News Update

Are We Still Cheering

By Jude Atupulazi

DANGER! KEEP OFF!

Ukpor- Lilu- Orsumoghu- Azia- Mbosi Road, in Anambra State…. DEATH TRAP.

Please brethren, do not ply the above route for any reason whatsoever. It has been proven to be a major security FLASH POINT. These hoodlums known as UNKNOWN GUNMEN have taken over the place. Randomly wreaking havoc to lives and property. Just yesterday Sunday 20th February, 2022, my brother-in-law ESV Chief Gab Ofoma (OJEMBA ENWEILO NNEWI) Chairman/CEO of OFOMA ASSOCIATES LTD., was gunned down in cold blood as his driver made a detour from Onitsha-Owerri Highway enroute Portharcourt, due to traffic jam on the expressway.

This illustrious son of Igboland was a trailblazer in his professional field of Estate Surveying and Management. A national player. An employer of labour. With a staff strength of over 150 personnel and offices in Port Harcourt (Hqts), Abuja, Lagos and Nnewi.

A very huge irreparable loss to the comity of civilization of Igbo Nation. We are at crossroads. There must be a formidable way to put a stop to this fratricidal malady that is besetting the entire Southeast landscape. *_Agwo nokwanu n’akilika! Ndigbo kunie nu o, na ya ghu Ugo ebelugo na mgbagbu!!!_*

May his departed gentle soul rest peacefully in perpetuity in the Lord’s cozy bosom, in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen!

Anambra is in ruins!

The above unedited lines were got from a social media post by one Melie Ajuluchuku in reaction to the carnage being done by people we once condoned their behavior as normal and necessary in the fight for freedom. The day of that event was also the day the kidnapped Managing Director of Coscharis Farms, his wife and others, were rescued by special security forces from the hands of the infamous unknown gunmen.

Even as at last Monday, a fierce battle raged between the special security forces and the hoodlums in the Orsumoghu axis which has become a theatre of war. Before now, it used to be Mondays when innocent members of the public are harassed, shot at and killed. Now, it can happen any day.

That was why the killing of Chief Ofoma happened on a Sunday. He was probably trying to return to his Port Harcourt base that day to beat the Monday ”sit-at-home” wahala. But even on a holy day which had never been part of the sit-at-home, he was gunned down. His death is now among the growing list of some of the illustrious sons of Igbo Land who have been wasted by hoodlums fighting for a phantom cause.

How did we get here? For some of us, our voices had been like echoes in the wilderness, warning about the danger we were inadvertently bringing upon us by our myopic interpretation of what was unfolding at the time. The very moment attacks were being launched against prisons, with dangerous elements being freed and armed; the very moment security personnel started being targeted to be killed and the very moment perceived ”big men” were being shot on the roads, we had seen what was to come and we shouted ourselves hoarse against what would follow.

Some felt those things unfolding were part of ”the struggle”. Some of them even said those who were killed should be seen as sacrifices for the nationhood being pursued.

Those people saw it that way because they or their people were not involved. But like cancer, it soon started spreading to other parts of the body. Today some people have had their loved ones killed or maimed and those people are now singing a different tune.

They are now seeing what we saw and are beginning to shout like us. Sadly, though, it seems very late in the day. These things, once they set in, are difficult to be rid of. Or have we forgotten how we have been battling to extinguish the menace of kidnapping for ransom? So, rather than go, this new menace will soon metamorphose into guerilla warfare. For those who know, guerilla warfare is one war that is very difficult to fight.

Ask the Nazis what they saw during World War Two in the hands of French and Polish resistance fighters. Despite the superior firepower of the Axis Forces (Germany, Italy and Japan), they could not contain those guerillas till the end of the war. This is the kind of thing we may soon be seeing here, just as those in the North East have been seeing.

Today some areas in Anambra State and other South East states have become no-go areas, but there’s no doubt that more places will come under siege. It is only a matter of time. In this case, the solution will not be to fly rather than use the road, as many do now while travelling to Abuja, Lagos or other Northern states.

Where will we fly to? Can someone coming from Ekwulobia to Ihiala fly to Ihiala? Or can someone coming from Ihiala to Awka fly to Awka? This is why what we have now is even more dangerous: there will be nowhere to hide!

But amazingly, even while we grapple with this new menace and how to contain it, some people’s major concern is the removal of police checkpoints from the roads! It is as if those people are oblivious of the reason for those checkpoints. Although there had been checkpoints in the past, these latest ones were put in place in the aftermath of attacks on police and other public facilities by unknown gunmen; a name that has become a metaphor for separationist groups.

Now, imagine what could have been the case if such checkpoints were not in place today. Imagine what could have happened to the capital city if those checkpoints were not put up? The last and only attack on Awka happened before the checkpoints were put up, remember?

I had thought that what people should be concerned about is for the security agencies to ensure that those at those checkpoints operate with decorum and professionalism, rather than calling for their dismantling. When I read those people I wonder if they’re not being mischievous or if they are just plain ignorant.

Which is better: to have numerous checkpoints and stay alive, or to not have them and have UGM shooting at everybody? Sometimes I feel some of these people, especially the so-called civil society groups, are living on the moon and thus oblivious of the harsh realities of the day.

Have they placed themselves in the shoes of those security personnel who put their lives on the line to protect us from the bullets of the UGM? Or is it that their lives don’t matter? Before now, it used to be just security personnel, but now everybody is being targeted.

The other day a young man coming for his service year in Anambra was part of those killed while in their commercial vehicle. They were neither policemen nor soldiers, but ordinary citizens like you and me. Those killing people today are seemingly doing it for no reason. They don’t kill because they want to rob the victims of their possessions. They just kill and scamper away. If this is not terrorism, can anyone tell me what it is?

Today, our children don’t go to school on Mondays anymore. Many don’t do business on Mondays and people now first find out what are the activities of these hoodlums before fixing dates for events. It is now no longer safe to travel far within the state or anywhere in the South East because no one can predict where the hoodlums will strike.

Yoruba Land, meanwhile, is very safe. Yet, their son, Sunday Igboho, is also in detention and being tried. Why are they not destroying their land like us? Why are they still going about their normal businesses? Why are their children still going to school? Why are there no sit-at-home strikes in the west?

But here, where we claim to be full of wisdom, we are crippling our economy in the name of agitation. We are killing ourselves in order to show the world that we are angry. What on earth can be stupider than that?

Yet, the same people who are shouting for Biafra are robbing their brothers and sisters silly as traders, petroleum dealers and motor mechanics. Go to any mechanic’s workshop and see if they won’t steal your parts and change them with fakes. Go to petrol stations and see if their meters are correct. Go to markets and see if they won’t cheat you. Is this how our Eldorado Biafra will be?

Indeed, the evil we cheer today will definitely return to haunt us tomorrow; but that is if it hasn’t come already. Are we still cheering?

Today some areas in Anambra State and other South East states have become no-go areas, but there’s no doubt that more places will come under siege. It is only a matter of time. In this case, the solution will not be to fly rather than use the road, as many do now while travelling to Abuja, Lagos or other Northern states.

Where will we fly to? Can someone coming from Ekwulobia to Ihiala fly to Ihiala? Or can someone coming from Ihiala to Awka fly to Awka? This is why what we have now is even more dangerous: there will be nowhere to hide!

But amazingly, even while we grapple with this new menace and how to contain it, some people’s major concern is the removal of police checkpoints from the roads! It is as if those people are oblivious of the reason for those checkpoints. Although there had been checkpoints in the past, these latest ones were put in place in the aftermath of attacks on police and other public facilities by unknown gunmen; a name that has become a metaphor for separationist groups.

Now, imagine what could have been the case if such checkpoints were not in place today. Imagine what could have happened to the capital city if those checkpoints were not put up? The last and only attack on Awka happened before the checkpoints were put up, remember?