Posted by From Charles Onyekamuo in Awka on
Anambra state Gove-rnor, Mr. Peter Obi yesterday told a stunned audience at the conference hall of the Government House, Awka, that hoodlums with tentacles in the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).....
Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi yesterday told a stunned audience at the conference hall of the Government House, Awka, that hoodlums with tentacles in the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the National Union of Road Transport Owners (NA-RTO) who had been pitched in bloody clashes in Onitsha are threatening to kill him.
Also, the Governor announced the outlawing of the activities of MASSOB, NARTO, Anambra Vigilante Service (AVS) and Bakassi.
The Governor in a press conference he jointly addressed with the General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Abdulhafiz Adewuji, the DIG in Charge of Operations, Police Force Headquarters, Mr. Mike Okiro, the AIG Zone 9, Umuahia, Mr. Ade Adekaiye, and other senior military and police officers, said he had been receiving anonymous phone calls from persons he didn’t specifically say urging him to “leave them alone” or else he and members of his family would be killed and burnt and determined to stem the incessant clashes between rival militia groups in the state, Obi yesterday announced the ban of the four groups that had been fingered in the Onitsha mayhem.
The Governor in outlawing the groups invoked section 98(2) of the criminal code(cap 36) laws of Anambra state off Nigeria, 1991.
In an order paper personally signed by the Governor he declared: “The following societies and their activities are dangerous for the peace, order an good government of Nigeria and are hereby declared unlawful societies in Anambra state,” the order paper signed by the Governor read.
Although the order was made in Awka yesterday, it will take effect from the 3rd July 3, 2006 and would be known as Anambra state (unlawful societies) (Declaration, 2006).
As part of the security measures put in place to contain the crisis, the Governor said his administration has banned commercial motor-cycle operators otherwise known as Okada above 100cc from operating in the state.
Furthermore, the state government has restricted the operations of commercial motorcyclist from 6am to 7pm, even as it extended the curfew imposed on Onitsha and six other towns, which would have expired tomorrow to July 2, 2006.
The affected communities remain Okpoko, Obosi, Ogbaru, Nsugbe and Nkpor while the duration remains 7pm to 6am.
Obi attributed the poor internally generated revenue profile of the state to perennial civil disturbances and control of some government revenue windows by gangs.
He said his administration would only recognise and work with only the police and urged all other security outfits to subject themselves to the police.
He announced the take over of markets and motor parks in the state by the state government. According to him, even market unions operating in the state are illegal, as they had been banned since 1984 through an Act.
“If the parks have to be managed, it will be for the Government. Even all the market unions have been banned, all these ones are illegal, they were banned since 1984 through an Act.
“If you (MASSOB) want a state, you go to New York, United Nations to apply. Anambra state is not going to have any dealings with any gang again,” Obi said.
He denied allegations that he was sponsoring MASSOB against NARTO, saying, “I never met any MASSOB member and I don’t intend to meet them. We are not supporting them.”
The Governor who said he was undeterred by the threat to his life said that as leader one should be prepared to die in the service of society if the need arises.
However, DIG Okiro could not give definite statistics of those arrested during the mayhem, but said that five officers and men of the Anambra state police command were wounded in the crisis and are recuperating in undisclosed hospitals.
The GOC, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army Enugu, Major General Adewuji enjoined everyone to ensure that peace is maintained. The security operatives, he said, would only shoot in self defence as they are in Anambra as peace makers and not combatants and urged the people to cooperate with them.
Obi had since the outbreak of the crisis involving the hoodlums and the police in Onitsha refused to have any negotiations with them or harbour them in the state insisting that they are illegal organisations.
Consequently, the Governor had imposed a one week dusk to dawn curfew on Onitsha and other six adjoining towns to avoid the escalation and spread of the crisis.
The recent Ontisha mayhem had while it lasted led to loss of no fewer than 12 lives, burning of a police Armoured Personnel carrier (APC) and a military jeep, two police stations and public and private properties.
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