The South East Senate Caucus said yesterday that the relocation was imperative in the interest of peace and security.
Senator Mao Ohunabuwa (Abia North) who spoke for the caucus in Abuja claimed there was no justifiable reason for the transfer of the Boko Haram detainees to a state far away from where the suspects were arrested.
Simultaneously, a member of the House of Representatives, Eucharia Azodo (Aguata, Anambra), sent a petition to the federal government to reverse its decision to transfer the detained Boko Haram members to her state, while Governor Wlillie Obiano of Anambra State who is being accused of complicity in the transfer by political opponents deplored what he called attempts to politicize the issue.
Ohunabuwa said that the presence of the suspects in Ekwulobia is capable of creating avoidable tension and fear of the unknown in the area.
He asked for their relocation immediately and threatened to raise the issue on the floor of the Senate should they be retained in Ekwulobia.
He said that such prisoners should be confined in the states where they committed the crime or any other state in the north with maximum prisons.
Ohuabunwa also regretted the renewed killings by the insurgents saying that no effort should be spared to flush out the insurgents from the country.
And in her petition to the federal authorities, Azodo said the relocation of the detainees to Ekwulobia Prison has serious security and socio-economic implications for the people of the state.
She said her constituents are not comfortable with the prisoners’ presence in their midst because the Ekwulobia prison does not have the capacity to accommodate such high risk inmates.
“Ekwulobia Prison in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State is not a maximum security prison,” she said.
“The prison originally has the capacity to house 85 inmates but it is presently overburdened with 135 inmates. The new 47 Boko Haram inmates will over stretch the prison and that could pose dangerous consequences for the community and entire state.
“The arrival of these detainees has led to anxiety across the state with places like Onitsha, Ekwulobia and other major cities of Anambra State witnessing protests.
“Many businesses including markets, filling stations have been closed as a result of the arrival of the Boko Haram detainees.”
According to the lawmaker, the people feared the possibility of jail break that could lead to a culture of violent attacks within the communities.
“There is a general fear of the possibility of a jailbreak aided by their (Boko Haram) members. The relocation of the prisoners to Ekwulobia is in flagrant violation of the avowed wishes of the peace-loving people of Anambra State.
“Even though the management of prisons is on the Exclusive list, I urge the federal government to rescind its decision to relocate the Boko Haram detainees to Anambra.?”
Governor Obiano who has come under attack for allegedly conniving with the federal government on the transfer of the detainees to his state declared yesterday that contrary to insinuations, he would not play politics with the pains and agony of his people.
He appealed to the people of the state to go about their normal businesses while he continues to engage the relevant authorities on the recent transfer of the detainees.
The governor through his media aide, James Eze said: “We wish to inform the general public that Governor Obiano NEVER made any comments to any media. Since the eruption of this controversy, Governor Obiano’s position has been consistent. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Willie Obiano is aware of the strong feelings provoked by Boko Haram among NdiAnambra 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.”