Odinkalu: IPOB, ESN Not Only Cause of Insecurity in Anambra 

Former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof Chidi Odinkalu has said that contrary to belief that secessionist groups are behind violence in Anambra State, the insecurity in the state is actually caused by cultists and other criminal gangs.

Odinkalu who is chairman of Anambra State Truth, Peace and Justice Commission stated this while speaking with journalists at the Anambra State government House, Awka, shortly after submitting the report of the commission to the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo.

Soludo had in 2022, shortly after his inauguration as governor constituted the Anambra State Truth, Peace and Justice Commission, with Odinkalu as its chairman, and other notable personalities as members, including Amb Bianca Ojukwu.

The commission was charged with the responsibility of unraveling the root cause of violence in the state, proffering solutions to ensure an end to violent crimes in the state.

Odinkalu in an interview with journalists said: “Our findings is that there are two causes of violence in Anambra State. There is the primary cause and spillover violence. Crimes caused by secessionist groups are spillovers. Those are mainly coming from Imo, and you know that Anambra has borders with Imo. 

“The primary cause of crime in Anambra is cultism and criminal gangs. Some of these criminal gangs are backed by powerful individuals, and the root cause is accruals from land and natural resources.

“Our finding is that secession is not the only source of crime in Anambra, but organized crime. The places you see IPOB and other secessionist groups are fairly contained and they are well limited.”

Odinkalu said Anambra is blessed with several natural resources, including hydrocarbon, sand mining, kaolin, crude oil and others. He added that land sales is also a big  business in the state.

He said: “Focusing on secessionist agitations as the cause of violence diminishes the problems in the South East. The IPOB boys do not have the capabilities that people are ascribing to them. Organized crime has the capabilities that are more than what the IPOB and ESN has. Most of these IPOB people they ascribe crimes to, have nothing but pump action guns.

“But powerful individuals back criminal gangs and make a lot of money from them. They procure arms for their groups, and during electioneering periods too, politicians use these people. IPOB and ESN can not survive in Ogbaru, criminal gangs bunkering iol there will not let them. Secessionists survive only in the border areas.

He said the commission found through investigation that not less than 86 police personnel have been lost to violence in  Anambra and the South East in a short period of time, describing it as a massive toll on the country. 

“This is because you don’t replace them them easily, they have to go through trainings, gun handling and the rest.”

Odinkal stated that the commission made recommendations to the governor on how to sustain peace in the state, and that he is confident that Governor Soludo would implement the recommendations to it’s letter.

David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka