16 September 2017
By Justice Nwafor
Northerners in Owerri, the capital of Imo state were seen on Friday fleeing the town for fear of attacks by Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, members and their sympathisers.
A visit to Ama-Hausa, a popular area where Hausa people live and do business in the state showed that indeed some Hausa people have fled as the usual bustling in the area was at a very low ebb.
A businessman at the place who identified himself as Musa told Punch Newspaper that they had become targets of incessant attacks.
“The attacks on our people are becoming unbearable. The day Owerri market was demolished, the people used that opportunity to break our shops, looted both goods and money and demolished the shops of our brothers.
“At the World Bank area, where our people also do petty businesses, some IPOB members have been attacking our brothers, stealing their money.
“In the Mbaise area, where our people sell cows, they have invaded the place. It is only through Allah’s grace and the help of one traditional ruler in the area that we are still living”, he said.
Another Hausa man, Mallam Usman Ahmed, said that some of his kinsmen had fled.
He said, “Those who were victims of the recent Owerri crisis have fled to 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze, Owerri West Local Government Area. They are there for their dear lives instead of being killed in the crisis”.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has deployed more personnel and helicopters in the region to tackle IPOB agitators.
In Aba, Abia State’s commercial nerve centre, Punch gathered that over 500 mobile policemen were deployed to restore peace in the troubled city.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, on Friday said that helicopters and other surveillance equipment had also been mobilised to the zone to protect all the residents.
According to him, “the IG has directed all Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Command Commissioners of Police to be on red alert and we have carried out massive deployment of mobile policemen in the South-East and helicopters for surveillance and aerial patrol.”
He added that, “the same level of deployment done in Anambra State ahead of the governorship poll has been recommended for other states in the South-East with more concentration on Abia State.
“More deployments were done in the last 24 hours to calm the situation, but we are closely monitoring development. We are also deploying (officers) in the South- South and South-West to protect both the indigenes and non-indigenes.”
Moshood disclosed that stop and search operation had also been introduced to comb for hidden arms and other dangerous weapons.
“Stop and search patrol has been introduced in areas where we didn’t have them before, and we are raiding all dark spots and other areas where certain groups are terrorising the citizens in Abia and in other parts of the South-East”, he said.