Opinion

Let’s Agitate with Common Sense

Last Monday, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, was to  appear in a Federal High Court in Abuja.

But the hearing was adjourned to October 21 this year following the failure of the Federal Government to produce him in court. But prior to that, hundreds of supporters of the IPOB leader had stormed the court premises, demanding his release.

Back home in parts of the east, some people believed to be his supporters had cordoned off some major roads, stopping people from going about their businesses. In Onitsha, a Sienna Bus used by the owner for commercial purposes was destroyed for venturing out.

Nnewi roads were also deserted as the citizenry either stayed home out of fear or in solidarity with Kanu. The situation in the capital city of Awka was however different as people went about their businesses, though apprehensively.

Indeed, the Kanu matter means many things to many people, especially among the Igbos. But one clear fact is that it evokes a lot of passion; whether that of love, hate or marked indifference. Often times, some people have however allowed their emotions to get the better of them while showing their solidarity for Kanu. This is understandable.

However, any display of emotion must accommodate the feelings of others and must not cross acceptable limits. This includes forbidding others from going about their lawful business as was seen last Monday.

Our concern in these sudden sit-at-home orders, stems from the possibility of such being hijacked by hoodlums who invariably seek opportunities of looting and plundering, as well as engaging in wanton destruction of property.

The driver of the Sienna Bus which was destroyed in Onitsha committed no crime by coming out to look for his daily bread. Therefore for anyone or group of persons to set about destroying his vehicle is highly condemnable and barbaric to say the least.

Even during government approved public holidays, people are still at liberty to work or not. Thus, anybody who decides to go about their lawful duty at any time or on any day should be much free to do so without intimidation or harassment.

The 15th of every January is dedicated nationally to the memory of the Unknown Soldier but no one has been stopped from doing their business or moving about. That is how it should be. There is no reason why anyone should be debarred from performing their lawful duty, no matter how passionate anyone or group may be about anything.

Resorting to force or intimidation can only succeed in painting a bleak and frightening picture of what may play out in the Biafra some of us seek. Not even in the days when Zik and co fought for Independence were people harassed and intimidated. Ojukwu did not harass or intimidate anyone of his people before declaring Biafra.

We must desist from using force to push our agitation, whatever it may be. The things we destroy here are ours and we are still the ones to bear the brunt. The tyres we burn on the roads end up damaging those roads that we laboured to build. So, who is fooling who?

We cannot and should not turn our land into a theatre of war in the name of agitation, especially by hoodlums who are ever ready to cash in on any confusion. Common sense must prevail in all we do. There are many ways to fight a cause or to press for justice for Kanu.

We are aware that some churches prayed for him that day, while some people prayed and fasted. Some others voluntarily shut their businesses. Those are good ways to show solidarity; not by attacking people on the road or destroying public and private property.

These barbaric acts should stop before they plunge us into an anarchic situation. They do not make sense at all.

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