• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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South East security: Let’s end it now

South East security: Let’s end it now

MANY have lost hope of the Federal Government showing a maintained interest in the return of peace to the South East. The indications are that the centre at best is disinterested in whether the South East swims or sinks. It is not true.

The insecurity spanned out of control particularly since 2021. More militarisation of the zone, more check points, more Operations Python dance exercises, more celebrations of arrests, extra-judicial killings have not been solutions.

Very confounding is the silence of our Governors. The South East is under more insecurity than during the civil war and the Governors are content with logging meaningless titles and appropriating billions as security votes.

Daily, they act in breach of their oath of office to protect their people whose security and welfare the Constitution says is the primary purpose of government. They have become so self-serving that no matter how many are killed they are unaffected.

At best they regugitate latitudinous nothingness in condemnation of the attacks.

Why is it impossible for our Governor to act together? How do they think they can succeed acting alone? Can the South East be safe if any part is under attack? The sit-at-home orders not being observed in Abia is not much consolation if people in Abia cannot go to the other states or people cannot come to Abia since they have to pass through the besieged atates.

Did any of the Governors say a word when Asari Dokubo disclosed his role in South East’s insecurity? What are they afraid of? They would not want to offend Asari?

Remarkably, Asari made his claims in the Presidential Villa after visiting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. What is Dokubo doing in the South East that the security agencies that populate the region cannot do?

Asari’s utterances were not countered in any way by Abuja. Would it be wrong to say the President is not against whatever Asari has said, including threatening mayhem if he was arrested?

While the search for unknown gunmen continues, is Asari the known gunman? Are the Governors aware of what Asari is doing in the South East?

There was hope when Governor Hope Uzodinma said his government was taking the South East to the centre through Imo State joining the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Ebonyi State is in too.

Most evident result of Uzodinma’s success is Imo State becoming the epicentre of the Unknown Gunmen attacks. Whatever spiked the attacks would remain in the realm of conjectures. However, indecisions around the attacks confirm tacit approvals of them. Is it the rule that no security agency should respond to attacks? Where are security agencies to protect those who refuse to sit at home?

The national policy is to either to instigate insecurity in the South East or ignore it. Many who are in the know have keyed in with silence for the sustenance of their spheres of political influence and relevance.

Nothing hurts like the silences bordering on indifference. Every opportunity to give insecurity in the South East adequate attention that should lead to its resolution is shunned by those who should care.

We have 15 Senators, 43 Members of the House of Representatives, a 58-person delegation to the National Assembly. Except for Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe how many of them have said a word after insecurity in the South East or anything for that matter?

These attacks take place in their constituencies. They would not talk. When Senator Ifeanyi Ubah was attacked last year one would have thought our representatives would come up with meaningful measures to secure the space. Did they?

Would it not make a difference if at each sitting one of our representatives at the National Assembly speaks about insecurity in the South? Suppose the Members of State Houses of Assembly do the same? Can they continue speaking until security returns to the South East?

South East is the most fractious zone in Nigeria. Our five States by the last count are to be found in four different political parties – APC, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Labour Party, LP, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They need to act in concert regardless of party lines. They have to realise we face a common threat that could be worsened by the November governorship election in Imo.

Lives are being lost. Insecurity does not respect party affiliation. APC chieftain, Ahmed Gulak was killed on 30 May 2021 on his way to Owerri airport. He is a proof that insecurity can affect anyone.

Read also: Insecurity, media pose threat to youth development in Nigerian economy – experts

It would be important for our leaders to speak out otherwise they confirm suspicions that they have acquiesced to the steady annihilation of the South East by stripping it of the most important factor in sustaining existence – security.

Ikenga Ugochinyere just elected to the House of Representatives on national television called out Governor Uzodinma for insecurity in Imo State. A siege was laid to Ikenga’s home last year. His house was razed and the uncle died in the attack that was executed without any response from security agencies. He holds the Governor responsible. The Governor sometimes alludes to opponents contributing to the insecurity.

The debates are unhelpful as long as they resolve nothing.

Communities have to protect themselves. They do not have the sophisticated fire power of the attackers but they can do better working with the Governors, legislators, local government chairmen who they must hold more accountable.

One thing the Federal Government should do immediately – tell the Finnish Government to rein in Simon Ekpa. Without sit-at-home orders, a major plank of the insecurity would have been dismantled. We can start from there.

.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues