Since February when the first attack on police men commenced, rather than abate, there have been increasing cases of such attacks, in all the South eastern states, and this has spiralled into the South South, with states like Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Cross River getting its own share of the ugly incident.
What began as attacks on policemen on checkpoints in remote areas of states in the South East zone has further moved to taking battles right to the stations of policemen, killing them and burning down facilities, and most worrisome is that it is now happening in urban areas, some of the places deem to be the most protected.
DAILY POST reports that this has now become a worrisome trend in the zone, and has moved from just police facilities to other government institutions, with offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) being burnt down in some states of the zone. More worrisome is that no one or group has owned up to the attacks, nor have they been any reason for the action.
As this continues, gradually, our reporter observes that the South East which used to be the safest part of the country in recent times is gradually descending into anarchy, with other forms of insecurity now plaguing the zone.
The near absence of policemen in the society has taken an attendant effect on the society, with lawlessness becoming the order of the day today. Besides the Unknown gunmen who today terrorize every part of the zone, there have been cases of herdsmen killings in states of the zone, while not leaving out the twin problems of cultism and armed robbery, a result of the near absence of policemen.
Within the month of May, 2021, there have been attacks on police facilities in all the five south-eastern states of Nigeria, with attendant loss of property including vehicles and buildings, and in extreme cases, loss of lives.
Just as the month of May set in, two policemen were killed in an attack in Obosi, Idemili North LGA of Anambra State, while the station was razed down. This happened barely 24 hours after a new Commissioner of Police, Christopher Owolabi, assumed office in the State.
On the same day in Ebonyi State, a police Inspector was shot dead after gunmen attacked Obiozara Divisional Police Station in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Loveth Odah confirmed the incident, explaining that the gunmen also attempted to set the police station ablaze.
In Owerri, Imo State, a bunch of hoodlums invaded the Divisional Police Headquarters in Orlu and tried to burn down the facility, but a joint security operatives resisted them, and luck ran out on them this time and no fewer than eight of them were killed. The team also recovered seven vehicles the attackers came in with for the operation.
Meanwhile, as this act of lawlessness continues, the attackers have moved from just burning down police stations and killing policemen to other government facilities. The target this time seems to be offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission. So far, three states of Abia, Enugu and Imo have had INEC offices in their states burnt down.
Just two days ago, some hoodlums launched an attack on a police station in Abia, killing two policemen in an early morning attack at the Ubakala Police station in Umuahia South council area of Abia State. The bandits also carted away two rifles belonging to the slain policemen. The hoodlums also destroyed vehicles, tricycles and motorcycles parked in the compound, while setting ablaze the main building of the police station.
As if that wasn’t enough bad news, in Enugu, hoodlums attacked the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, setting the foyer and six vehicles ablaze, while destroying two other vehicles.
A week before that, the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State was set ablaze. Before then, there was the destruction of the office in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on 2nd May, 2021. This was followed by the fire at the Ohafia LGA office in Abia State on 9th of May 2021.
In Awka, cultism has gone a notch higher, with cases of cult killings going higher on a daily basis. In Amanyi and Ifite parts of Awka, no day passes by without cult clashes, while rival groups have also consistently gunned down opposition members.
In Onitsha, daylight robbery is now normal in several parts of the city, including Upper Iweka, Okpoko, Nkpor and Onitsha-Owerri Road. Travellers and passers-by are daily dispossessed of their belongings, while others watch with trepidation.
Addressing journalists upon his arrival for resumption of duty, CP Chris Owolabi disclosed that it would be hard for the command to continually put out men in the field, who risk being attacked and killed. “What we want to start doing is to move into the communities and even engage leaders and to sensitize the people on the need to stop this act of violence. The policeman is someone’s son, he is someone’s husband and he is someone’s father. He is also affected by whatever condition that others face.
“The police cannot police you if you do not give them the cooperation to do so. It is for that reason that we are appealing to the people to speak to whoever these people are on the need for peace to return again,” he said.