By Clifford Ndujihe & Tom Moses
Igbo Leaders have urged the Federal Government and all stakeholders to avert what they termed desperate attempts by Boko Haram insurgents to bomb the South-East, warning that a successful attack in the region portended grave danger for the country.
In a statement by their Deputy Secretary, Evang. Elliot Uko, the Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, described as worrisome the Sallah day arrest in Borno State of a long trailer laden with bombs and IED’s disguised as cattle merchants headed for Onitsha and Port Harcourt.
“This simply tells us that those who are committed to bombing the east are very serious at their plans,” they said in the statement entitled, ‘The calm before the storm.’”
Noting that the state of the nation is precarious, Igbo leaders said: “We have two choices facing us. One is to keep quiet and look the other way until it happens. The other is exactly what we are doing now: Raise our voice in warning, praying and hoping that this avoidable catastrophe would pass us by. Truth is that Boko Haram is desperate to bomb eastern Nigeria. We don’t want that to happen because the implications are clearly frightening.
If you add this to the earlier attempt to bomb a church with 10,000 capacity at Owerri, the attempt to kill both General Muhammadu Buhari and Sheik Bauchi, nobody knows how many of such trailers have successfully transferred the deadly cargo to the east waiting for the time to strike.
“Had any of these three events exploded according to Boko Haram plan, Nigeria would have been history by now. Now, we know that the sponsors of Boko Haram are desperate to attack the South-East, let nobody pretend the grave implications of a successful Boko Haram attack on the South-East is lost on them.
“Since the Kano Riots of 1953, easterners have been killed every year in very gruesome manner in the North for 61 years; sometimes over introduction of Sharia Laws, sometimes because of a cartoon in Denmark, sometimes over beauty pageant article on “Thisday newspaper, sometimes because of election results. Pursuing easterners down home to bomb them in the name of Islamisation by force would be the last straw. Nigeria will not survive a Boko Haram attack in the East.”
“In this season, which could easily be described as the season of uneasy calm before the impending storm we remind the authorities that if Boko Haram does succeed in bombing the South-East with casualties, it would be impossible to stop the catastrophe that would follow; reprisals and counter-reprisals.
“A people pushed to the wall will react and the northern crowd will also react and no power on earth can hold Nigeria together again. As the enemies of peaceful co-existence are determined to twist the tiger’s tail, this is truly the calm before the storm.”
Threatens Akwa Ibom
In like manner, the Akwa Ibom State Government said yesterday that there are threats by the insurgents to bomb designated markets, churches and public places in the state.
Confirming the threats, Akwa-Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, in a statement, said the threats were contained in “text messages from a terrorist group, Boko Haram threatening the peace and security of the state.”
The Commissioner therefore advised members of the public to be security conscious and
be extra vigilant by promptly reporting suspicious movements of strange elements that constitute security threats to security personnel for action.
Umanah however assured all indigenes and residents of the state of their safety as government has already directed security agencies to step up surveillance to tackle the threat as well as ensure the safety and security of lives and property including sensitive and important installations.
In the same vein, Umanah urged all law abiding citizens to go about their legitimate businesses as government was on top of the situation, maintaining that government was poised to sustain the peace and stable environment which made Akwa Ibom a safe haven for visitors, investors and her indigenes.