SHOCKING: Boko Haram prisoners moved to Anambra

By Amako Nneji June 30, 2015 13:28

SHOCKING: Boko Haram prisoners moved to Anambra

Following reports that 47 Boko Haram prisoners have been secretly relocated to Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, the Ekwulobia Trade and Allied Union has disclosed that the State Governor Willie Obiano mobilized them to stage a protest resisting the move by the Federal Government.

A renowned trader in Ekwulobia main market, Chukwuma Ekele who stated this on Tuesday during an interactive session with Post Nigeria described the relocation as suicidal and insisted that the relocation of the Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwulobia was with the full knowledge of Governor Obiano.

He said Obiano invited the traders for a meeting at the Government House in Awka on Sunday night before the prisoners arrived.

The trader stated that armoured tankers were positioned at the entrance of the prison with shops and offices in Ekwulobia town shut down.

Obiano’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. James Eze, had in a statement, exonerated the Governor from the relocation arrangement.

According to Ekele, “The Chairman of the Ekwulobia Traders and Allied Union, Mr. Ebere Nnopu told us that we are having a meeting with the Governor at the Government House.

    “When we attended the meeting, the Governor told us that President Buhari called him and told him some Boko Haram suspects will be relocated to Ekwulobia Prison for undisclosed reasons.

    “It was the Governor who further adviced us that we should stage a protest, resisting such a move by President Buhari by carrying placards.”

Ekele revealed that the town was quite tense with reports of the prisoners’ arrival making the rounds.

    “When we came back, following the instructions of the Governor, we carried placards with the inscription, ‘Buhari save our souls’, ‘we don’t want Boko Haram here,’ etc.

    “As I speak now, there are tensions in the town; businesses have been grounded as stern looking soldiers have taken over the Ekwulobia Prison’s vicinity.”

A teacher in the town, Victor Onyeze said that the security installation in Ekwulobia town was so intimidating that some inhabitants of the town had opted to stay indoors.

There were also feelers that traders in the commercial town of Onitsha had vowed to continue their protests, following the alleged relocation of the prisoners to Ekwulobia Prisons.

An indigene who spoke on the condition of anonymity lamented that President Buhari might be acting on a script by relocating Boko Haram suspect to the South East.

    “What happened to other prisons in the north, why must they bring it to the east?

    “Why must it be now when a northerner has taken over that the prison authorities decided to bring those criminals to pollute our serene environment?” he queried.

However, the All Progressives Congress, APC, South-East geopolitical zone, described as blatant falsehood the alleged plan by the Federal Government to transfer suspected Boko Haram detainees to Ekwulobia Prison.

An APC Spokesperson in the South-East, Osita Okechukwu, said in a statement: “We wish to categorically say that the rumour making the rounds that Boko Haram detainees will be transferred to Anambra State or any other State for that matter is blatant falsehood.

“We have made contacts with the Presidency, Nigeria Prison Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs and they have assured us that there is no iota of truth in the mischievous rumour.”

In reaction, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano had confirmed that there were indeed plans by the Federal Government to relocate some terrorist suspects to the state but that he resisted the plan because the state prison facilities were inadequate to accommodate such high-risk inmates.

    “Anambra has been one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria in the past one year under his watch and that the arrival of these radical elements in any part of the state would disrupt this peace and lead to a new regime of a different kind of fear in the state.

    “Ekwulobia Prison is not a Maximum Security Prison. It is therefore not suitable as a holding place for convicted terrorists. Global experiences show that terrorists and terror suspects are kept in strongly fortified and isolated places

    “Ekwulobia Prisons has a capacity to hold 85 inmates. At the moment, there are 135 inmates in the prison. Therefore, there is no space for new prisoners. The acute shortage of space presents a high possibility for the radicalization of other inmates by the Boko Haram convicts.”