Insecurity in southeast will consume us all
“People often believed they were safer in the light, thinking monsters only came out at night. But safety – like light – is a façade.”
This quote from C.J Roberts ‘Captive In the Dark’ pertinently summarises the goings-on in the southeast in the last few years. Scenes from action movies are re-enacted in broad daylight, but the difference is that these ‘actions’ are affecting real-life people and causing the already economically challenged southeast to face the menace of complete desolation as residents migrate to safer options.
The agitation of the Biafran secessionists took a new turn after the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, was arrested. From the incessant sit-at-homes which even government workers obey, to the calls for election boycotts, the southeast region is facing heightened insecurity as subversive groups have sprung from all corners, killing, maiming, destroying, kidnapping, carrying out political vendettas and causing economic hardships to leaders and citizens alike.
When these agitators began running amok in the streets of Igboland, many citizens welcomed them. They saw them as sincere freedom fighters who had come to liberate the masses from the scourges of the Nigerian government. Viral videos splashed on the internet captures citizens cheering these gun-trotting ‘freedom fighters’, now referred to as Unknown Gunmen for want of a better name.
Already, a number of illustrious Igbo sons have fallen to the bullets of these gunmen. Late Dr Chike Akunyili the husband of the late distinguished Dr Dora Akunyili, Late Philip Udala, the chairman of Udala Football Club, late Godsent Eriobu, the manager of Udala FC and the most recent one of Chief Gab Ofoma (Ojemba Enwe Ilo Nnewi) Chairman/CEO of Ofoma Associates Ltd after visiting his home in Nnewi, to mention but a few. A number of traditional rulers across the South-East states, artisans, businessmen and children alike have been victims of these marauding gunmen.
It is alleged the unknown gunmen have their territories where they have hoisted Biafran flags; territories where from which they launch attacks on police stations, INEC offices, schools, banks, army checkpoints and other places they fancy. Ordinary citizens who hailed them for being liberators are now under full oppression, especially on sit-at-home days, and they now tell bitter tales.
In comments extracted from a Facebook forum where the misadventures of the gunmen were being dissected, some contributors told tales of woe
Ifeyinwa Nwoye wrote, “I have a confession to make. When Unknown gunmen were killing law enforcement persons in [South East], I was one of those hailing them and abusing those condemning them. When the agitators started killing those they claim are sabos I also hailed them, and when a good friend of mine who was against all these showed me where they cut off a person’s manhood and was humiliating him while he was groaning in pain, I still insisted it serves him right because he is sabo but my friend told me this, she said, this is an opportunity for anarchy in our land, it will not stop, kidnappers, robbers, criminals, naturally wicked people, and never do wells, will see this as a way to legitimize evil in our land and start committing every manner of crime and some will just kiII anyone they don’t like hiding under ESN and ugm, I still did not care.
“I was also supporting the enforcement of sit at home. I was still defending ugm, ESNand all of them. Then my younger brother who just graduated was killed last Monday by those enforcing sit at home, he was our only son, living my mother without a son she suffered as a widow to train in school. My mother has not even been outside since his death. He was buried without my mother seeing him because she was on watch. I simply called my friend who was reasoning well while my reasons left me and apologized. The blind support many of us gave them when they started doing away with law enforcement is majorly why we are here now, and the killings of anyone they see as sabo and now my brain is working who is to determine who is sabo? what are the parameters? And that cutting off of that man’s manhood, even Isis and other dangerous terror groups have never gone that far.
“Please umunnem, it is time we say NO to what these people are causing in Igbo land, we have to stand up and say no before they kill us all off. Remember as long as they are doing this in the Southeast, no one will care. It is not affecting the whole country. Those that don’t even like us for any reason will be very happy and wish that it never stops. Let us use our brains and stop all these. Today an Igbo person is more afraid of a fellow in our own land than anything else. Enough. It took the mayhem coming to my doorstep for me to wake up. I am sorry for all I caused in my own small way. Our governors, Ohaneze, Igwes, and Igbo leaders, please, do something to stop all this, many men and women are already running away from our land. Enough.”
Onyeka Cassidy also had a bitter take to tell.
“I saw my childhood friend’s lifeless body murdered in cold blood. The shock hasn’t left me. We sat together from Primary school till I left University. He was the brother I never had. We fought bullies together, ate together, drank from the same cup. Always laughing at our silly jokes and plans of travelling overseas for Greener pastures. His mom still calls me to ask of Danny and I break down each time I hear her cry in excruciating pain. I’ve contemplated suicide. Yes, life lost its meaning the moment I lost Danny Boy to sit-at-home enforcers. The monster we have created in the southeast has come home to roost. If we don’t nip it in the bud more mayhem will knock at our doors.”
The most heartbreaking part of the fiasco is that other criminal elements, who are not even part of the pseudo-liberators now capitalize on the situation to form their own kidnap gangs, rob their neighbours, carry out vendettas against perceived enemies, rape and kill. This is besides the rapid economic decline the region has faced in the last two years.
Who now do we call to nip it in the bud? The federal forces in the southeast are busy burning homes of innocent citizens from Izombe to Orsu to Nsukka, all in a bid to retaliate against strikes by unknown gunmen. The southeast governors and their associates would gladly sit at home on days the pseudo-liberators map out. The traditional rulers have no say lest they be attacked. Businesses and individuals who have something going for them are leaving the southeast in their hundreds. Indeed, this insecurity will consume us all .