The Ehime Mbano Local Government Area Divisional Police Headquarters in Imo State has been set on fire.
It was gathered that some gunmen broke into the station on Tuesday evening, shooting sporadically before torching the facility.
A resident said the armed men operated unchallenged for more than 45 minutes.
The development comes after Ex-Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, inspected the damages caused by gunmen who invaded the headquarters of Nigerian Correctional Centre and the Imo State Police Command in Owerri, the state capital.
Gunmen the police accused of being members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had freed over 1,800 inmates at the correctional centre and razed sections of the police headquarters.
After inspecting the damage caused by the attack, the ex-IGP ordered police officers to use maximum force against IPOB.
“Those that were released by the attackers, I have been told, some of them belong to the IPOB group; the proscribed IPOB group,” he had said.
“We are sending this message to them that there will be no hiding place. They will be re-arrested and many more of the criminals within that group will be arrested.
“Whether in their homes and forest, we are determined to fish them out. I have instructed my men to use maximum force with the guns available to us.
“We have the authority to defend the country, which they don’t have. We will not allow these criminals to succeed.”
That was the last order he gave as the number one police officer in the country as he was replaced hours after.
Usman Baba, a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, has been appointed in acting capacity.
The leadership of One Love Foundation(OLF) recently set up a legal Policy Think Tank to fight for the Independence of the Judiciary, Legislature and Local Government Autonomy.
The Think Tank consists of lawyers, humans rights activists and journalists, and in this interview, OLF president, Chief Patrick Eholor throws more light on the reasons why the legal /human rights team was set up.
He also speaks out against the recent attacks against security agencies and agents in the South East and South South, especially the burning of Police stations, killing of officers and stealing of their guns and ammunition. He also reveals how his organization, OLF can help the IPOB in its fight against Federal Government, especially with regards to extra judicial killings.
Why we set up a think thank to sue the Governments to mandate them to give full autonomy to the judiciary,the legislature and the local governments
It is clearly defined in the separation of powers that they are independent. If the judiciary is not independent, that means that the government will keep dictating and usurping more powers to itself. There is a very funny law that says that anything more than a million naira coming into the coffers of the judiciary must be paid into the state government purse. And the state government will now redirect it to them, but that’s basically fraud. It means that the state governors put the judiciary on its knees for them to get the money.
So whatever the governors want them to do is what they will do, because he who pays the piper dictates the tune. When I see these things, I don’t like it, that’s why I have organized lawyers of repute, with Barrister Akahome as chairman, and Barrister Ugbonkwa is going to be the secretary. Forgive me if I don’t mention the other lawyers because they are coming out as a surprise.
So you see local governments and you don’t see them function because they are solely dependent on the state governors. We also want to discuss that. We also want to discuss the idea of the police in future. We want to know those who police us, because you cannot continue to have a police officer from the north be a Commissioner in Edo State. This is because they don’t come from here, don’t know the terrain, and so cannot fight crime effectively.
So we want to make sure that when you post a Commissioner to the north, he should be one who understand the north, and this will reduce the criminality.
We also want to take the Federal Government to court about policing. The police are underpaid, they are not trained, and so we want to make sure they are well trained, and well paid. We want to make sure there are forensic laboratories in every divisional police station, there are cameras for mugshots, there are recorders to take notations and have records. They should have archives in the computer. We are living in the 21st century, we must make sure these things are organized. The same thing is applicable to the Ministries. There is no country today where the security doesn’t use computers, or who are not computer dependent.
So there’s a lot of issues we want to bring into spotlight.
The Eastern Security Network, IPOB and the attacks on policemen, killings, etc
My fear is that I hope this doesn’t lead to a civil war. I condemn with every effort in me, anyone that kills the police, because police are out there to protect lives and property, to ensure that we sleep very peacefully. So anyone who goes after police is going against humanity.
But I also condemn extrajudicial killings, and that’s why I said there are good cops and there are bad cops, all over the world. And again, that’s why we must leave this on the board- the IPOB should come out and complain if there has been any extrajudicial killing, and we will take the police to court.
They should cry out and the likes of us will amplify their cries, go to court and make sure that whoever is responsible is brought to book and pay the price for killing any IPOB member. But if the federal government is playing a blind eye to it, that could also provoke the IPOB to start taking retaliatory measures, which I do not prescribe to, because that can lead to a state of anarchy.
So, before it escalates, before it leads to what happened to Boko Haram, we should nip it in the bud, to avoid another crises.
Proliferation of arms among civilians and breakdown of law and order
That tells you the failure of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Whether the police are dying, whether IPOB members are dying, Buhari is fully responsible for the failure of the security in the state, as well the failure of the state governors. It’s enshrined in our constitution that the government is going to protect lives and property, and they are not doing that. So, we the citizens also have the right to take them to court, because they have failed to carry out what is enshrined in our constitution.
You will agree with me that the members of the House of Reps and Senate have failed abysmally. We have never had it so bad like this. I honestly think that’s by now, what has happened in the east, north, south and west, is enough for them to wake up and rise up, to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari. Whatever is happening now is an impeachable offense.
Operatives in South-East Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested sixteen (16) suspects for complicity in a series of violent and unprovoked attacks on security operatives and facilities in some states of the Federation, particularly in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
The arrest, which is an outcome of painstaking, deliberate and tireless efforts by operatives of the Nigeria Police working in collaboration with their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce is aimed at bringing to justice persons responsible for the emerging trend of attacks on security personnel and wanton destruction of security facilities and operational assets.
The suspects – Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, 28-year-old native of Arochukwu LGA in Abia State; Raphael Idang, 31-year-old native of Odukpani LGA of Cross River state; Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka ‘Alewa’, 60-years-old native of Orlu in Imo State; Michael Uba, 33yrs from Imo State; and twelve (12) others in the course of investigation, were implicated in multiple felonies committed across several states in the South-Eastern part of the Federation.
The suspects were arrested in various parts of the country following sustained, and intelligence-driven sting operations.
Police investigations clearly established and linked the suspects to several incidents of attacks and murder of security personnel as well as stealing, unlawful possession of firearms, arson and malicious damage to operational assets of military and law enforcement agents.
Specifically, investigations revealed that the duo of Ugochukwu Samuel aka Biggy and Raphael Idang were among the criminal elements that attacked policemen on duty at a checkpoint on 24th December, 2020 along Orlu-Ihiala Road in Imo state where two police officers were killed and a Police Hilux patrol van set ablaze.
In addition, both were part of a larger group that attacked a police reconnaissance team on 13th January, 2021 killing one police officer.
Ugochukwu Samuel a.k.a Biggy, who sustained a bullet wound during an attack by his gang on a military convoy in which some soldiers were killed and weapons carted away, was subsequently arrested while receiving treatment in a hospital.
Both suspects confessed to being active members of IPOB and ESN.
Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa, a pastor with the Holy Blessed Trinity Sabbath Church, Orlu, Imo State and Michael Uba, a prophet with the Association of Jewish Faith, who were also arrested, are two of the masterminds of the various attacks on security personnel, in addition to providing spiritual cover for the gang.
Cletus Nwachukwu Egole aka Alewa’s house was used by the gang members to plan their nefarious operations. He also donated his late brother’s farmland for use as a hideout and training camp for the gang.
A total of nine (9) AK47 rifles, five (5) other sophisticated firearms, seventeen (17) AK47 Magazines, 549 AK47 live ammunition, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), camouflage bullet proof vests, walkie talkies and other incriminating items were recovered from the suspects.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has reiterated that the Force will not tolerate any further attack on its personnel or any citizen by any individual or group under any guise whatsoever.
He assures that Law Enforcement Agents have gathered sufficient intelligence on the attackers and are closing up on scores of suspects already implicated in the attacks either directly or indirectly for financing, aiding and abetting the criminals.
He stresses that no murderer will go unpunished.
The IGP enjoins parents/guardians as well as traditional/opinion leaders to weigh in and prevail on their children/wards to desist from towing the destructive paths of crime.
All the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.
CP FRANK MBA FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER FORCE HEADQUARTERS
At least nine pastors and 24 church elders have been arrested by soldiers in search of the camps of the personnel of Eastern Security Network (ESN) owned by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in some parts of Orlu Senatorial District.
The church leaders, The Nation learnt, were arrested following the raids that started in January in Orlu communities, especially Njaba, Orsu and Oru East council areas.
While peace seemed to have been restored early February, the military in conjunction with the Intelligence Response Team of the police, stormed the areas last weekend.
Some of those arrested were Presiding Priest of Our Lord’s Sabbath in Umunam Atta Community, Njaba LGA, Rev. Chigozie Nwaka as well as a number of other clerics and church elders in Ubokoro Atta, Okporo, Okwudor.
It was gathered before the latest raid, soldiers invaded some churches, including House of Prayer International Covenant Church Okporo Orlu and arrested over 20 members of the church, including clerics.
However, spokesman of the Imo Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, told The Nation he was not aware of the arrest and detention of any church member in connection with the Orlu crisis.
But the ongoing military operation in search of the camps of the personnel of the ESN has created panic in Orlu, Njaba and Orsu Local Government Areas.
Our correspondent learnt there has been heavy presence of the military in the communities since last Friday.
Army spokesperson of the 34 artillery Brigade, Obinze, Owerri, Babatunde Zubairu, who confirmed the operation, said the locals were not being harassed.
He confirmed the deployment of helicopters and other military gadgets in the operations, adding the operation was an offshoot of military intelligence.
An indigene of Umunam Atta Community in Njaba council area, Andrew Ibe, said: “The truth of the matter is that the soldiers are not beating anyone.
“But our concern here is that there may be shooting any moment since their helicopter is hovering over our houses.
“Again, they arrested one of our respected indigenes, who is a priest in the Sabbath Church here. Since Saturday, when he was arrested, nobody has told us why that is so”.
An indigene of Uda Orsuihiteukwa in the Orsu LGA told our correspondent that though no indigene was shot by the military the operation was causing serious panic in the area.
He said “Situation now calm in Udah, Orsuihiteukwa. Military helicopters have left my area a while ago after the surveilance mission. All security Hilux vans have left Udah community for their respective bases.
“Civilians were not in any way harassed in the exercise. No casualties. The invasion may have been warranted by intelligence reports.
“The leaders and office bearers from Orlu zone should address this security instability in our zone now. This is not healthy for the progress and advancement of the biggest Senatorial Zone in Nigeria.”
Nnamdi Kanu’s Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Tuesday hailed governors of the South-East region, under the auspices of South-East Governors’ Forum, for banning open grazing and other related activities of Fulani herdsmen in the region.
Recall that the Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Dave Umahi, had on Monday, said the zone had before now banned open grazing of cattle within the region.
In a statement signed by IPOB’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, the group said it thanked the governors for heeding its call to ban open grazing in the region, saying it received with joy the statement credited to Umahi with joy.
The statement read in part, “We, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, ably led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to salute the courage of South-East governors for heeding our Leader’s call to ban open grazing in the region.
“We, therefore, want to aver and assure the governors that our gallant Eastern Security Network will ensure strict enforcement of the ban, which is also in line with a subsisting, but neglected judicial pronouncement in 1969.
“At the expiration of the two-week ultimatum already issued by our Leader for open grazing to end in Biafra land, IPOB and ESN will move in to deal with any herder flouting the law.
“Since the law enforcement agents are too weak or have wittingly failed to enforce the ban, we can no longer afford to sit idly and watch the wanton destruction of lives and crops of our people. ESN will do the needful. We shall no longer allow law breakers to have a field day after inflicting physical and economic harm on innocent victims.
“We wish to remind all herders in Biafra land that the era of occupying our forests and grazing on our farms is gone. They have to vacate our forests and relocate to cities where other human beings live.
“Wandering about with cows can no longer be tolerated on Biafra soil. Anyone interested in cattle rearing will either build a ranch as obtains in civilized societies or leave Biafra land. Do not say you are not warned!
“We advise all herdsmen in Biafra land irrespective of their tribe to restrict themselves to the law of the land or relocate to regions where open grazing is allowed. Our patience will elapse after the expiration date of the 14-day ultimatum by our Leader.”
With open grazing ban, our cows may die -Fulani community
When contacted the King (Eze) of Fulani Community in Ebonyi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, said both IPOB and the South-East Governors should thread with caution in order not to expose cattle rearers in the state to acute suffering.
Idris said, “Is it good to tie animals like cows at a particular place? How do they now feed, especially in this dry season? It is going to be very difficult for us if we begin to tie our cows at a particular place; they can die.
“Will the governors feed us? Will they feed our families? Will they pay our children’s school fees? We want peace and they should allow us live in peace.”