Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state, on Sunday, narrowly escaped attack by youths and women suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Daily Trust, the governor was in St. Joseph’s Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata LGA when he was reportedly attacked by the assailants.
But IPOB had in a statement issued on Sunday, signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, distanced itself from the attackers, maintaining that it remained non-violent in its pursuit for Biafra freedom.
Witnesses said the youths, dressed in Biafra colour, besieged the church chanting Biafra songs and shouting, ‘No referendum, No election,’ ‘No election in Anambra state,’ ‘We want referendum.’
It was gathered that security operatives attached to the governor had to employ force to protect the governor who was whisked into the church buildings.
“As the confrontation between the police and IPOB continued, the number of the invaders kept swelling as if they were reinforced from somewhere,” a witness said.
“And when it was evident that the attackers wanted to lynch the governor, the security operatives attached to him had to smuggle him out of the church,” he said.
Speaking on the incident, a member of the governor’s press crew said the governor was not smuggled out of the church as alleged.
He said the governor had addressed the congregation at the end of the service before he left.
He claimed the governor had said nobody would stop the election in Anambra state. He said most of the anti-election protesters were not from Anambra state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Garba Umar, who confirmed the incident, warned that such impunity would no longer be tolerated.
“The church is a place of worship and not a place of protest; it is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the governor.
“The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men; it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity,” the CP stated.