MEMBERS of the public in the Imo State capital Owerri have lynched an Eastern Security Network (ESN) operative to death after he tried to enforce the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob’s) sit-at-home order earlier today.
Ipob has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war. Its leader Nnamdi Kanu, who has leading the secession calls, was recently abducted in Kenya and flown to Nigeria where he is currently facing treason charges.
To protest Mr Kanu’s arrest, Ipob called for weekly sit-at-home campaigns every Monday, which have been very effective across the southeast geo-political zone with widespread compliance. ESN, Ipob’s armed wing, ruthlessly enforce these sit-at-homes but today, it appears that an angry mob in Owerri were not having any of it and decided to fight back.
Rabiu Hussaini, the Imo State police commissioner, revealed that before the police patrol team arrived at the scene, the ESN member had been lynched, while his gang members fled. Michael Abattam, a spokesman for the Imo State Police Command, added that Mr Hussaini had directed that those who carried out the lynching be arrested and subjected to police investigation.
Mr Abattam said: “Suddenly, one Obinwanne Iwu, 34 years, a native of Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area, who is an escapee of Imo Correctional Centre, Owerri, went to the market with his gang trying to enforce a sit-at-home order of the proscribed Ipob/ESN terror group. They were shouting at the top of their voices that today is Monday and everybody must obey the sit at home order.
He added that residents of Umuagbavo Oru Ahiara in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo came out of their houses and were going about their lawful businesses before the trouble started. According to Mr Abattam, the Ipob/ESN harassment did not go down well with the people who resisted the gang.
He said the angry mob in their numbers held Mr Iwu, tied his hands behind his back while others fled the scene. In the process, the suspect was mercilessly beaten to death before the police patrol team arrived at the scene.
Mr Abattam added: “Efforts made by the police patrol team to arrest the perpetrators proved abortive as they all fled the scene on sighting the patrol team.”