Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
Three days before the Presidential/National Assembly elections in Imo State, unidentified gunmen have burnt houses and shot sporadically, especially at the night in Okigwe area of Imo State.
According to reports, the incident started last weekend in Okigwe Local Government Area of the state.
The latest incident was said to have happened in the early hours of Tuesday in Amagu, Ihube community in Okigwe LGA in the house belonging to the Imo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Emeka Okonkwo, whose house was set ablaze by gunmen.
The arson to a larger extent has been linked to the “no-election gunmen,” who have been on a rampage in the six local government areas of Imo North Senatorial district, warning that there will not be an election in the South-East zone.
Residents have lamented that the gunmen shot sporadically in the night, causing fear in the minds of the people.
Also, there have been reports of killings and attack on candidates of political parties in the area. The Labour Party candidates were said to have suffered more of the attacks.
Following the mysterious death of the Labor Party candidate for the Okigwe State Constituency, Chukwunonye Iruonu, the house of the man, who replaced him, Nnaemeka Obiaraeri was set ablaze as well as a long list of other houses, by gunmen.
It would be recalled that a convoy of a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, was attacked. Three policemen were killed and their bodies burnt. Ohakim, however, escaped.
At the time of filing this report, there has been tension in the six local government areas in the Imo North senatorial district ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Reacting, the Imo state Police Public Relations officer, Henry Okoye, linked the attacks to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“On 21/02/2023 at about 0530hrs, the proscribed indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and it armed affiliate Eastern Security Network (ESN) miscreants attacked and burnt the house of the following at Ihube, Okigwe. Barr. Obinna Obiaraeri ‘m’, Emeka Okoronkwo ‘m’ the Commissioner for Youth and Sport Imo State, Barr Chukwu Emeka Jude Ngwu the Former director of State Service DSS while one Grace Ngwu ‘f’ who was in the House of the former DSS Director during the attack was burnt beyond recognition.”
“DPO Okigwe and his team on receipt of the report swiftly mobilised to the scene, recovered the deceased and deposited it at the mortuary. A preliminary investigation is ongoing. Intelligence-led patrol intensified to unravel the identities of the perpetrators of this dastardly act, arrest and bring them to justice. The case will be transferred to State CID for discrete investigations,” Police said.