By Dirisu Yakubu
National chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu has blamed the recent violent skirmishes in the South-East, particularly the invasion of Police Command, Correctional Service Headquarters and the private residence of Governor Hope Uzodinma all in Owerri, the Imo state capital, Nwanyanwu stated this when he appeared as guest of the Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
According to the ZLP boss, “the correctional centre is beside the Government House and the residence of the Brigade Commander is not far away, same as where the Police Commissioner lives. That is the safest place in Owerri. But people got in there, shot for two hours, released all the prisoners and nobody fired a shot to repel them.
From where the 34 Artillery Brigade is, at that time of the night to that point wouldn’t have taken more than seven minutes. Everything stood down only for the Commissioner of Police to wake up and accuse the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB of doing it without any investigation. We did our investigations. IPOB has no hand with what happened in Owerri.
“Terrorism is now being imported into the safest place in the South-East. It is being done by persons who think that this government should be given restless nights because people have lost power. It is the opposition that is fighting Hope Uzondinma. You have taken the resources of the state to the point that you now think you are richer than the state and now, you are using it to fight us. You can pay bandits, called unknown gunmen. Let’s stop calling them unknown gunmen because they are known.
These people are being funded by politicians. Will Hope Uzodinma allow his house to be attacked? These are people that have lost out in the power equation,” he said. Chief Nwanyanwu called for the involvement of citizens in the fight against insurgency, adding that the government is overwhelmed and incapable of winning the war using force as the one and only option.
“On the issue of insecurity, we are overwhelmed- the executive, the legislature and the security forces/ agencies that are supposed to prosecute this fight against insurgency. It has become clear also that the use of force alone is not enough to stem what we are having today. Very soon, there will be no place to hide. So, what do we do in the circumstance? I think we should try as much as possible to key in the Nigerian people. What is the role of Nigerian citizens in all this?
They are not carried along in this fight. We must carry them along and make them believe that we have a common share in the nation on an equal basis. They must accept the country as their own, which is not what we are having today. We are having different people fighting different wars. Nigeria is more divided today; deeply divided more on ethnic lines than religiously.” Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nwanyanwu argued, was right when he stated recently that the elites need to speak up and join forces in the anti-terrorism fight, saying it was the failure of the elite to act that threw up non-state actors that are now making the country unsafe for everyone.
“In the South-East, a gentleman saw an opening and exploited it. The elites have refused to stand up to be counted. I understand what the Vice President is saying. How many people makeup Miyetti Allah? How many are there in IPOB leadership? How many are these people compared to the population of those areas?
It is so because we have not keyed in the citizens in the fight against insurgency. We cannot use force all the time; carry the citizens along,” he counseled. That said, Chief Nwanyanwu cited lack of political will to root out banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram and sundry vices as the sole reason the challenges are yet to go away. “We don’t have to pretend again. The state is helpless. There are no new ideas on how to handle these problems. I believe our military can do away with this within a short time and I am aware that if they are determined to do this putting aside their ethnic beliefs, religious interest and face the war as a Nigerian issue, they can clear this mess in three months,” he submitted.