The atmosphere of peace and tranquility that returned to Imo State recently was shattered on Saturday, when gunmen razed the country home of   the President General (PG) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor,  and Umuguma Police Headquarters in Oru East and  Owerri West local government areas respectively.

Eyewitnesses said two police constabularies on duty were killed during the attack  on the police headquarters but the police spokesperson  in the state, Michael Abattam, a CSP, told The Nation that  no casualty was recorded.

“The attack is true but there was no casualty and no police man was killed as at the time we received the report,” he said.

The attack on the police headquarters was said to have started at about 4.45am with  heavy bombardment that resulted in loss of properties worth millions of naira.

While people were busy lamenting the despicable attack, more than 10 hoodlums in a convoy, according to eyewitnesses, struck at the  Awo- Omanma home of Obiozor. “They were spotted throwing explosives at the  magnificent building,” an eyewitness said.

The eyewitness said the PG was not at home when the attackers executed the dastardly act.

The attackers were said to have stopped at the gate, throwing dynamites which ignited part of the building into the compound .

Some residents told our correspondent that properties worth millions of naira were engulfed by the fire.

One of the residents said ” the country home of Prof George Obiozor was burnt last night. The CCTV cameras captured the attack. Thank God Prof was not at home when they came.”

When The Nation called his mobile line, Obiozor did not answer. National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, promised to get back to our correspondent when contacted but was yet to do so as of the time of filing this report. But one of the leaders of Igbo socio-cultural group who pleaded anonymity confirmed the incident.

He called on the police to fish out those who carried out the arson.

Police spokesperson in the state, CSP Michael Abattam, also confirmed the incident, saying that part of the house was destroyed.

“Some bad boys went to the place to set the house ablaze. Nobody has been identified yet, but we are investigating it,” he said.

People  who witnessed the attack on the police headquarters said there was massive exchange of fire that sent residents of the area scampering for safety.

Our correspondent learnt that on arrival, the gunmen who came with guns and explosives immediately opened fire at the divisional headquarters after blocking the roads leading in and out of the station including the one close to the LGA council headquarters.

No fewer than 12 vehicles parked at the police station and the roof of the station were burnt by the explosives used in attacking the station.

An  eye witness said that the sounds of the weapons the attackers came with frightened them as they ran into bushes out of fear of being hit by stray bullets.

A resident of the area, who craved anonymity, said the hoodlums were callous. “On arrival, they blocked the roads, threw their dynamites into the police station and opened fire. They now laid ambush to attack officers who ran out of the station for safety.

“Unfortunately, two police constabularies by name Ifeanyi and Iyke were killed. Ifeanyi was from Umunkwo in Umuguma community here. He was a final year student at Imo State University in Owerri. I knew him. It is just one year now he was recruited. He was trying to scale the fence when they used machete to cut him. He was sliced. The young man died on the spot. This is very unfortunate.

“The second victim, Iyke was from Avu community. They shot him at one of his legs as he fled. He was later found dead at a water stand where he possibly went to drink water. This is very unfortunate.”

Our correspondent gathered that it took the efforts of fire fighters from Owerri to quench the inferno.

Another eyewitness said ” fire fighters just quenched the fire now. The entire place is in a state of fear and confusion as we didn’t sleep last night. The sound of the guns and bombs were too frightening. The invasion was deadly.”

The attack came few hours the Assistant Inspector General of police in charge of zone 9- Umuahia,  Isaac Akinmoyede, left the state after a one- day working visit.

Uzodinma, Ngige, others condemn attacks

Imo State governor, Sen Hope Uzodinma, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, and other prominent Igbo leader have condemned the attacks.

The Imo State government in in a statement  personally signed by Governor Uzodinma regretted that desperate politicians who believe in violence were yet to sheath their swords in spite of repeated appeal to that effect.

Uzodimma described the attack on the country home of Prof Obiozor as cowardly and height of desperation.

He vowed that the government was already working in concert with security agencies to identify and punish the perpetrators.

He bemoaned the incessant resort to violence in settling political differences by some politicians in the state, and warned that the government would no longer condone such banditry.

According to him, “the time of those who unleash this kind of mayhem in the state is over. We shall hunt them down to face the full weight of the law.”

Uzodinma wondered why the bandits should attack the home of a man who is not a politician but a statesman working for the good of the entire Igbo race.

He said it was shameful that both the sponsors and perpetrators of the violence deployed their malicious attack on an innocent man.

While commiserating with Prof Obiozor on the burning of his home,he assured Imo people that government will continue to do all within its Constitutional power to protect lives and property in the state.

Meanwhile, most prominent personalities in the Imo state kept mum over the bombing of  Obiozor’s country home.

Many  of them did not respond to  calls while some  who answered said they wanted to watch the unfolding event before commenting on the issue.

However, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the state, Ambassador Azunna Akpelu condemned the arson saying that Prof. Obiozor has not made any inflammatory statement to warrant the burning of his house.

“As it is now everything about about the incident is still sketchy. I don’t know why this could happened to him when he has not made any inflammatory statement against anybody that could warrant burning of his house. What I  know that about the Igbos is that they are lovers of their brothers, the Igbos are not violence, they are peace makers. Whatever ha that has caused that is what we have to find out and at an appropriate time I will now speak on that.”

Elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu said he would speak on the incident later but said Prof. Obiozor did not deserve what has happened to him.

Also, a former House of Representatives member, Dr. Chris Asoluka said the President General “is a gentleman who does not deserve such treatment at his retirement age.”