By Ahanonu Kingsley
Foremost, I want to say I just hope that the spurious order given by Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief to the effect of a shoot-at-sight for arms-bearers (which supposedly was meant to tackle arms-wielding, killer herdsmen) doesn’t leave the primary motive and begin to turn the South-East into an easy field for bloodshed and a curious theatre of bloodletting, where innocent people, living peacefully and working legitimately, are sacrificed in a free-for-all, the helpless-are-sacrificed manner.
The unleashing of the combined forces of both the military and the police upon the South-East in what’s seen as response to the escalation of the newfound threat of unknown gunmen (UGM) might have turned the zone into a warzone of sort, one such that citizens- even the peaceful, law-abiding- ones are scared to move around to undertake their legitimate business, simply for fear of stray hits, whether from the blossoming UGM or the reactionary national forces.
Just the other day, 24th of May precisely, the city of Owerri witnessed yet another episode of the eerie of violence contrived by the UGM and incensed by the reactionary tendency of the security operatives. Of recent, the city of Owerri nay Imo State, once known for its tranquility and hospitality began to assume the dreariness and uneasiness of the disturbed and security-dishevelled state of the North-east. Sporadic and unexplained gunshots piercing the atmosphere everywhere and a highly tensed presence of the military.
The latest event in focus had Orji as the epicenter. (Orji is just an immediate outskirt of the City of Owerri). Unknown gunmen had come in the middle of the day, shooting and specifically attacking police facility in obvious affront to the security forces nay the government. Indeed, the UGM, just a handful of them (some say they’re just two or three) had had their fields day, paraded the street, puffing their courage with the tearing of gunshots and been hailed by observers before leaving as though they had nothing to be bothered about, nonetheless a rival combat.
As has been their modus vivendi, just quickly at their back, the police and they military who hitherto were nowhere to be found to defend their facilities or serve as reinforcement, appeared in puffing brigandage, sporadically shooting, shooting and shooting- not to the freely left UGM but to points not clear and for purposes unspecified.
Innocent commuters and bystanders, sadly were unfortunate to have been hit by these straying bullets that had no targets. Not less than three people were confirmed dead; not by the shots from the engaged duel of the opposing forces, which obviously never happened, but from the careless shots of some cowardly trigger-charged elements that embarrassingly could not stand the main enemies but had in reactionary display the masses to intimidate and coerce.
It is this sordid behavior, I mean the penchant to assume deflective courage and strength when the armed elements they should fight, dislodge and very importantly apprehend have left- in their usual reactionary syndrome that I strongly question the credibility of the arrest of the unknown gunmen the Nigerian Police claimed to have made yesterday in Owerri. The so-called arrest made must be deeply subjected to scrutiny to ascertain its credibility so as not to use Peter to pay for Paul’s offences. This is a product of an easy, reactionary approach that is not only distasteful for its lack of innovation but evil for impugning justice and truth.
It will be most roundly condemned to try to sacrifice the innocence of people who know nothing about this issue and are not involved in it just to win cheap and non-existing communication for job poorly done, which is futilely reactionary and had claimed innocent lives. This must not be. And the weak, infantile and cosmetic approach by security forces of responding to situations just after it has happened, and which throws law-abiding citizens into inexplicable inconveniences, must stop, here in Owerri, in Imo State and the entire South-east!
Kingsley writes from Owerri
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