Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra has said majority of the “unknown gunmen” behind the high rate of violence in the state are Igbo.
He also announced a cash reward of at least N1 million to anyone who could provide useful information leading to the arrest of any of the leaders or members of the “criminal gangs” including their sponsors and those enforcing the sit-at-home order.
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Gunmen have continued to enforce the sit-at-home order of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by terrorising and killing residents of the state.
Speaking while declaring a 6pm-6am curfew in seven LGAs of the state, Soludo condemned the activities of the troublemakers, saying the curfew will remain in place until peace is restored.
He said, “Let us be very clear. These criminals causing mayhem in Anambra, albeit of disparate groups and gangs, are Igbos (dominantly from other South East states) whose real objective is lucrative criminality and foisting their idolatrous religion on the region.
“Unfortunately, every criminal gang (including cult groups) claims to be a “liberation movement”, making it difficult to differentiate between any genuine agitators from criminals. Unfortunately also, the criminals now dominate the space,” he said.
Soludo said Anambra became the prime target because it was the most lucrative location for kidnapping for ransom in the South East.
He said the gang “with their immense propaganda machine funded largely by their sponsors from abroad,” had tried everything to indoctrinate the people with all kinds of false emotive narratives, and diverted attention from their real objectives.
The governor also said, “They claimed to be fighting for the people and yet randomly kill the same people, destroying their livelihood, and stopping their children from going to school.
“What has agitation got to do with kidnappings including the kidnapping of priests of God, invasion of churches and tabernacles including desecration of the altars of God?
“Why is it that everywhere they gather and in every camp they operate, there is a deity/idol to which they routinely offer blood in sacrifice?
“From accounts of those kidnapped and later freed, the stench of dead bodies in the camps cry up to heaven. We see videos of them and their idol worship; we note their threats to priests and bishops, including threatening to take over some churches.”
Soludo however said the gang had failed, and would continue to fail. He said that millions of Anambra people lived in the North and other parts of Nigeria and that Anambra people were known for their uncommon hospitality.
“More recently, the people have begun to question their propaganda, motive and means and they know that they have lost the sympathy of the people. That explains why they desperately tried to ignite a national inter-ethnic crisis by killing some innocent northerners who have lived peacefully in our state for decades to divert attention from their criminality and then seek to re-brand themselves as “defenders of the people,” he added.
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