Friday, 3 July 2015

Unbelievable: See How Western Nigeria, others Masterminded Transportation of Boko Haram Members to Anambra

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the relocation of 47 Boko Haram prison inmates from Northern Nigeria to Ekulobia prison at Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State on the dead night of June, 28, 2015 amidst tight security.

It would be recalled that a day presiding the transfer of the insurgents, all the major markets in the state including Awka, Onitsha, Ekwulobia and Nnewi, as well as federal roads were shut for hours as traders, youths, host communities and government officials protested against it insisting that the prison which was built to accommodate 85 inmates is already overcrowded with about 134 inmates.

Speaking in an interview, the President General of South East Market Traders Association (SEMATA), Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo disclosed that “We have confirmed that the story of bringing Boko Haram detainees after our protest and closing of markets last Saturday were true and we are not happy about that. The 49 detainees were brought on Sunday 28 June night under tight security. But our worry is that we will be having their friends visiting them in the prisons with all types of dangerous plans and weapons, and before you know it, there may be jail break, thereby posing security challenges on us…These insurgents have killed a lot of Igbos at the north so bringing them here is to unleash more harm on us. That is unacceptable!”

But reacting through its Publicity Secretary, the Anambra State Chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC), while describing the entire story as mere rumour, stressed that the federal government is free to transfer prisoners across any state of federation.

Reacting to the APC’s statement, the SEMATA President said although they will not to like to join issue with the state publicity secretary of APC, the federation government should as matter of urgency rescind its decision else they will close markets indefinitely.

Also speaking, a Consultant Gynecologist and founder of National Conscience Party (NCP) Prof. Anthony Benjamin Chukwunwike Nworah, accused Yorubas of been responsible to the act, but stressed that it would be the worst mistake ever made by President Buhari if indeed the story was true, because he had written to the President and National Assembly not to victimize nor mortgage the future of Igbo for not voting for the new administration of APC.

Prof. Nworah, however, says that Igbos are not in anywhere surprise of such occurrence, because according to him, the founder of APC, Yorubas hated Igbos to a core, and could do anything humanly possible to ensure that the entire race is been wiped-off the earth, thus ill-advising the President against his (Buhari’s personal) wish.

"I know Yorubas too well. They hate Igbos because we are their competitor. Therefore they can go any lenght to wipe us off the face of the earth. But we are not moved because we are Jews. That is how Jews are been hated. But personally, I don't believe the relocation of the story is true. But if indeed is true, I am advicing the President Buhari I know to rescind his decision now is at ankle deep. I have written to him. I am sure he would like to force us out of the country. That is why I am advising him not to listen to Westerners if they were the people who advised him to take such measure against Igbos because they voted for PDP..."

He therefore enjoined the federal government to address issue not minding what he described as “Western Nigerian competitors and antagonists” or risk forcing the Igbos (he described as Jews in Africa known for their enterprise and industriousness) to intensify efforts towards actualisation of the sovereignty state of Biafra.

Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, James Eze, disclosed that when the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano got wind of the planned relocation of what he termed “high risk prisoners” to Anambra State, he objected and told the relevant authorities that the arrival of the suspects in any part of the state would among other reasons, disrupt the peace already established by his administration, and may further lead to a new regime of fear, excluding the fact that Ekwulobia Prisons in question is neither a Maximum Security Prison nor suitable as holding place for convicted terrorists as shown by global experiences.

The statement, however, stressed that despite the governor’s efforts to establish understanding and achieve a speedy and peaceful resolution of the matter with the highest authorities, the transfer was later perfected, even as it enjoined the state to remain calm and peaceful with assurances that the matter would be looked into with a view to resolving it with dispatch.

Speaking through a press release, thereafter, the State Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Culture, Dr. Uju Nwogu said that extensive consultations are ongoing with authorities concerned and urged the citizenry to remain calm while going about their separate businesses as the matter would soon be resolved.

However, speaking at Awka on Thursday, Governor Obiano’s Senior Special Adviser on Political Matters, Mr. Chinedu Obidigwe, disclosed that the decision was taken during a seminar organized for officers and men of the Nigeria Prison Service, NPS, of Anambra State in 2012 under the administration of the former governor Peter Obi and erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, during which Ekwulobia and Kuje prisons in Anambra and Abuja capital territory respectively, were chosen as prisons for the Boko Haram inmates.

According to Obidigwe, the relocation would have been effected immediately but for the fear of losing his re-election bid in the 2015 Presidential polls, Ex-President Jonathan kept the implementation pending.

“In as much as the state government would not want to join issues with any section of the public, it is important to note that the policy of transferring Boko Haram inmates to Anambra State had been made since 2012 under the regimes of President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Peter Obi, but for the 2015 general elections which the then President was contesting for a second term.

“Since the transfer of the 47 inmates, panic had gripped the people of Ekwulobia as residents in the area were apprehensive of an imminent attack by members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect,’’ he said, contending that a decision made under the nose of past administrations in the state and the country in general should not be blamed on the current regime in Anambra.

But former Governor Peter Obi, in a swift reaction, through his aide, Valentine Obienyem, expressed shock about Governor Willie Obiano’s claims, describing it as a blatant lie that appeared nauseating and childish, hence proving to the people that there were more to the relocation than they already knew.

Obienyem, who wondered how an action or a plan concluded by a man who left office almost 16 months ago was being implemented now, added that: “The governor is clearly looking for an alibi for an action that was against the people. He should look elsewhere and not in the direction of Mr. Peter Obi, who, since he left office, had opted to stay away from Awka and not to distract the present government in any way.”

According to the Obi’s aide, Anambra people expected commendation from Obiano as a result of N75 billion Obi left in cash and investment for him in restoring the pride of the state unlike other governors bequeathing debts to their successors, rather than trying vainly to drag his name to the mud through statements such as this present one linking him to the Boko Haram issue.

Meanwhile, the member representing Aguata federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Mrs. Eucharia Azodo has urged the federal government to rescind the decision in view of its security implications on the people of her constituency.

Azodo, who explained that the Boko Haram detainees would better be taken care of in a maximum security prison, argued that Ekwulobia Prison did not have the capacity to accommodate such high risk prisoners.

Her words: “We all are aware of the fact that Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State is not a maximum security prison. Whereas a large number of prisoners, about 134 inmates, are there already in a prison built to accommodate 85 inmates, a total number of 47 Boko Haram prisoners were brought to Ekwulobia Prison in the dead of the night of Sunday, June 28, 2015 amidst tight security in spite of torrent protests recorded in the commercial city of Onitsha, Ekwulobia and other major cities of Anambra State last weekend over the rumours of government intention, the Federal Government still went ahead to relocate them to Ekwulobia in flagrant violation of the avowed wishes of the peace- loving people of Anambra State.

“As a result, tension has been raised in the state, arising from hundreds of youths storming the streets and market places. Filling stations in the state were also shut down in protest. It is paramount to state that one of the resultant negative effects of relocating Boko Haram suspects from the Northern part of the country to the South East would be the terror associated with Boko Haram sect as this will definitely cause a setback for the state economically since some investors would not want to come to invest as a result of fear.

“The Ekwulobia medium security prison would definitely be overcrowded, having been built to accommodate 85 people. Already, 134 inmates were there before they brought 47 Boko Haram detainees and the congestion will lead to inmates’ ill health, misconduct and may lead to threat of jail break. For normalcy to be restored and anxiety removed, the decision of relocating Boko Haram suspects to the South East should be revisited. We, the people of Aguata federal constituency, therefore, vehemently condemn in its totality this impunity. We therefore urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, move those detainees to another prison that has maximum security and space.”

On her part, Senator Uche Ekwunife of Anambra Central Senatorial
Zone has said she condemned in highest term the transfer of the dreaded Boko Haram prisoners standing trials for terrorism in some North East states of the country into some prisons across Anambra state describing the action as a security risk that could bring untold economic hardship on the people of the state.

Senator Ekwunife, while noting that the state has been one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria with its own peculiar security challenges often caused by menace of armed robbery and kidnapping, added that the increased burden of Boko Haram inmates could lead to a more chaotic situations and hardship.

She further called for President Buhari’s urgent intervention in the matter before it leads to ugly situations, stressing that all the three prison facilities in Onitsha, Ekwulobia and Awka were not Maximum Security Prisons and therefore unsuitable for holding convicted terrorists like Boko Haram.



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