Revelations of how members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, planned to burn down the Afam Power Station in Oyigbo local government in Rivers State have emerged.
A well-connected source in the area told The Neighbourhood on Saturday that the proscribed group had planned to carry out the attack last Wednesday or a day later. However, “diplomatic moves” made by the leadership of Oyigbo youths and the Ndoki Nation Youth Assembly nipped what would have been the biggest assault on Nigeria’s critical assets in the course of the avalanche of attacks launched by IPOB in the South East and South South, and hoodlums in the South West of Nigeria in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
The Afam power station, which belongs to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has an installed capacity of about 1000MW of electricity, and supplies power to many Nigeria states.
According to findings made by The Neighbourhood, in the area, the suspected IPOB militants, who, according to a statement by the Rivers State Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Nnamdi Omoni, attacked and burnt down two police stations in Oyigbo and killed a senior police officer, had targeted the power plant to “score maximum injury to the evil regime of Muhammadu Buhari.” But quick moves by the youths deflated the plans.
The Neighbourhood went in search of the Chairman, Ndoki Nation Youth Assembly identified as Stanley Akaya, as several sources in that area that spoke to the newspaper linked him to the aborting of the reported planned sabotage.
Due to the security challenges in the area, The Neighbourhood was unable to have physical one-on-one with the Youth Chairman, however, in a telephone conversation, Mr. Akaya confirmed that youths in the area played a major role in the protection of the Afam Power Plant though he was evasive when asked to confirm the report of IPOB’s plans. “All I can tell you is that they(IPOB) did their own and we did our own.” When prodded on how they achieved the feat, Mr. Akaya, a native of Afam, told The Neighbourhood that the youths used “diplomacy and not force” in resolving the matter. “We were not confrontational in our approach to IPOB. So, there was no force, at all. What mattered to us was the peace we needed”, he added.
He commended Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on his decision to proscribe the outlawed organization in the state. He confirmed to The Neighbourhood that peace was returning to the Oyigbo area despite sporadic gunfire which residents said had kept them sleepless in the last three days. When The Neighbourhood placed a call to a family living close to the Oyigbo Expressway Junction, which was like the assembly point for the IPOB rioters in the previous days, they said that for the first night in as many nights in the past weeks, they slept well as there were no gunshots. “For the first time in many nights, we were able to sleep without gunshots”, their mother told The Neighbourhood.
Efforts made to reach the Chairman of Oyigbo local government area, Gerald Oforji, were unsuccessful as of the time of this report.