The South-Eastern part of Nigeria, generally before now, used to be the most peaceful place in the country. This is owing to the cosmopolitan nature of the people, who are always on the move to better their lives. But today, the area is contending with serious issues that border majorly on security of lives and properties.
The recent senseless killings in Anambra State, once again further compounded the challenges the area is grappling with, such that fingers are pointing in many directions. There is indeed palpable fear in the South-East because no one knows who would be the next target.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has equally expressed sadness, in view of the upcoming Anambra elections that is fast approaching. The implication of their outcry is that, if the situation does not improve for the better, the November elections may not hold this year. Currently, the five states in the South-East have been coerced by separatists to observe what is called “sit at home”, on every Monday of the week.
This is purportedly designed to press for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kalu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who is at present being held in custody by the Federal Government, over the activities of IPOB.
That the entire five states in the South-East observe this sit-at-home order should be the concern of everyone because, if there is no leadership failure, the people would not buy hook line and sinker the order of IPOB. What this means is that, the political leaders in the South-East may have lost the confidence of their people, if a non- state actor could give an order, and such order is obeyed almost by everybody without recourse of its impact on their own private lives and that of the state really, is a cause for worry.
Again, the response of the Federal Government to the happenings in the region, as it (government) said it is determined to restore peace, many a time, has not gone down well with the people, owing to the show of power always displayed whenever the military was called out on the streets in the South-East zone. Incidentally, many innocent lives had been lost, especially that of the youths that are perceived to be members of IPOB.
The majority of people believe that, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), already proscribed by the Federal Government is not a terrorist group as announced by the government, but instead, a group crying over marginalization and abandonment in the scheme of things in the country.
They also believe that all the crimes being committed are not only perpetrated by this group, but that; the government should beam its searchlight farther, if at all it is determined to arrest the situation completely. In the past, the area had witnessed what the military codenamed operations python dance one and two, with yet another deployment of the military still, to curtail the activities of unknown gunmen now terrorizing the area and making life unbearable for the people.
But such moves, unfortunately, have not addressed the problem. IPOB has consistently denied allegations that it carried out attacks in the South-East, and even went further to issue press statement condemning such attacks. Therefore, the real issue here should not be down-played because we live in a society where people are treated differently.
The security agency should go all out to unravel what is going on in the South-East, especially, now that the president in his wisdom, during his Independence Day Anniversary broadcast, pronounced that some highly placed individuals, politicians for that matter, are sponsoring terrorism in the country. The clamour of IPOB and their demands all these years is not hidden, even to the international community.
It could be possible that some people in the zone, who may also be in government, may be the problem the region is having, since no one has been brought to book. The many cases of security infractions recorded in the area in recent times, only begs for one question; what the political class is doing, to work for the peace and progress of the South-East, especially now the Federal Government has decided to launch yet another military operations in the area.
While it is expected that there should be no further breakdown of law and order, and killing of innocent people in the zone, with the deployment of security officials, the tendency is for the Federal Government to look deep into what is happening in a hitherto peaceful area.
The security agencies however, should be very careful in attributing every crime committed in the South-East to IPOB, and work hard to unravel those that are behind the killings and mayhem in the area. The time to protect the people is now. It is not right to blame one group for all that is happening because there may be those that are embittered about giving peace a chance in the area.