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On IPOB’s reign of terror, yet again

Following the resurgence of terrorists attacks by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) members, the satellite campus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu…

Following the resurgence of terrorists attacks by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) members, the satellite campus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), a state-owned university located in Uli, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, was closed down on May 10, 2023.

The terrorists had, armed with guns and other lethal weapons, stormed the streets, in their numbers on motorbikes, and shot sporadically at the junction leading to the university along the Onitsha-Owerri expressway, claiming to enforce a three-day sit-at-home order it imposed. They shut down all commercial activities and movements, forcing academic and non-academic staff of the university to scamper for safety.

Operating from camps in neighbouring Orsu and Oru East LGAs of Imo State and their camps in Orsumoghu and Lilu towns in Ihiala LGA, the terrorists have been carrying out hit-and-run operations in various communities in and around the area.  

Since the lull experienced during the general elections, the spate of killings and violence has resumed. The same day the university was closed, security forces killed a deadly trans-border terrorist gang of four, including their leader, Odumodu, in Anambra State. Odumodu is alleged to have been behind many terror activities in Imo and Anambra states. Recovered from them were AK-47 rifles, four pump action guns, and two Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG).

A day after the university was closed down, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council in Imo State, Captain Tony Enoch, a retired military officer, was killed in Awommamma, Oru East LGA of the state.

On March 26, 2023, two police officers were killed when the terrorists attacked a checkpoint along Kenyatta Road near the main gate of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus in Enugu North Local Government Area of the state. Two officers escaped with gunshot injuries. And on Tuesday, May 16, two staff of the United States Embassy in Nigeria were shot dead alongside two policemen in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State. Sources said the convoy of the embassy staff was attacked while passing through the area.

The reality is that insecurity in the South East region of Nigeria is not abating. Almost daily, there are cases of kidnapping, arson, attacks on public facilities, killing of security operatives and civilians.

To tame the situation, troops of the 82 Division, Nigerian Army, along with other security forces, have been conducting clearance operations in the region. But these have not solved the menace. In fact, the once boisterous region is now a shadow of itself.

Already, a four-day working week has become the new normal in most states of the region as workers shun work on Mondays when terrorists enforce sit-at-home. Businesses and educational institutions are closed same Mondays and this has led to massive economic losses estimated at almost N6 trillion in three years. Not to mention its impact on the education system, which was not doing so well even before now.

This self-imposed situation is disheartening as the region used to be one of the safest in the country. Now, it has become an epicentre of senseless killings. Most people now see travelling to their hometowns for Christmas and New Year celebrations, attending weddings, burials and other traditional rites as a suicide mission.

And IPOB denials of non-involvement in either the enforcement of sit-at-home or the endless killings, disruptions and destructions are as hollow and unconvincing now as they have always been. They cannot claim to be a peaceful organisation when bloodletting is part of the modus operandi of their fighters. And it is time for them to admit that their strategy has failed as their guns are now on the same people they claim to be fighting for. They should be helped to retrace their steps. And this is where stakeholders must come in.

Daily Trust believes that this is the time for the South East governors to come together and lead the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, IPOB, traditional and religious leaders, professional groups and other stakeholders towards reaching a consensus on how to stop the violence permanently. They can’t sit and watch the continuous destruction of their region. There must be fresh initiatives to stop the madness and defeat the monster as without security, peace and development will continue to elude the region.

The incoming federal government should work with regional leaders and use kinetic and non-kinetic measures to stop the disruption and destruction of lives and livelihoods in the region. This is the time for a new approach. Let all parties come to a discussion table. IPOB and their supporters should know that they cannot win their agitation for Biafra independence with armed struggle and violence.

Enough is enough. The region, once boisterous as a business enclave, is in economic comatose and has seen the worst violence in the territory since the civil war. The Igbo-on-Igbo orgy of killings and destruction in the name of agitation for Biafra must stop.


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