— News Analysis –
Who threw an improvised explosive device (IED) into the country home of Chief John Nnia Nwodo at Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti LGA of Enugu State this Sunday morning?
The criminal(s) struck about 5:30am as the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s family members were preparing for the Sunday Mass, the police and Nwodo have confirmed.
Assurances from the police authorities that they would find the culprit convince no one, as similar assurances in other cases yielded no fruit. Accordingly, the rumour mill has taken over, and faceless “citizen journalists” are spewing venoms and pointing fingers in the media, online and offline.
In a country perennially made insecure by terrorists, no suspect could be exonerated. Today, the prime suspects are labelled “Fulani herdsmen”, even though, judging by their activities in Benue State and other parts of the middle belt, they share affinity with terrorist group Boko Haram.
Outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is also a suspect, for it had in the past disagreed with Ohanaeze. A day or two before the bomb attack, IPOB had indicated that there was a plot [by security agencies!] to bomb public places such as schools and police stations as well as kill innocent citizens “in a bid to incriminate IPOB and make it look like a terrorist organisation”. Was it by a strange coincidence that the first attack happened within 48 hours?
Boko Haram introduced IED bombing into the country. And IPOB has made a quick reference to “terrorists disguised as herdsmen” in a reaction to the attack on Nwodo’s house. Those seeking to implicate IPOB will end up implicating themselves, it claimed in a statement signed by its media and publicity secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful.
IPOB stated: “The organisers of this terror campaign intend to divert attention from the massive embarrassment and public humiliation that awaits ‘Buhari’ in Washington, DC, courtesy of IPOB in the USA.
“They may have wrongly calculated that embarking on mass murder and destruction is the only way to convince the US authorities that IPOB is a terrorist organisation deserving of proscription and extra-judicial executions. Whatever the motives of these terrorists, they have failed woefully. Our modus operandi remains the same – a sustained campaign of civil disobedience, targeted global campaigns, protests, boycotts and rallies.”
While bomb-disposal experts in the police work to determine how the IED was thrown over the fence of the compound, and security is beefed up around the Ohanaeze chieftain, Nwodo will continue to lick his wounds: luckily, no life was lost but damaged windows, ceilings and air conditioners have to be repaired or replaced, and the crater created in the compound has to be filled.
No person or group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. For now, attention is on Benue and Borno states where deaths by terrorist attacks are recorded every day. Only this Sunday, April 29, the same day Nwodo’s compound was attacked, Christians across southern and central Nigeria organised peaceful protests in obedience to a directive from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) after two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers were murdered during an early morning Mass in a rural Benue community penultimate week.