Monday, 08 August 2022 19:30

[OPINION] Should Uzodinma concede security control to non-state actors? - Ifeanyi Maduako

It’s high time that Imo state residents told the government of the state the kind of security architecture that they prefer to be established in the state. The recent killing of some people in Awommama area of the state has elicited a lot of reactions from the world, especially Imo residents. The rate of disinformation in the aftermath of the killing has taken an alarming proportion.

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) had owned up to the killing and had equally given reasons why the incident happened. However, even when the DSS had claimed to have carried out the operation, most indigenes and residents of the state, swayed by the opposition to the state government have stuck to the conviction or belief that the killing was perpetrated by the Ebubeagu security outfit established by the entire governments of the five states in the South-east.

Before the establishment of the Ebubeagu vigilance group, there was so much outcry that the governors of the five states in the east should emulate their counterparts from the South-west who established Amotekun. There was so much outcry that the Nigerian security personnel should vacate the trouble spots in the state and that the state government should establish a security outfit just like the Amotekun of the South-west.

The only departure or distinction in the agitation of the South-east from that of the South-west was that those agitating for the withdrawal of Nigerian soldiers, police and DSS from the states wanted the Eastern Security Network, which is the militant arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to take charge of all the states in the South-east. But, Igboho and his Oduduwa Republic agitators in the South-west never opposed the establishment of Amotekun in the South-west. Of course, the governors of the South-east refused to concede their constitutionally-empowered security control to non-state actors like IPOB and established the Ebubeagu vigilance group which operates in all the five states in the South-east. Paradoxically, while there seems to be a relative piece in Abia, Enugu, and Ebonyi, the same cannot be said in Anambra and Imo even after the establishment of the Ebubeagu security outfit in few local government areas of both states.

Since Governor Hope Uzodinma became governor in January 2020, it does appear that those who lost out in the power struggle have sworn not to allow peace to reign in the state. Uzodimma was not the first man to be declared a governor by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Before him, the apex court pronounced governors in Rivers, Zamfara states, etc. Even after him, there was a similar pronouncement in Bayelsa state, yet in all these states, the opposition has not set the states on fire just because they lost power.

When Sir Celestine Omehia lost out to Rotimi Amaechi after just five months as governor of Rivers state, the state was not thrown into turmoil. David Lyon as governor-elect of Bayelsa state lost the precious power twenty-four hours to his inauguration. Yet, Bayelsa has been relatively peaceful and calm. The man took his faith in equanimity. Imagine if what happened in Bayelsa had happened in Imo state. The most painful or worrying aspect of this insecurity is that it’s happening in the governor’s senatorial zone, particularly in about four local government areas of Orsu, Oru East, Orlu and Njaba.

Even if Uzodinma became a governor by sleight of hand or artifice, is it not idiotic of some elements from his own zone, especially his LGA to constitute themselves as stumbling blocks to his government? Assuming without conceding that Uzodinma became governor by fraud, is it not the height of stupidity that some elements from these four local government areas have been making governance ungovernable for him? Even when a benefit of doubt should be given to the governor whenever his government denies involvement in any killing, some people don’t want to believe him. What does the government stand to gain in destabilising some local government areas in his zone? What existential threat did those allegedly killed by this government constitute to him? If they couldn’t stop him from becoming governor, how could they stop him from getting a second term if the killings were premised on that?

How many people did he kill to become a senator for eight years or did he learn this art of killing as a governor? Even if the governor doesn’t get a second term, is he not a successful politician by all standards as a senator for eight years and a governor for four years? Only a few people are privileged as he is as politicians. Those who are alleging that those killed recently were wedding guests may be unwittingly encouraging insecurity in the state.

Inasmuch as I do not support extrajudicial killing, people must be careful how they rush to conclusion whenever such incidents occur. If they were killed by Ebubeagu, why does Ebubeagu target that part of Imo State? If Ebubeagu has been undertaking extra-judicial killings, why are the streets of the state not littered with thousands of dead bodies? Why should Ebubeagu focus their alleged killings on Awommama, Orlu, Njaba, Orsu, Oru-East and few other places? Why are they not killing in Owerri, Mbaise, Okigwe and other parts of the state?

It is surprising that even Afaraukwu, the hometown of the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, is relatively peaceful but Orlu, Oru East, Orsu, Njaba and some other parts of Imo State are boiling, if we are to believe that the killings are not sponsored by the opposition to the Imo government. These days, once criminals, bandits, kidnappers, etc are killed, the opposition tag them “Innocent People”. For the opposition, especially a radio station and its presenter, every Imo resident is innocent expect Ebubeagu and Security personnel of the federal government.

Like I said earlier, shedding of the blood of the innocent must be avoided by security personnel because what you cannot create, do not destroy except sanctioned by the laws of the land. Even terrorists like Boko Haram and ISWAP members are often not killed but arrested and tried in the law court. There is a karmic repercussion for shedding the blood of the innocent. If you escape punishment for the blood of the people you killed on this earth your generations will not escape it.

Uzodinma has nothing to gain by destabilising his senatorial zone and I am one of those who believe that he may not have any hand in the crises ravaging some parts of the state. No governor would prefer to throw his state into turmoil unless than governor is insane. If Uzodinma has the predilection for destabilising the state, he should have done that in the local government areas of his major political opponents for political gains. Should the governor hand over security control to non-state actors by removing all the security personnel in the state? I dare say that if that happens those who are agitating for the removal of the security personnel will not be able to stay in the state for twenty-four hour when these non-state actors take control.

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