The proscribed terror group, IPOB, has continued its terror campaign in the eastern part of the country after Peter Obi’s public support of the group with a statement absolving it from the criminal actions perpetrated in the region and for which its leaders have claimed responsibility.
Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the last election, insisted that IPOB could not be blamed for the attacks owing to a denial issued by a faction of the group months back. But his statement, which came after intense backlash from the public over his silence, was met with condemnation as many queried why he was acting as the ‘spokesperson’ of an illegal, violent group.
His designation of the terror group as a ‘body’ also raised alarm and strengthened suspicion of political collaboration between the group, which is demanding a secession of the eastern region from Nigeria, and Peter Obi who was accused of campaigning as an Igbo-Christian candidate in the last election.
Perhaps reinvigorated by Obi’s backing, IPOB has continued apace its enforcement of an illegal sit-at-home protest exercise in multiple eastern states, including Enugu where the state government has threatened to punish traders honouring the restriction.
Streets are deserted and economic activities ground to a complete halt in parts of Anambra and Abia states, owing to fears among residents of deadly reprisals from IPOB if they ignore its call for a sit-at-home.
Simon Ekpa, the Finland-based fugitive who has assumed control of the group since the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, has restated the group’s readiness to proceed with another round of two-week sit-at-home to begin days from now.
Meanwhile, security agencies, including the military, are recording gains in their renewed mission to combat the group and free the people from its violent, barbaric actions.