FROM ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, ABUJA
As controversy continues to trail the recent relocation of Boko Haram prisoners to a prison in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano has appealed to Ndi Anambra to go about their normal businesses, promising to continue his dialogue with relevant authorities on the matter.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, James Eze, the governor debunked some comments credited to him in some media on the matter.
“Governor Willie Obiano is aware of the strong feelings provoked by Boko Haram among Ndi Anambra and the people of the South East. Therefore, he shall never use this subject of pain and anguish to play politics. Those who are not held back by any moral considerations in their pursuit of power, cheap popularity and vendetta are free to play with the agony of the people for their narrow interests. But for Obiano, certain things are bigger than politics. He therefore appeals to Ndi Anambra to go about their normal businesses while he continues to engage the relevant authorities on the matter,” the statement reads.
The governor assured that he would continue to engage the authorities for peaceful resolution of the matter.
Meanwhile, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, representing Abia State in the National Assembly, has advised the Federal Government to order an immediate return of the prisoners to the Northeast in the interest of peace.
He made this declaration in Abuja at the weekend while interacting with journalists, insisting that he would raise the issue as a matter of urgent public importance on the floor of the senate when the lawmakers resume sitting next two weeks. According to him, transfer of such high-profile terrorists to a local prison in Anambra State was a matter of concern to all.
Boko Haram prisoners were reportedly transferred to Ekwulobia prison in Aguata Local Government of the state by the Nigeria Prison Service.
Speaking on behalf of South east Senators, Ohuabunwa said, “there was no justifiable reason for the transfer of Boko Haram prisoners to a local prison from far away north where the said terrorists were arrested.”
He added that “the presence of the said inmates in a local prison would create avoidable tension and fear of the unknown in the area. If the transfer of the said inmates is true, it should be reversed without further delay,” saying that “such prisoners should be confined in the states where they committed the crime or other states in the north with maximum prisons.”
Senator Ohabunwa further argued that it was “a security risk to send such prisoners to a local prison in a place with porous security presence. “No amount of explanations would justify the transfer of terrorists to a state in the South east”. Accordingly, he vowed to mobilise his colleagues to push for the immediate reversal of the decision when Senate resumes sitting on July 21.
Sunday, 5 July 2015