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Three Years After: IPOB Reacts To Owerri Jail Break – Blames Government, Security Agencies

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has denied being responsible for the attack and jailbreak at the Owerri Correctional Centre in Imo State in April 2021.

 

IPOB on Friday in a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, reacted to an allegation by the Nigerian Army that the Biafran group was responsible for the attack at the correctional facility in 2021.

 

IPOB rather blamed the Nigerian security for the jailbreak, saying that “To put the record straight, the attack at Owerri Correctional Center was masterminded by the Nigerian security.”

 

This is as the Nigeria Army at Obinze, Owerri recently accused IPOB members of being responsible for the attack at the Owerri prisons where at least 1827 inmates of the facility were freed.

 

Powerful noted that “Owerri Correctional Center is situated in close proximity to many Nigerian security agencies. The Nigeria Police command headquarters, the state CID, over six police stations, the Government House DSS office, naval command, military base at Obinze are all in close proximity to the correctional facility in question.

 

“From eyewitness accounts including Imo State Police report, the attack on Owerri Correctional Centre lasted for almost four hours without resistance or casualty.

 

“The question is; where were all the surrounding security forces within Owerri when the attack was going on and numerous gunshots were heard?”

 

The IPOB spokesperson further questioned “Who then ordered these security forces not to respond to the distressed calls during the attack which lasted nearly four hours? What kind of jailbreak can last for four hours without confrontation from any of the avalanche of security forces in and around Owerri municipal if not coordinated by the government itself?”

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He said that “The Nigerian Army is displaying unprofessionalism by engaging in media blackmail and propaganda,” questioning “Why did the Nigeria Army wait for three years to start talking about the attack at Owerri Correctional Center?”

 

Powerful alleged that “The state sponsored attack at the Owerri Correctional Centre was organised by the Nigeria government with its security agencies, especially the army to free criminals that they have been using in creating insecurity in the land of Biafra, particularly in Imo State just to blackmail IPOB. For over three years, the Nigerian government refused to open an investigation into the attack.”

 

According to him, “Thinking that Nigerians may have forgotten it, but, boom!, they added the 2021 Owerri jailbreak to the list of their blackmailing strategies against IPOB in 2024.

 

“IPOB is not responsible for the Owerri jailbreak.”

 

Firing back at the Nigerian Army for accusing it of being responsible for the Owerri jailbreak, IPOB alleged that “It was the Nigerian government and its security agencies that masterminded the jailbreak in Owerri Correctional Center on April 5, 2021, and also at Kuje, Abuja jailbreak on July 5, 2022, to free criminals to be used for blackmailing IPOB and to release ISWAP terrorists in prison respectively.”

 

He said that “When IPOB members are illegally abducted (as always), and our lawyers go to their courts in Nigeria to defend and free them, that is when Nigeria presents this nonsensical allegation of jailbreak against them as the charge against them.

 

“This is ridiculous! IPOB members don’t carry out jailbreaks to free our members. IPOB are responsible and law abiding, self-determination movement.

 

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“Since 2021 that the attack on Owerri Correctional Center took place, the Nigerian government and Imo State government have not conducted a public investigation into the attack because they were accomplices.

 

“Suddenly after three years, the Nigeria Army at Obinze, Owerri, has published the pictures of the purported 27 criminals they claimed were IPOB members that carried out the attacks. We dare them to also publish their names, their units, and names of their coordinators.

 

“The question is; if the Nigerian Army did not respond to the distressed calls during the attack on the facility and there hasn’t been a published arrest of the assailants for three years, how did the Nigerian Army get the photos of the so-called IPOB members they now claim carried out the attack?

 

“Why hasn’t the Nigeria Government and the Owerri Correctional Center published the names and pictures of the purported 1827 inmates that escaped during that attack? The government knows why they are hiding the identities of the criminals that escaped and the men they sent to free them.

 

“The attackers at the Owerri Correctional Center were selected servicemen from the Nigerian Army, police, DSS and prison guard.

 

“All the security agency’s commanders in Owerri were briefed before the attack. That was why the attack went on for nearly four hours without resistance or casualty irrespective of the many security formations in Owerri.

 

“The Nigerian government can’t continue to deceive people with analytical minds, especially Biafrans.

 

“They (Nigerian Army) should focus on confronting the insurmountable insecurity challenges in Nigeria instead of being a tool for government propaganda. Anyone or group regarding IPOB and ESN as non-State actors are mistaken.”

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