There was a signal from Abuja to the governors of Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu and Abia States.
“The commissioners of police in the states were also informed that members of the outlawed IPOB and their so-called Eastern Security Network (ESN) were planning to launch attacks.
“I think the leaders there must share part of the blame because they were told from Abuja that the miscreants would target security formations in order to get arms,” he said.
It was gathered that the assailants had made fruitless attempts to take over the Imo State Government House but were resisted.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has condemned the attacks, saying the primary intendment of the IPOB members was to create fears in the minds of the people and at the same time strive to secure the release of their fellow criminals in custody.
‘Attacks are about secession’
A retired Assistant Inspector of Police, Ambrose Aisabor, said on Monday that the IPOB agitators are bent on declaring the Biafra republic and therefore building up their armoury by attacking security formations.
According to him, this explained why the security arm of the proscribed group has not been attacking innocent citizens.
He said, “If you look at it, they are not attacking ordinary people. They are attacking the police, the army, and the air force that is what they are doing.
“Why they are attacking those military formations is because they want to have enough ammunition to enable them prosecute their war against the government of Nigeria. They want to have their own police; they want to have their own armoury and so on.”
AIG Aisabor said they have become so emboldened to attack the security formations because of the failure of intelligence on the part of the security agencies.
According to the security expert, it is high time the security agencies improve on their intelligence gathering to forestall future attacks.
He also called on the federal government to urgently convoke a national security summit involving all stakeholders including the security experts, traditional rulers, religious leaders and government officials, to come up with solutions on addressing the insecurity in the land especially the South-East part of the country.
Also speaking, Veteran Wale Okunniyi, who is the convener of June 12 Pro-Democracy Movement and spokesman for the National Consultative Front (NCFront), said the government allowed the IPOB challenge to degenerate.