By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
An early morning fire Thursday gutted a police station in Ajalli, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The mystery fire did not also spare patrol vehicles that were parked in the compound of the police station, as two of them were burnt down, just as detainees in the station’s cell were said to have escaped.
Though the cause of the fire was not immediately known, some residents of the community who craved anonymity, said the fire might have been ignited by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as they had passed by the station, chanting anti-election songs.
The source said the group who passed by the station shortly before dawn were chanting that no election would hold in the entire Biafraland.
But the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Mohammed, who spoke to journalists, said it is a case of mere fire incident and not an attack as suspected, adding that the police command would have no reason to suspect an attack except investigation proved so.
He said: “It’s a case of fire incident for now until the contrary is proved through discreet investigation.
“The Commissioner of Police Mustapha Dandaura is presently at the scene for on the spot assessment.
“He ordered the DC Department of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department to conduct a thorough investigation in order to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
But IPOB has denied ever having anything to do with the fire incident that engulfed the police station.
Emma Powerful, spokesperson of IPOB, said: “It is unfortunate that Ajalli Police Station in (Orumba North) and few individuals would stoop too low by linking a peaceful movement like IPOB in the recent fire outbreak that burnt down their station without a meaningful investigation.
“IPOB members have no hands in the fire incidence that destroyed so many vehicles within the station. IPOB is a rooted movement and must continue on its stance of non-violent approach. Anybody involving a peaceful movement like IPOB with this recent fire incident in Orumba North is an evil and cannot be forgiven by Heaven and earth.”