Monday, 5th June 2023

Insecurity and the depopulation of Igbos

By Lincoln Ogunewe 
16 February 2023   |   3:55 am
Security is the foundation for the existence of life that God has given to mankind. Nothing thrives in the absence of security and nothing grows.

Security is the foundation for the existence of life that God has given to mankind. Nothing thrives in the absence of security and nothing grows. It is a big irony of life that security and its importance is only noticed in its absence. The situation in Imo State today and Ala Igbo in general gives credence to my assertion. Which way forward? Can the situation be reversed? The answer is Yes.

Every society respects the sanctity of life. Ala Igbo is not an exception. Life is such a sacred thing that religions and traditions abhor the taking of the life of anyone what more by violence. The Igbo culture ostracizes and banishes anyone that takes the life of his brother or sister. Today, Ala Igbo drips with the blood of her sons and daughters and all we do is stand and look helplessly. What has befallen Ala Igbo? What has befallen Ndi Igbo.

I know from life experience that the motivation to kill starts from greed. Greed gives rise to envy. Envy gives birth to evil thoughts. Evil thoughts give birth to hatred. Hatred motivates us to kill. Why is there so much hatred in Ala Igbo? Why do we so much hate ourselves? What can we do to unify Ndi Igbo? Love and unity will end the motivation to kill one another. Is love and unity achievable in Ala Igbo today? The answer is Yes.

I saw a little bit of Ala Igbo as a toddler before the outbreak of the Civil War. Love and unity reigned supreme hence the popular saying, “Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya.” The Civil War came with its hardship, yet we remained united in love. The Civil War ended with its hardship and we became more united in love and forged ahead as a people. No killings except in rare cases of armed robbery which was so condemned by all in the society

Today, Ala Igbo has become a theatre of gruesome killings. Today we all live, move and sleep in fear as nowhere is safe in Ala Igbo. Our sons and daughters are afraid to come home. Traditional ceremonies like marriages, burials and end of year Igbo functions are now performed in cities outside Igboland. Do you know that Internally Displaced Camps that we rarely experienced during the Civil War are now springing up in Ala Igbo? Do you know that our aged parents are being relocated from villages because of fear of being killed and gunshot sounds? The leadership and followership must unite to end this madness in Ala Igbo because security is everybody’s business.

The South East that houses Ndi Igbo is the least in terms of population according to available data. Have we pondered to ask how and why? I have and rightly or wrongly attributed it to the estimated 3 million Igbos that were killed during the Civil war that would have given us generations today. That 3 million with their offspring would have risen to 12 million today, if not more. Killings depopulates a race. The unwonted killing of our sons and daughters is depopulating the Igbo race. This madness must stop no matter the provocation.

The costliest commodity in Ala Igbo today is security. This is my area and expertise. I have the training, experience and contact having served in command, staff, intelligence and diplomatic duties while in the military for over 35 years. My motivation for my aspiration to run for governorship in Imo State is to end the insecurity in the State and create a conducive environment for development. I will unify all the opposing/contending forces in the State as I don’t belong to any. I will engage the people, especially the youths.

I understand the strategy and tactics of security operations better than any gubernatorial aspirant and will work with the Military, Police and other Security Agencies in adopting non kinetic operations in ending the insecurity in Imo State for other states in the South East to emulate. Arrogance, threats, guns and bullet would rather exacerbate than end the insecurity in Ala Igbo.

I have a commanding understanding of our National Security Architecture, National Defence Policy and National Security Policy. I know how to apply these tools in conflict resolution. The insecurity in Ala Igbo is not propelled by any extreme ideological views or beliefs and so, can easily be resolved through established conflict resolution mechanism.

I had in the recent past commented on state funded security outfits and the LGA administration system. I stated the criteria state funded security outfits must meet in order to gain the people’s support and confidence. State funded security outfits which fail to meet these criteria should be called what it represents, a militia group whose motive is to kill, destroy and maim.

Also, I stated that LGAs constitute the first tier of our security architecture and will operate optimally if granted autonomy because they are closer to the people. The insecurity is much worse in the LGAs than the cities.

No sacrifice will be too much to be made in ending insecurity in our land. I will lead in making sacrifices that will unite Ndi Imo in ending the insecurity that is gradually consuming us as a people. We are brothers and sisters and one people. Imo State is a bereaved land today with tears and wailings reaching the high heavens. Imo State needs a leadership that is not part of the present problem that has so divided us. Imo state needs a fresh leadership that will foster love and unity in the land.

A leadership that will set aside a day of atonement and restitution for us to cry, forgive and unite as one people. A leadership full of empathy that will connect with the followership. The leadership and followership constitute the everybody that will end the insecurity in Imo State and Ala Igbo in general because security is everybody’s business.

Major General Ogunewe (rtd) is a Labour Party Governorship aspirant in Imo state.