A criminal group on Tuesday, April 27, torched the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, Southeast Nigeria, heightening the tension in a region experiencing an upsurge in violent attacks on security forces.
The court was set ablaze after an invasion of the court premises in the wee hours of Tuesday, Loveth Odah, Police spokesperson in the state, said.
According to her, the assailants intended to raze down the entire building but had only succeeded in destroying the library and security post, as the fire service arrived at the scene to quench the fire, adding that there were no casualties.
She said the motive of the attack was unclear but the state police command had begun an investigation to unmask the perpetrators of the attack.
“Though no arrest has been made, the investigation is ongoing,” the Police PRO said.
“The Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, has promised to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
A resident who spoke to reporters said the incident had caused panic among locals because of the recent spate of attacks ravaging the neighbouring Imo and Abia states.
A number of armed groups are currently operating across the Southeast region, launching attacks on police stations and security formations, a pattern, analysts say, is similar to Boko Haram insurgency in its infancy, to gather a large cache of arms from the armoury and dislodge trust in the security forces and state institutions.
Not less than 18 police stations have been attacked across the Southeast region since January 2021.
An attack on a correctional facility in the southeastern state of Imo is deemed the deadliest one yet. The attackers, suspected to be separatist fighters, released 1,884 inmates.
The attack on the federal high court is the first on a judicial institution.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly ordered relevant agencies of the Federal Government to end what he called “anarchy” in the region.
Analysts say the Nigerian security forces are already being overstretched to combat the multifaceted security challenges bedevilling the country—insurgency in the Northeast, banditry and kidnap for ransom in the Northwest, farmers-herders conflict in North-central and Southwest.
Kabir Adamu, a security analyst, said the Nigerian government must strengthen “community and security agencies cooperation” for information gathering.
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