Memory is a tricky thing indeed. It can act like a sponge, soaking up things, and letting them go though it or it can be like a failproof trap that catches everything that comes its way and never relinquishes same. The things that go into the memory can become weaponized consciously or subconsciously. It is why many times, unbidden, some of the images long held in the memory rise and successfully colour reality.
The collective memory of the people of Southeast is indeed a long and scarred one. The perceived injustices which precipitated the Nigerian Civil War have continued to shape not just the mentality of an entire region of Nigeria, but also its relations and engagement with Nigeria.
Because the Nigerian Civil War which raged between 1967 to 1970 is yet to completely fade into the distant past, to watch the security architecture in the South-East disintegrating is particularly painful because each gunshot and each drop of blood spilled hark back to the days of the Nigerian Civil War.
Criminals have recently run amok in the South-East, turning a hitherto peaceful region into a war zone. Almost every other day, people are cut down in cold blood or abducted. The recent abduction and beheading of a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly painted in horrifying strokes the danger that lurks in practically every corner of the South-East especially in Anambra State.
The many iniquitous crimes being in Anambra State have links to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) who have deliberately fostered an atmosphere of insecurity in their bid to force the release of their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services(DSS) and he continues to face trial for terrorism-related offences at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Public buildings including police stations and local government secretariats have been razed in Anambra State and countless innocent people including security personnel have been mowed down. As the atrocities accumulate, the IPOB has been careful to distance itself and condemn the atrocities in carefully worded but caustic statements. It then begs the question of who is turning Anambra State into a killing field.
In one of the bloodiest day yet, a pregnant Mrs. Harira Jubril was killed in cold blood together with her four children at Isulo in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State on Sunday May 22,2022. On the same day, there were killings and arson in other parts of the state.
That a woman and her innocent children could be killed in the way she was is as callous as it is condemnable. The brutal killings of Mrs. Harira and her children show that there are some people in Anambra who sing from the same song sheets as the ruthless criminals who patrol the shadowy forests of Borno, Zamfara and Kaduna States. There can be no doubt that whatever their tribe or tongue, these criminals can have no place in Nigeria whatsoever.
They are not fighting for anything or anybody. Simply put, they are terrorists – the worst kind there is – and their insatiable bloodlust gives them away as lacking any iota of dignity or humanity.
At the moment, Anambra people feel besieged by the many criminals who pose as a posse of freedom fighters. It is fear that makes many seem compliant with the weekly sit-at-home order. Many people cannot believe what the state has become and is becoming.
The authorities must move swiftly and forcefully to fish out those who slaughtered Mrs. Harira and her four children. To do otherwise is to give them more time and space to attack more innocent people.