The governor said the attack on Aguata local government was a reprisal by criminals who were sacked by security agents in a raid on their camps in the area.
The Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has condemned the attack on the headquarters of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He said those who attacked the council on Thursday were criminals who carried out a reprisal after they were sacked by security agencies from their camps in the bush the same day.
Mr Soludo, who hails from Isuofoa, a community in the affected local government, spoke when he visited the scene of the incident on Friday. He described the attack as despicable and inhumane.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how gunmen attacked the council setting buildings on the premises ablaze.
The governor in a statement on his official Facebook page, after Friday’s visit, said those who are still in the forest and armed are no longer agitators but criminals and would be resisted by the people of the state.
He said: “We have extended the olive branch to all genuine agitators, and made extensive calls for those in the bush to come out and shun criminality.
“How do you explain to any sane mind that “responsible citizens” have elected to pursue a supposed legitimate course adopting criminal strategies of kidnapping, arson and murder? This is despicable, not permissible and against any known law of humanity.
“Yesterday, security operatives smoked out some criminal camps at Ogboji and Aguluezechukwu, and the reprisal is the burning of Aguata LGA Headquarters by some of the fleeing criminals.”
The governor said the security agents who raided the hideouts of the criminals found registers with names of kidnap victims and ransoms paid
“Part of the items found in these criminal hideouts is a register of kidnap victims and the ransom paid. This is not who we are. Never can we, under any guise, allow criminals the latitude to define who we are.
“Ndi Anambra are irrepressible. They are out to reclaim their land. To restore peace, and set the pace for the building of a Liveable and Prosperous Homeland. I repeat, anyone in the bush with a gun is a criminal and would be fiercely resisted by the people,” he added.
Security agencies and government facilities have increasingly come under attack by gunmen in the five south-eastern states of Nigeria. The armed persons have also attacked prominent citizens and other residents, killing some and kidnapping others.
The federal government has blamed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and its militant arm, ESN, for the attacks. IPOB seeks a Biafra republic which it wants to be carved out from the South-east and parts of the South-south region of Nigeria.
IPOB has, however, denied carrying out some of the attacks including the latest one in Aguata.
In a statement on Friday by the spokesperson, Emma Powerful, the group reiterated “that IPOB has to hands in the criminality and insecurity being perpetrated in the region by imported hoodlums, dissidents and wicked politicians.
“Those behind this barbarity are not IPOB members or Eastern Security Network(ESN, IPOB’s security arm) operatives.”
“IPOB has no business with unknown gunmen,” the group said, adding that “the insecurity and killing of our innocent citizens are unacceptable by IPOB worldwide and we must bring down those behind these devilish activities.”