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Imo Gov. exonerates IPOB from Police Command, correctional centre attacks

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has faulted the Nigerian Police investigation linking the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Eastern Security Network (ESN) to the attacks carried out on the state Command Headquarters and Correctional Centre, just as he alleged that politicians sponsored the actions.

Uzodinma, who admitted that IPOB and other groups within the state nurses some grievances against the Federal and State Governments, but were completely not involved in the attacks that have crippled safety across the state.

He added that the law enforcement agency’s preliminary investigation carried out after the attacks were incorrect and should be disregarded by the public because perpetrators were non-indigenes hired by the politicians from neighbouring states.

The governor, on Wednesday, further disclosed that they were camped at a location in the state for several days before launching the attacks which he described as synchronised attacks on the apex and state government facilities.

Speaking during an interview on a popular television programme, he stated that the politicians had earlier boasted to make the state ungovernable and were already carrying out plans to ensure its actualisation.

Uzodinma, who refused to disclose the names of the politicians responsible for sponsoring the attacks that resulted in the destruction of public property and release of over 1,000 inmates, alleged that the politicians had already concluded plans to organise press briefing in Abuja to cast blames on the incumbent administration.

He stated that the planned press briefing was shelved by the politicians after they realised that Nigerians were already sympathising with the governor on the attacks that attracted security personnel’s attention to the state.

The governor, meanwhile, assured Nigerians that efforts were already ongoing to prevent further attacks across the state, saying the over 400 youths trained on community policing have been deployed to gather information on the attacks and prevent future occurrences.

Also speaking on the fleeing inmates, he noted that at least 80 of the 1,844 inmates have returned to complete their jail terms at the correctional centre in the state.

Uzodinma added that some of the inmates have started contacting their lawyers in order to get assurance that the Federal Government’s amnesty and that their jail terms would not be extended for fleeing the correctional centre after the attacks.

It would be recalled that the former Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, had alleged that IPOB and ESN perpetrated the attacks and disclosed that additional units of Police Mobile Force and other Police Tactical Squads have been deployed to the state to strengthen security formations.

According to him, preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

He added that the attempt by the attackers to gain access to the police armoury at the Headquarters was resisted by police operatives on duty.

“The armoury is thus intact! Similarly, the police suffered no human casualty, apart from a Police Constable who sustained a minor bullet wound on his shoulder”.

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