Terror in the Southeast – A region of rolling heads

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Creepily but grippingly, a regime of terror has crawled into Nigeria`s Southeast, and in its suffocating stranglehold, a region that used to know relative safety is gradually breathing its last. It was always about destabilizing the Southeast, wasn’t it?

Hardly a day passes by now without the Southeast`s book of blood turning over a fresh page to take in more innocent blood spilled in unconscionable attacks by criminals whose only desire is to kill and destroy. With their virulent activities especially in Anambra State, a people who have not forgotten or forgiven the fearsome atrocities committed against them during the Nigerian Civil War are being forced to relive a nightmare on the banks of the Niger.

On May 15, 2022, Mr. Okechukwu Okoye, a lawmaker representing Aguata II constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly was kidnapped alongside Mr. Cyril Cheigboka, his campaign director. On May 22,2022, Mr. Okoyes headless body was seen and later recovered by the Police along Nnobi- Ideani road.  Mr. Okoyes head was also dumped at Chisco park in Amichi, a community in Nnewi South Local Government Area of the State.

The killers of Mr. Okoye were also  left two notes around   his severed head which bore chilling warnings to politicians to withdraw all the soldiers from Biafraland or face grave consequences.

It is now beyond doubt that criminals are on the loose in Anambra State, and whatever their aims are have nothing to do with the wider interests of the good people of Anambra State and the Southeast. On March 31, 2022, gunmen attacked and set ablaze the headquarters of Nnewi South Local Government Area of the State.

On April 1,2022, gunmen burnt down two police stations in the same local government area. On April 7, 2022, gunmen attacked and razed the headquarters of Aguata Local Government Area.

On the night of Sunday, May 15 2022, while men slept, suspected arsonists burnt down the Idemili North Local Government Secretariat in Ogidi, and also a magistrate court in the area. Files and properties in the building including vehicles outside the building were all burnt to ashes.

On May 22, 2022, gunmen again ran riot in Anambra State. At Isulo in Orumba North Local Government Area, a mother and her four children were killed. Two more people were killed at Abatete in Idemiili North Local Government Area while one person was killed at Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area. The gunmen also swooped on a police station in Anaku, Anyamelum Local Government Area  and set vehicles ablaze.

There is no doubt that these rampant attacks in the Southeast, especially in Anambra State have to stop if the region is to regain some of the stability it was known for. That people in the Southeast can no longer go about their normal activities without having to look over their shoulders casts shadows over a region that strove so hard to rise from the ashes of the Nigerian civil war.

It would also seem that the destruction of wild dogs now terrorizing Anambra have some gifted writers on their side. Only recently, nine chilling epistles were sent to nine local government areas in the state warning them to prepare for doomsday. The local governments included Idemili South which has Alor, the hometown of the current Minister of Labour and Employment, under it.

It is chiefly the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Nigerian state that must account for the atrocities going on Anambra State and in the Southeast.  It was the activities of the group and the response of the Nigerian state that opened the floodgates for the vermin who now sacrilegiously scarify a once peaceful state and region one iniquitous crime after the other.

The disintegration of the security architecture of the region can be traced to the activities of the group and the flagrantly disproportionate response of the Nigerian state. Now, in the face of the needless suffering of innocent families, while the IPOB points fingers at the Nigerian state for sponsoring insecurity in the region, the Nigerian state points fingers at the IPOB.

But it is not enough for the IPOB to say that it has washed its hands off the sit-at-home order or from the attacks convulsing the region. How do we know that it is not in blood that the group has washed its hands?

As for the Nigerian authorities, it is no coincidence that the childs expiration in the morning was preceded by the witchs ululation the night before.  If an anti-Igbo agenda was mooted from the inception of the current administration, it was because discretion was not used as salve for the lips of many in the presidency who spoke too soon and too loosely, ditching in the process discretion which is unfailingly the better part of valour.

Had wisdom and wise counsel not long abandoned the current administration, it would have sought to drink from the experience of other countries where the flies in restive regions were not crushed with a sledgehammer but were instead caught with honey.

Instead, whenever anyone has coughed in the Southeast, Nigerian soldiers have scampered to the region to enforce silence with the python dancing and dancing all to no avail. Meanwhile, a far more destructive brand of terror is on the cusp of territorializing the entire Northern Nigeria.

The Igbos are a people of memory. Till this day, the agonizing cries of the children who died of hunger during the Nigerian civil war still haunt the collective memory of the Southeast.

The fatal flames now flaring up in the Southeast will not just haunt the memories of the Igbos this time around, they will irreparably burn the fragile fabric of Nigeria`s feeble unity as well as those who kill people in the name of freedom-fighting or law enforcement.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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