Following the attack on the Imo State Police Command and the Correctional Service facility in Owerri, Imo state, in the early hours of Monday, April 5, 2021, during which inmates of were released, the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the imposition of curfew in Aba and Umuahia metropolis between 10pm and 6am daily from today, Monday, 5th April, 2021 till further notice.
This is as the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, Monday ordered the immediate deployment of additional units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) and other Police Tactical Squads to Imo State to strengthen security in the State and prevent further attacks on security formations or any other critical national infrastructure in the State.
The IGP gave the directives, according to a statement by CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, Abuja, following the attack on security operatives and formations including the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) in Owerri in the early hours of today, Monday, 5th April, 2021.
A statement by Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the Abia state Commissioner for Information, the curfew imposed on Abia and Umuahia “is sequel to security reports received from multiple sources, and informed by the need to continue to protect innocent citizens and residents of the state.”
He said “security agencies in the state have been directed to ensure strict enforcement and compliance with the directive. Only those on essential services with proper identification are exempted from the curfew.
“We urge traditional rulers, men of the State Homeland Security Team and Community Vigilante Services in the state to monitor movement of persons within their respective domains and take necessary measures to protect the people and their property.
“All law abiding citizens are advised to go about their normal duties, outside the curfew period, without fear of molestation as the security architecture of the state is robust enough to guarantee their safety.”
CP frank Mba in his statement stressed that “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), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN). The attempt by the attackers to gain access to the Police armoury at the Headquarters was totally and appropriately resisted by Police operatives on duty who repelled the attackers and prevented them from breaking-in and looting the armoury. 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.
“Meanwhile, one of the operational vehicles of the attackers has been recovered by the Police and is currently being subjected to forensic scrutiny and investigations.
“The IGP, who condemned the attack on the security outfits, has further directed the Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command and a new Special Investigation Team (specifically set up to deal with cases of incessant attacks on security formation/operatives in the region), to carry out holistic investigations into the incident with a view to fishing-out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. The CP is to harness the security reinforcement squads and other operational assets at his disposal to take the battle to the door-steps of the attackers and prevent any further attack anywhere within the State and its environs.
The IGP, who described the deliberate and criminal attack on security operatives as an attack on the soul of our nation, has enjoined leaders in Imo State, the South-East and other parts of the country to speak out against the unfolding violence and criminality. The IGP calls on citizens to avail the Police and other security agencies with useful information that can assist in identifying and arresting the criminals. He vowed that the perpetrators will be brought to book, noting that the Force is doing all within its powers to curb the activities of unscrupulous elements hell-bent on threatening the unity, safety, security and socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians.”
Another statement by Francis Enobore, Public Relations Officer, Corrections Service, on behalf of the
Controller-General of Corrections, said that a total of 1,844 inmates in custody were forcefully released, noting that the attackers who stormed the Owerri “facility at about 0215hrs on Monday 5th April, 2021, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block.
“They were said to have arrived the centre in their large number in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna Buses armed with sophisticated weapons and immediately engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle.
“They eventually detonated the explosive to gain entrance.”
The statement said further that the “Acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident and in collaboration with other security organizations, commenced a search and recover operations to recapture the fleeing inmates.
“While appealing to the good citizens of Imo State and indeed Nigerians to volunteer useful intelligence that will facilitate the recovery effort, the Ag. Controller-General wishes to assure that the security of custodial centres in the country remains sacrosanct.
“He equally directed all officers attached to custodial facilities to remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history.”
The statement revealed that “as at the last count, 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack.”