Forty five years after the fratricidal Nigeria Civil War where millions of Ndigbo were massacred with utter savagery and no mercy, the Igbos despite the proclamation of the famous three Rs have remained the most endangered species on planet earth.
In the Nigerian political configuration, they are treated as second class citizens. In the allocation of federal projects they ‘carry last ‘ while at the slightest break of ethnic riots or unrest in the North, they become the first target often resulting in monumental loss of lives and properties.
In the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, Ndigbo have suffered calamitous losses as their fine breeds who have domiciled in the North for many years have been mowed down in droves. In Anambra State, Adazi Nnukuwu and Umunnachi to be precise, monuments of several caskets brought back in dozens, all victims of Boko Haram litter the communities. The surviving family members of such victims have remained disillusioned, scattered and psychologically traumatized.
In the All Progressives Congress (APC) change mantra which culminated in the inauguration of Muhammed Buhari as Nigeria’s President on May 29th 2015, Ndigbo just like other Nigerians had (have) high expectations that our Eldorado has come.
Buhari and his team while campaigning assured us that insurgency will be a thing of the past once he ascends the Presidency throne and for Ndigbo, he promised that as Ogbuagu of Aba, Abia State and Okechukwu of Igbo lineage, we should be rest assured that we are ‘covered and protected’ because there will be no discrimination or alienation of any tribe most especially Ndigbo under his watch.
But beyond all the promises and assurances, General Buhari’s real welcome gift to Ndigbo is the relocation of suspected terrorists to Aguata, Anambra prisons under tight security on the night of Saturday 27th June 2005.
This act which happened barely few hours after the traders in Anambra State shut down all markets in the state in protest over the purported relocation has attracted widespread condemnation and more protests from several groups and platforms.
It is our position in the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) that against all intents and purposes which the federal government of Nigeria can give, the relocation of such breed of suspects to Anambra State is illogical, ill-conceived, detrimental to the Nigerian and Igbo society and uncalled for.
We view such act as a continued onslaught against Ndigbo in the Nigerian project. It is the height of government miscalculation and the mockery of a unique and much endowed race now taunted as a conquered territory.
Bringing Boko Haram suspects here will compound and escalate the issue of terrorism instead of taming the scourge. The detainees also while here have been denied access to justice since the courts in Anambra have no jurisdiction to try them.
Their presence here in the state has heightened the fear of insecurity among the citizens and the people are psychologically scared already.
We commend all the individuals, the clergy, groups and associations that have spoken up in condemnation of the federal government action.
We also condemn the politicization of the government action and the use of such situation to score cheap political points. The recent statement credited to Governor Obiano through his Political Adviser, Chinedu Obidigwe where he accused former President and Former Governor, Peter Obi as the brains behind the relocation of the Boko Haram suspects to Anambra is to say the least, infantile.
Obiano should be reminded that his greatest undoing which will always backfire as he remains governor is to make any attack whether veiled or open to his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi. He should also be wary of sycophants surrounding him who may present the picture of promoting him as Akpokue Dike of the whole world but will end up leading him into making fatal mistakes.
Also, the continuous closure of markets in Anambra State in the name of protests for the relocation of Boko Haram suspects in Anambra should stop forthwith. The traders have made a statement through their shut down of markets and peaceful protests of Saturday July 27th 2015. The continuous/incessant closure of markets on the order of the central market leaders without any consultation on the traders and their separate unions with its attendant economic implications is undemocratic and smacks of high handedness coated with ulterior motives.
While we welcome the reported meeting between the state government and a federal government delegation over the issue, we call on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgent national attention, return the Boko Haram detainees to their former base while putting in motion machinery for confidence building and damage control on the psyche of Ndigbo.
Government should intensify its efforts in combating terrorism and endeavor to subject any it’s actions and policy statements/ directions to proper scrutiny before execution in line with the public opinion guage to avoid frequent somersaults and reversals.
Comrade Aloysius Emeka Attah,
Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Anambra State Branch.