By Casmir Igbokwe
This past week has been very traumatic for me and many other indigenes of Isuofia. We are still at a loss why some gunmen viciously assaulted the peaceful community, which is in Aguata Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State. The police have told us that they have caught some of the attackers. Since they are currently investigating the matter, it will be hasty to conclude on the reasons behind the attack.
Nevertheless, the attack was a desecration of Isuofialand. Never in its modern history has such a thing happened. The traditional ruler of the town, Igwe (Col.) C.A.O. Muoghalu (retd.), expressed the collective indignation of his people when he invoked the wrath of the land against the perpetrators of the dastardly act. He mourned the desecration of the common heritage of his people and said he would soon invite the executive council of Isuofia People’s Assembly, the Isuofia Women Council and the relevant institutions “to embark on cleansing of the temple of our fathers, the Civic Centre.” He asked the president-general of the town, Mr. Jude Okeke, to disallow the use of the Civic Centre until a purification exercise was carried out.
Last Wednesday, an illustrious son of the town, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, had an interactive session with the youths of the community. Everything started well at the Civic Centre, until, suddenly, sounds of gunshots boomed. Before anyone could fathom what was going on, three policemen had been gunned down. People scampered for safety. Some of them sustained injuries in the process. Luckily, Soludo escaped unhurt. But the Commissioner for Public Utilities, Mr. Emeka Ezenwanne, who is also from Isuofia, was not that lucky. The hoodlums took him away.
In recent times, these so-called unknown gunmen have been going round different parts of the South-East, killing security men and setting their patrol vehicles or stations ablaze. In Abia State, the killers have visited such places as Uratta Junction in Aba, Abayi in Osisioma and Isialangwa South and killed some policemen. They ambushed and killed three policemen at Abiriba, in Ohafia LGA and took away two rifles last month.
In Anambra State, they recently killed three naval personnel at a checkpoint at Awkuzu in Oyi LGA and three policemen at a checkpoint at Neni in Anaocha LGA. Last month, they killed an officer of the Nigerian Correctional Service and a female colleague at Nanka when they were escorting a suspect from the court to the Aguata Custodial Centre. They had earlier killed four policemen at police checkpoints at Nkpologwu in Aguata LGA and Omogho in Orumba. They took away their rifles and burnt their patrol vans. Ekwulobia Police Station in Aguata LGA has also come under attacks from these hoodlums.
In Ebonyi and Imo states, it is the same story. They killed two policemen at the Divisional Police Headquarters in Obowo and took away their weapons last February. Last month, they attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters at Isiala Mbano. An Inspector died while receiving treatment from injuries sustained during the attack. There were similar attacks at Ihitte Uboma and Aboh Mbaise.
The attack on Isuofia Civic Centre might be in line with this same pattern. Good enough, police operatives recently arrested some 16 suspected hoodlums involved in some of these attacks. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the police had gathered enough intelligence on the attackers and they would be charged to court soon.
While we await the result of the police investigations, it is worthy to note that the Isuofia incident could have been politically motivated. Otherwise, why invade a hall where people were holding meeting to kill policemen? Was it their intention to instil fear into people such that they start avoiding political rallies? If so, who is afraid of Soludo? And why can’t the person or persons subject themselves to clean democratic norms?
No doubt, Soludo is the candidate to beat in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra. His many support groups are enough to intimidate any opponent into submission. There is Soludo Promoters Forum (SPF), Youths Earnestly Seek Soludo (YESS), Anambra Demands Soludo (ADS), Soludo Support Group (SSG), Soludo Solidarity Forum (SSF) and many others. The intriguing thing is that, so far, these groups are self-funded. This is unlike the norm where an aspirant doles out millions of naira to supporters and hangers on.
Many Anambra citizens believe in him because of his pedigree and what he can do. A first class brain who has consulted for many world-class institutions, Soludo revolutionised the banking industry when he held sway as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is currently a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council. We thank God that we did not lose such a man to hoodlums’ madness.
It is high time security agencies began to find lasting solutions to the spate of insecurity in the region and in the country. My worry here is that, if security men who are meant to protect us cannot protect themselves, there is real danger ahead. Even soldiers are not spared. The other day, bandits invaded a military base in Niger State, burnt it down and killed about five soldiers and some others. If bandits could easily waylay and kill soldiers in this manner, then nobody is safe. This means we have almost completed the journey to the land of failed states.
As usual, we have resorted to prayers. The commander-in-chief who should be on top of the security situation in the country is currently in London for medical check-up. The remaining two years for this administration seems too long. But what else can we do?
Let every governor begin to think of how to secure his state. The South-West appears to have got close to a solution with Operation Amotekun. The South-East governors should hasten to fulfil their promises of establishing a regional security outfit. Anambra used to pride itself as the safest state in Nigeria. Whatever it did to achieve that status before should be revisited. This is time for various vigilance groups to be on red alert. They may not be able to confront a formidable group like the Isuofia attackers but they can alert citizens and share intelligence on strange movements around communities.
Meanwhile, let us thank God for the release of Mr. Ezenwanne. The news of his release Sunday morning brought back hope to the traumatized community. That young man did not deserve the harrowing experience. But life goes on. And may God grant eternal rest to the souls of the slain security agents.
Re: Ortom and our deceitful investigations
Dear Casmir, it is one thing for the Nigerian Armed Forces to acquire series of fighter planes and another for them to have the willpower and sincerity of purpose to stop insurgency. If a high-profile citizen such as a sitting governor could be attacked by bandits and the security agencies beam their searchlights in the opposite direction to the conspicuous abode of these criminals, one wonders what hope remains for the poor farmers and ordinary citizens whose farms and means of livelihood are being destroyed.
– Idong Inyang, Uyo, 08084318845
Our present leaders are used to speaking ‘politically correct’, either for the sake of politics or ethnicity, while the stark reality keeps staring at us. Just as it was for others, Ortom’s case does not need the services of a soothsayer to unravel its truth or who should be held accountable. In our local parlance, we often say “the people that hit you are the very people that you discuss your woes with.”
– Edet Essien Esq. Cal. South, +2348037952470
Dear Casy, the reason the Fulani are looming large is mainly because Buhari, as their kin, is at the helm and the helmsman is not hiding that filial relationship. Hence, all the rhetoric that trail the herders’ murderous activities to the extent that a governor brazenly justified their carrying AK-47s only to recant thereafter due to public odium. Otherwise, how can someone link himself and his cohorts to an attempt on the life of a sitting governor and it is being treated with ‘investigation’ while the man moves about freely? But they should not forget that power is ephemeral. From the biblical corridor, time there was when the Egyptians had a field day subjugating the Israelites. But when God heard their cry, what happened? Annihilation of the Egyptians! Let all the Miyetti Allahs and FUNAMs of today’s world take note and remember that there is tomorrow.
– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731
Dear Casy, the Ortom deceitful investigation has proved our earlier strong belief that Buhari has handed the Nigerian government to Miyetti Allah, FUNAM and their militia terrorist groups, the herdsmen bandits. Buhari ordered his newly appointed service chiefs to arrest any criminal in possession of AK47 guns in our farms and forests. Has any Fulani terrorist been arrested? Instead, the service chiefs are currently arresting Igbo youths whose offence is protecting their villagers from Fulani terrorists that kill them while their governors turn cowards in the face of dangers posed by Fulani. Let’s remind the Buhari government and his Fulani jihadists that Igbo are not cowards. Gowon failed to destroy Igbo. Buhari has failed. The state governors must rise up against Fulani threat. It’s who survives Fulani terror that will rule now and beyond 2023. Ortom, rise up and protect your people. Oga Aso Rock can’t protect us.
-Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
Since a sitting governor’s life was threatened despite his security detail, it means no one is safe in Nigeria. Where are our security agencies? Are they compromised to do their work?
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Casmir, the security failure in Nigeria is a good indicator of failed leadership. It’s not a respecter of any social class. It exists in every nook and cranny of this country. Unfortunately, the government of the day pretends that all is well. Her romance with the group being suspected of masterminding the security problems is even more worrisome. The health of any nation’s economy depends on the security assurance of that nation. No serious investors will risk their investment in anatmosphere of deceit, policy summersaults and hypocrisy.
– Pharm. Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922
Dear Casmir, I believe it’s time to launch a clampdown on bandits, especially now that the elite class is being affected. Nigeria is the only country where security is mainly for the rich. Complaint was made against SARS for years but nothing was done perhaps because the elite had not been affected. Congrats to Ortom.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, April 5, 2021