The Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, has identified the unknown gunmen unleashing terror on the state as Igbo people, saying that the perpetrators are not invaders.
Soludo said suspects arrested so far “are 100 per cent Igbo,” but noted that the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had distanced itself from the crime.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria governor spoke on Saturday in an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.
He, however, said his administration had put in place several measures to end the menace.
He said, “They are plain criminals. Some of these criminals also hide under the cloak of agitation but IPOB has repeatedly distanced itself from the criminals.
They are kidnappers and plain criminals and they indulge in these because it is lucrative. Anambra is without a doubt the richest state in the South-East so this is the state where kidnapping has the highest value and so you will have their highest concentration here.
“But we are decimating them. They are not unknown gunmen, they are unknown to the extent that maybe are not caught immediately. But I can tell you we’ve been catching quite a lot of them and they already know that Anambra is not safe for them anymore.
“Let me be clear about it, 100 per cent of the people we have caught are Igbo. There is no hoax that somebody is invading from somewhere. It is 100 per cent Igbo on Igbo.
Anambra receives its proportional share of an influx of Igbo from other South-East states and other parts of Nigeria. At the initial stage when we stage and the first set of people we caught are Igbo from the South-East states and not from Anambra. But as we went on, we discovered that a whole lot of the youth are joining them and we have not disguised among them, we are dealing with them equally.”
The governor stated that several operations are ongoing to address the insecurity, adding that Anambra residents now enjoy relative peace.
“The 8.5 million residents in Anambra can testify to you that insecurity has come down to the barest minimum. At least, in the last three months, cases of insecurity that seem to be daily affairs have come to a halt.
“We have decimated criminal gangs and their infrastructures and I don’t think they have the capacity again to come with the kind of ferocity they have in the past.
Anambra has been relatively peaceful recently and we are pursuing a peaceful agenda. Compared to many other places in Nigeria, I will say if we have to have the statistics in the last three months, I think Anambra will compete favorably as one of the safest comparatively.
“We are not relenting. The operations are ongoing. Many communities are now at peace and having their new yam festival celebrations and these are things that weren’t possible in the past. Millions of events are also taking place simultaneously.”
The governor urged the residents to be patient while the government tackled the menace which he said took years to take root.
He added, “It took years for them to take root and build about 15 camps all over the eight local governments. Their activities won’t disappear in three months. But we are not relenting, we are putting in all our efforts and we are determined to make Anambra safe and secure for the residents and businesses.