By Jude Atupulazi
On Saturday, April 2, the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, held a security summit with stakeholders in the state to find ways of ending the spate of killings in the state. The summit resolved among other things that all churches in the state should hold prayers the next Monday to beseech God to intervene and bring an end to the killings.
Soludo also extended an olive branch to those behind the killings and promised them amnesty if only they could surrender their guns and turn a new leaf. But the very next day, two officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, were gunned down in cold blood along the Igboukwu-Uga axis while performing their duties.
Then on the night of the following Tuesday, gunmen shot at the gate of St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia, at night, killing a security man. If the first shooting on Sunday could be interpreted as a warning against the Monday prayer sessions holding, was the Tuesday attack aimed at showing anger against the successful holding of the prayers? Whatever the case, it is clear that the battle line is being gradually drawn and that we’re heading to the stage where it will be a fight to finish between the forces of light and forces of darkness in this state.
In the affairs of men, there comes a time when the bubble is bound to burst after the pressure or patience, in this case, has been stretched to breaking point. I recall the days during the regime of Gov Chinwoke Mbadinuju when criminals held the state to ransom.
In the night in Onitsha, it was normal to see gangs of twenty or more engaging in house to house robbery while the residents cowered like frightened rabbits.
They were the days when we had the likes of such notorious criminals like Derico Nwa Mama, Agbusi, Eddie Nawgu and co. It looked like they had become above the law and that nothing could be done against them. Then arrived the Bakassi Boys who eliminated all of them in one fell swoop and the people breathed a sigh of relief.
What is happening now in Anambra and other South East states reminds me of those dark days. These criminals masquerading as freedom fighters are pushing decent folks against the wall. At the moment we appear helpless. Nothing seems to impress them.
Peace overtures are scoffed at. I remember Fr Emmanuel Obimma, a.k.a. Ebube Muonso, going down on his knees to beg these hoodlums to sheathe their swords but nothing came of it. Rather than listen to him, they only increased their fire power.
Amid this madness the Igbo Nation has been losing some of their sons in mindless attacks. Property has been destroyed and business activities in the South East Zone are suffering. Yet, these blood thirsty animals are still baring their fangs and threatening to attack, kill and devour.
It appears like help is coming from no quarter. The people are in despair. It is now dangerous for anyone to venture far from their base. Every day is now a risk to venture out; not just Mondays that they had since decreed as ghost Mondays or sit-at-home days.
Today the people are turning to God for intervention but these hoodlums are even attacking the house of God in utter defiance as though they are daring God to do His worst. Remember the day they also stormed a church in Onitsha while Mass was ongoing? But amid the gloom and doom I am sure that whenever things appear hopeless a light appears at the end of the tunnel.
God, please, don’t abandon your people. Show your hand and tell those daring you that you alone have the power to determine the fate of men. In you we trust.