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Insecurity and emergency chart in South East

By Editorial Board
18 October 2021   |   3:55 am
The police and other security/law enforcement agencies in the country owe a duty to Nigerians to unravel the forces behind the wave of violent crimes, including murder and arson that have engulfed practically...


The police and other security/law enforcement agencies in the country owe a duty to Nigerians to unravel the forces behind the wave of violent crimes, including murder and arson that have engulfed practically the five states in the South Eastern region of the country. Getting to the roots of the violence is a more acceptable and enduring solution to the insecurity impasse in that zone; much preferable and reassuring than the threat to impose a state of emergency on that region; which would appear to be a simplistic, ineffective and politically suspicious endeavour. The postulations along this line are not necessarily outlandish, considering that a crucial governorship election is barely three weeks away in Anambra, and stakeholders are not hiding their desperation and anxiety in the expected outcome.

Being a major player in the election, the Federal Government that controls the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the centre, and which candidate is vying for the state election in Anambra, needs to tread carefully to avoid sending wrong signal on its intention regarding the election. In any event, the Federal Government is in charge of the major security agencies that have responsibility to maintain law and order. Imposing a state of emergency on Anambra State or any other part of the South East is a clear admission of its failure to fulfil that constitutional mandate. This, of course, is beside the logical contention that, compared with the breakdown of security in many other sections of the country, the situation in Anambra is a far cry to one necessitating such a declaration.

Without doubt, there has been a spike in recent weeks in the waves of insecurity in many parts of the five states that made up the South East. This has been epitomised by the spate of killings, arson, and other forms of violent criminal activities in the region particularly Anambra State. Notable amongst these is the gruesome murder of Dr. Chike Akunyili, the widower of the former Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Akunyili, and members of his entourage; the destruction and burning of the country home of APC Chieftain and Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Drainages and Water Resources, Mr. Joe Igbokwe; killings of civilians; burning of the office of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Department of State Services (DSS) in Nnewi some days ago.

Although President Muhammadu Buhari in his statement assured Nigerians that killers of Dr. Akunyili would face both the judgment of man and that of God, Nigerians would rather, sooner than later, have them face judgement before a competent court of record, if security agencies can unravel the circumstances surrounding the gruesome act and arrest the perpetrators. For too long, arrest and prosecution of criminal offenders, particularly in cases involving high profile members of the society appear to be an impossible feat for security agencies.

Yet, if security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government, with the spate of unbridled killings across the country, government has failed in its duty and responsibility to Nigerians. The assurance offered by the Buhari administration cannot provide succour to Nigerians whose safety in their bedrooms, schools, farms or places of worship is no longer guaranteed. The various attacks, too numerous to recount again raise the question: where is the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces? Emboldened by the ineffective posture of security agencies, perpetrators of these criminal acts are becoming more brazen. Government needs to act fast to return peace and stability to the nation.

The prevailing situation in the South East where citizens cannot go about their lawful businesses for fear of being killed or maimed by ‘unknown gunmen’; amid sit-at-home orders by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) organisation, while elected governments at the state or federal level offered no protection, begs the question of government’s competence.

Those who have drawn a correlation between the current state of insecurity, particularly in Anambra State, and the governorship elections slated for November 6, 2021 should not be disregarded. Therefore, while government is expected to do all within legal bounds to ensure the safety of its citizenry, the suggestion of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, will only escalate tension in the region.

Basically, Nigerians are not interested in the designation of the perpetrators of these crimes or their reasons for so doing. They remain criminals who have violated the laws of the land and should be treated as such. The vandals and murderers should be arrested and prosecuted to ensure the stability and peace in the region, and Nigeria in general; and to deter other mischief makers. Asking for the security of lives and properties of Nigerians is not too much a demand for the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, particularly when the President and the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano have persistently claimed to know the persons wrecking these havocs. It is not enough for the government to claim knowledge of the perpetrators without taking any visible step towards bringing them to justice, for it is said that knowledge without reciprocal action is useless. Nigerians demand that government lives up to its constitutional responsibility of safeguarding their lives and properties; it is a charge that government cannot side-step without compromising its sacred vow to uphold provisions of the constitution.