The Police in Abia State said yesterday that soldiers recovered Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs from the house of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the state.
The items are now in the custody of the police, according to Police Commissioner Anthony Ogbizi.
Ogbizi briefing the visiting Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Operations, Force Headquarters, Taiwo Lakanu, in Umuahia said the Station Officer of the Ariaria Police Divisional Headquarters in Aba that was attacked last week by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) died yesterday.
He had sustained serious injuries when the station was attacked by the arsonists and was subsequently taken to the hospital for treatment.
Ogbizi said the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) died early yesterday in an undisclosed hospital where he was receiving medical attention.
The Police Commissioner also said 37 suspected members of IPOB were arrested in the state in connection with last week’s unrest.
The suspects will be arraigned in court tomorrow.
Thirty of them were arrested by soldiers in Isiala Ngwa area of the state, while the remaining seven are accused of having a hand in the Friday looting and burning of the Ariaria Police Divisional Headquarters.
Police Commissioner Anthony Ogbizi told the visiting Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Operations, Force Headquarters Taiwo Lakanu that efforts were on to arrest more suspects in connection with the mayhem.
He said soldiers recovered Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs from Nnamdi Kanu’s house.
The items are now in police custody.
He added that the Station Officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who sustained serious injuries after he was attacked by the arsonists, died early hours of today in an undisclosed hospital where he was receiving medical attention.
He recalled how arsonists forcefully broke the police station’s entrance zone and destroyed almost everything.
He said: “They were armed with petrol bomb. They burnt police vehicles and carted away three pump actions and other police materials. Some officers were injured and in fact as I’m talking to you, one of the injured police officer, an ASP is dead.
“The doctors tried their best to save him, but they couldn’t. Now, we have lost a soul. And you know what it takes to train a police officer. And you know the vacuum created. Once a police officer is gone, it takes a minimum of one year to train another
The seven we arrested will be charged for murder, arson and conspiracy for breach of the law.
“Simultaneously, they carried other attacks on law abiding citizens of this nation. You could see along the road the destruction of vehicles belonging to citizens. Certainly you cannot say that that is a peaceful demonstration. I think this attack was orchestrated to get arms which they succeeded in doing. Thank God the police succeeded in securing other arms. They attacked a bank may be with the intention to get more money to buy arms.
“IPOB, going to that extent, cannot say that it is a non-violent movement. While this one was happening here, along the road in Isiala Ngwa, the same IPOB members in droves confronted the military and the military were able to arrest up to 30 of them.
“They will be prosecuted for rioting and unlawful assembly and other things. While that was going on, the same IPOB carried attack of various manner in Umuahia and even tried to collect a rifle from a female military officer. In the process, the military resisted and were able to arrest 19 of them.
“At the same time, along the road leading to Umuahia, they set up bonfire attacking the police and innocent citizens and pulled out traffic stands. The vicinity where the Attorney General of the State, Assistant Inspector General Zone 9, Commissioner of Police, and other residents live. They attacked the quarters of the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 9 and that of the Commissioner of Police.
“And the house of the self acclaimed leader of IPOB, Kanu was the house they usually come out from to carry out these attacks and information reaching us is that they have started gathering there. Many exhibits were recovered from there like petrol bomb and coat of arm of Biafra.
“I know that 90% of Abians are not in support of this, but a few hoodlums and some others from other states operating under the disguise of IPOB with the motive to cripple the economy of Abia. If this is not planned, how could they come in droves to carry out these attacks? At a time, a mobile patrol vehicle was moving and IPOB members poured petrol on the van with intent to burn it. Imagine if that was successful. I’m glad that eastern governors have proscribed the organisation.
On the allegation by IPOB that security agents whisked away Kanu’s father and some members of the IPOB leader’s family, Ogbizi said “We don’t have Kanu’s father in police net.”