Anambra: How Transfer Of B’Haram Prisoners Was Hatched | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Anambra: How Transfer Of B’Haram Prisoners Was Hatched

Posted: Jul 3, 2015 at 2:23 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Adamawa Needs N200b For Destroyed Towns –Gov • Saraki Condemns Renewed Attacks, As Sect Kills 97

By Chukwujekwu Ilozue, Awka, Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja And Clement Ekong, Yola


BUT for the Presidential election of 2015, the transfer of Boko Haram prisoners, 47 of who arrived Ekwulobia Prison, on Sunday night, would have been concluded in 2012.

Daily Independent learnt that the plan to transfer the convicts was decided in 2012, but postponed because of the belief that such would affect the re-election bid of then President Goodluck Jonathan.

It was also gathered that the approval to transfer the prisoners was actually obtained during a seminar organised for officers and men of the Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) in 2012, where it was resolved that the inmates be distributed between the Ekwulobia and Kuje prisons in Anambra and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, respectively.

Special Adviser to Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano on Political Matters, Chinedu Obidigwe, while defending his boss on Thursday, noted in a chat with our correspondent, that “a decision made under the nose of past administrations in the state and the country in general should not be blamed on the current regime in Anambra.”

In addition to street protests in Ekwulobia and neighbouring towns in the state, prominent indigenes of the state have continued to the transfer.

The state’ chapter of Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Elder Chris Eluemunoh and proprietor of Rojenny Sports Stadium, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, wants the immediate relocation of the inmates in the interest of peace and tranquility in the country.

Eleumunoh, who announced the group’s position in his country home, Nkwelle Ezunaka, said: “our position is that it is not acceptable to us having them here.

“If what President Muhammadu Buhari has to give us as dividend of democracy is Boko Haram terrorists, it is very, very unfair.

“Ekwulobia prison is not a maximum security prison; it is an ordinary prison and if President Buhari meant well for us Igbo, it is not terrorists that he will bring to us, it is not acceptable to us and we are asking him to think again and look for a better place and send them there

“Let him build a camp and put them there if there are not enough accommodation in prisons in the North East. Ekwulobia prison does not have maximum security, there are maximum security prisons all over the country.

“We are asking him to please remove them from Anambra State otherwise we will embark on the kind of trouble he will not be comfortable with if he does not remove them”, he warned.

Also, Chief Ezeonwuka rejected the terrorist cargo saying: “it is not acceptable and we shall not accept it”.

“If those Boko Haram in the North East can kill people there, let them be tried and killed there also.

“Boko Haram inmates should remain in the North East where they operate as bringing them down here will be risky.

“The protest showed that we Igbo reject what the Federal Government has done by sending them here,” he added.

The State Government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Uju Nwogu, also on Thursday, while attempting to exonerate Obiano of  any blame, sued for calm.

According to Nwogu, the governor in response to the challenge of the detainees’ transfer to Anambra State is making extensive consultations with all relevant authorities while assuring that the matter would be resolved soon.

The governor, she continued, remains the most concerned “over any issue bothering his people. Ndi Anambra (Anambra people) are therefore requested to be calm, remain law abiding and go about their normal businesses. (He) would explore all means to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

Fielding questions later, Obidigwe further confirmed to Daily Independent that “in as much as the state government would not want to join issues with any section of the public, it is important to note that the policy of transferring Boko Haram inmates to Anambra State had been made since 2012 under the regimes of President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Peter Obi, but for the 2015 general election which the then president was contesting for a second term.”

Meanwhile, suspected members of the sects killed as many as 97, in an attack early Wednesday evening in a Borno town, Reuters quoted a source as saying on Thursday.

“Many people were killed,” said the military source, adding that the casualty figure “may be very high”.

While the Federal Government says the war against the insurgents is winnable Adamawa State governor, Mohammed Jibrilla Bindo, says his administration needs about N200 billion to rebuild the seven local government areas destroyed by the sect.

Bindo spoke on Wednesday, while hosting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the NYSC camp, during his visit to assess the damage done by members of the sect and how the Federal Government can assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The governor noted that the amount was arrived at, following an evaluation exercise by the state government on how the affected persons would be assisted to return home.

Earlier, the VP had paid a courtesy call on the Lamido Adamawa and the victims of Boko Haram attacks receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, the state capital to commiserate with them.

Also on Thursday, Senate President Bukola Saraki condemned the renewed onslaught against innocent Nigerians by the sect, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Saraki, who also expressed deep pain over the death of six school children in Lagos following a boat mishap that involved 14 pupils being conveyed across Ojo to Irewe jetty.

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, quoted Saraki as saying that the military authorities would do everything necessary to prevent the unwarranted attacks by the sect from escalating.

He commended efforts made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigerians are safe and secured in all parts of the country, especially in the North-East geo-political zone.

Saraki expressed sadness “that suicide bombers unleashed attack on the people on a day the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo visited Maiduguri to see things for himself and also visit beleaguered families and communities whose lives and means of livelihoods have been adversely affected by the barbaric acts of the insurgents.

“Boko Haram is not invincible and I have no doubt that the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari possesses the requisite political will and determination to decisively fight the insurgents and restore security to affected areas”, he said.