AN economist and resident of Imo State Katch Ononuju has said that the recent attacks in the state are due to the decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to persecuted members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Ononuju said this on Monday when he featured on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, to discuss the security situation in the state.
According to him, the attacks were being perpetuated by persons who were out to sabotage the proposed asylum and paint the IPOB in a bad light.
“We are aware that it was due to the British government’s intended decision on Nigeria that we have had this cascade of violence across the South-East, which I believe were primarily sponsored to paint the IPOB as a terrorist organisation,” he said.
Addressing the issue of who was responsible for the attacks, Ononuju claimed that those instigating the unrest in the South-East were people in the government.
He noted that the people who had power to order security operatives to stand down while terrorists were operating were the ones within the government.
Against the position of Ononuju, former Chief Superintendent of Police James Vandeffan, who was also on the programme, disagreed, saying the only sector working effectively in Nigeria was the security.
Vandeffan insisted that the attacks in the South-East were the activities of civilians, stating that the arrested suspects were traced back to the IPOB.
“All those who have been arrested in the past weeks, and those who were attacking the same institution, are those who are civilians. And from the arrests and preliminary investigations that have been conducted, they are all linked to IPOB. There are no two ways about that,” he said.
He also discouraged leaders from supporting those perpetuating violence because it increased their confidence.
Since the recent outbreak of violence in the South East, the IPOB has been accused of being responsible for a series of illegal activities in Imo State.
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Adamu Mohammed had accused the secessionist group of attacking the facility of the Nigeria Correctional Service and the Nigeria Police Headquarters in the state.
The governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma had, however, disagreed with the former IGP regarding the perpetrators of the crime.
Uzodinma said politicians were responsible for the attacks and not the IPOB.