Since the yuletide there have been pockets of violence manifested in the form of armed attacks, shootings, kidnapping, etc in the state. It got heightened with the recent alleged killings of military and policemen in Orlu compelling the state government to impose a 12 hour curfew in ten out of the twelve local governments of Orlu zone.
The curfew had set tongues wagging among Imolites who felt that that is not the right or appropriate measure to address the insecurity challenge in the area. The government has received knocks over its inability to protect the civilian population in the area by reining in the military that are on a reprisal attack over its lost soldiers.
The governor is also accused of being less than transparent in misrepresenting the facts by attributing the shooting spree as coming from a group of militants when soldiers have been fingered to have originated the mayhem because they were alleged to insist that residents of the area must provide the bodies of their killed colleagues.
The crises it was learnt had spread to other parts of Orlu zone outside Orlu main town touching areas like Nkume, Njaba, Okporo, and Okwudor. The governor in response during his speech addressing the issue extended the curfew to affect ten local councils.
According to him, “as an interim measure to immediately restore the peace in Orlu zone, a dusk to dawn curfew (6pm to 6am) is hereby imposed in the following local government areas of Orlu zone; namely; Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ideato South, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele and Nkwerre”.
Trouble was said to have started when the Eastern Security Network (ESN) midwifed by Nnamdi Kanu , leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) was confronted by the police and soldiers and they were roundly thrashed and their vehicles seized by the operatives of the security network.
The outfit is claimed to be operating from the bush. It is in the attempt to revenge the humiliation; reports say, which the military men now embarked on series of attacking the populace until the corpses are, produced which had spanned over 4 days.
Reports also indicate that lives have been lost and properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed in the process. News Echo frowns seriously at this development. It is unthinkable that the soldiers who are paid with the tax payers’ money to protect the citizens would now turn around to become the enemies of the people.
We wish to advise that soldiers should cease from launching further reprisal attacks against innocent citizens who have no hands in the issue that they are contending with. If there is genuinely a case against the security network is fair that innocent civilians should bear the brunt. Why should they not focus on their target in the bush where they are said to inhabit?
During the EndSARS protest in October during which 2 soldiers were gunned down by unknown armed men at Nwaorieubi, Mbaitoli local government headquarters, scores of lives were also lost in a reprisal attack by soldiers who stormed the place shooting unsuspecting civilians. A top government functionary in the local government lost his life in the process.
It would therefore be necessary that these trigger happy soldiers be deployed to areas like the Sambisa forests where their services is mostly needed rather than against helpless and defenseless civilians. Their action to say the least is provocative and can no way provide the answer required but instead escalate it.
We hereby condemn any arrangement to militarize any part of Igbo land under any guise nor any action of the authorities designed to inflict emotional and physical pain to the citizens. The people are already saturated with enough issues in their hands arising from the challenge of survival as the government has performed poorly in its welfare rolls to the people.
News Echo wishes to note that the issues triggering off this violence are clearly avoidable ones if the government had been living up to its among the people. The clear failure of government of the South East to protect its citizens against ethnic violence and discrimination is what may have led to the formation of the ESN.
As a quick intervention to the restoration of peace in the area, the government should stop the carnage and order soldiers out of the zone. We have had enough blood letting and no human life lost is worth the pursuit or ambition of anybody or group of persons.