Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says agents of anarchy are weaponizing the frustration and discontent of the country’s young people for their own profit, calling on citizens to reject such people.
According to the Vice President, the path of violence can only lead to a disaster that consumes everyone and leads to the desolation of the country.
Mr Osinbajo’s spokesman Laolu Akande quoted the Vice President in a statement on Wednesday as having said this during a one-day visit to Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Mr Osinbajo was in the southeastern state to commission a road project executed by the state government. He also visited the Imo State Police Headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Centre, both of which were attacked in the early hours of Monday.
ARISE News had reported the early Monday attack on the police headquarters in Owerri during which one police officer sustained a gunshot injury. The armed men, using guns and dynamites, also attacked the Owerri correctional facility where over 1,800 inmates were freed.
The police have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
IPOB, which wants an independent Biafra country from the Southeast states, swiftly denied carrying out the attacks.
“Nigerians must come together and reject the agents of anarchy seeking to cause chaos for their own selfish interests, especially as there are many more who are working tirelessly to build up the country’s system and to enhance it,” his spokesperson Akande said in a statement.
“Our system is not perfect – no earthly system is – but democracy provides channels for seeking redress for injury, for peacefully addressing the problems that ail us.
“There are many who are working tirelessly to improve our system, to build it up and to enhance it. We must, therefore, reject the agents of anarchy that are seeking to weaponize the frustration and discontent of our young people for their own profit.
“The path of violence can only lead to a disaster that consumes everyone and leads to the desolation of our communities. It is easy to take peace for granted, but we need not learn the value of peace through the horrible crucible of war.”
Calling on Nigerians to reject groups that want to sow violence and destruction, the vice president, referring to those who may be behind the Monday attacks, said: “We must reject any attempt to portray these criminal elements as anything other than representatives of their own malice and hatred. They do not represent the good people of this state and this geopolitical zone.
“Anyone who perpetrates violence does not represent the progressive mindedness of the good people of this State and this zone. And I call on all of us to come together to resist any attempt to turn the progress and peace that this zone is set to experience to conflict and disruption.”
Continuing, he said, “an attack on the critical institutions of law enforcement, police stations and prisons is an attack on the safety, security and well-being of the citizens. It is not merely an assault on law and order, it is a mindless attack on the people and our way of life.
“When you attack police stations and free dangerous criminals, you put men, women, children and their possessions and livelihoods at risk. Whatever the motives of the perpetrators, this action is egregious and atrocious in the extreme, and all men and women of goodwill must openly condemn this assault on the way of life of the good people of the state.”
Mr Osinbajo assured the people of the state that “the security in this city and the State has, since yesterday, been further enhanced and we are set to strengthen security capacity even more here.”
The Vice President noted that the search for the escaped inmates of the Correctional Centre has begun in earnest.
“I want to commend the Governor of the State for his calm, measured, but firm handling of the security situation in the state. The Federal Government stands with you and the great people of Imo State at this crucial time,” he added.
By Abel Ejikeme