PLANS by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to impose emergency rule on Anambra State have proven that recent killings in the state are politically motivated.
Anambra State Commissioner of Information and Enlightenment Don Adinuba, in a statement titled ‘Threat of State of Emergency in Anambra: Malami Has Confirmed the Worst Fear of Nigerian People,’ linked the killings and the attendant proposed emergency rule to an alleged plot by the Nigerian government to manipulate the election and impose an unpopular candidate on the people of the state.
In the statement emailed to The ICIR late on October 6, the Anambra State government observed that the killings in the state were an indictment on Buhari, who is in charge of the country’s security machinery.
The state government added that the proposed emergency rule had confirmed suspicions that politicians outside Anambra, in collaboration with their local minions “are behind the recent spate of killings in the state to frighten people from coming out to vote in the forthcoming polls, thereby enabling them to write the results they like.”
“It seems that since these politicians have proved unable to intimidate the Anambra people from coming out to participate in the vote, they have resolved to impose emergency rule on the state,” the statement added.
The Anambra State government went ahead to downplay the level of insecurity in the state.
According to the statement signed by Adinuba, fewer than 15 persons had lost their lives in the recent killings in the state.
Suggesting that the Buhari-led Nigerian government was biased, Adinuba argued that the number of victims of the recent killings in Anambra was not even a fraction of the casualties recorded in terrorist attacks in northern states such as Borno, Zamfara, Katsina, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Niger, Adamawa and Taraba.
Emergency rule was not required for elections to hold in those northern states in 2019 despite the prevailing high level of insecurity, the Anambra State government further observed.
Accusing the Nigerian government of double standards, Adinuba asked, “Is the number of victims of the politically motivated violence in Anambra State anything near what the nation has seen even in such states as Imo and Ebonyi controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)? Why hasn’t Malami considered a state of emergency in these APC-controlled states?”
The commissioner linked the proposed emergency rule to attempts to stop a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Chukwuma Soludo from emerging as the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the ruling party in Anambra, for the November 6 governorship poll.
There has been an upsurge in killings in Anambra in the build-up to a governorship election in the state, scheduled for November 6.
It is believed that a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is behind the killings, which is threatening the conduct of the governorship poll.
The separatists are insisting that there will be no elections in Anambra and other parts of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami had, on October 6, announced that the Nigerian government was planning several options, including imposing emergency rule in the state, to ensure the success of the election.
“No possibility is out ruled by a government in terms of ensuring the sanctity of our democratic order, in terms of ensuring that our elections in Anambra hold, and you cannot out rule possibilities inclusive of the possibility of a declaration of a state of emergency,” the AGF told reporters shortly after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the highest decision making organ of the Nigerian government.
In a swift reaction to the development, the Anambra State government said the plan to introduce emergency rule in the state had confirmed suggestions that the killings were politically motivated.
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) initially did not include Soludo in the list of candidates for the poll following an ex parte order issued by a Jigawa State High Court sitting in Birnin Kudu. The INEC eventually recognised Soludo as the APGA candidate after the Court of Appeal upturned the Jigawa High Court order.
An Abuja customary court also issued criminal summons on Soludo but the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Muhammad Tanko intervened to stop the summons, which was outside the jurisdiction of the customary court.
The Anambra State government suggested that the planned emergency rule was another plot to stop Soludo from becoming the next governor of the state.
The electoral body is expected to publish the final list of candidates participating in the election on October 7.
“Having proved incapable of subduing APGA and removing Soludo as the APGA candidate, vested interests are resorting to the idea of emergency rule, through which they hope to capture Anambra State by all means and impose their lackey on a great, successful, robust and independent-minded people,” the statement said while also linking the continuous change of commissioners of police in the state to the alleged plot.
According to the statement, Anambra was having its fifth commissioner of police in six months after Tony Olofu was replaced with Echeng Eworo Echeng on October 5.
The Anambra State government, in the statement, further alleged that a clique of politicians was bent on conquering Igboland in a bid to make the South-East a vassal state.
The statement declared that the people of Anambra State were determined to resist suppression in any form.