Anything which has a beginning must surely have an end, the saying goes. And so it does appear that the era of Unknown Gunmen is almost over, with life slowly returning to normal. It was indeed an era no one would like to remember in the Southeast when hoodlums, hiding in the guise of Biafra agitation, unleashed all manner of violence on the people of the Southeast Zone. Many were mown down in the hail of bullets and notable among the unfortunates was Dr Chike Akunyili.
The unholy activities of these hoodlums badly affected the social and economic life of the entire Southeast and began to drive businesses away from the zone. Even education was affected as on many occasions schools were shut, while students failed to take exams for fear of the gunmen. Who can indeed forget the case where some students missed important exams during the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, because they fell into days designated as sit at home by the hoodlums.
Their infamy got to a situation where the government and security apparatuses in the Southeast appeared powerless and clueless as to how to tackle the menace posed by these pernicious elements.
But then, what has a beginning usually has an end. Today, there appears what looks like the return of peace as far as the case of the infamous unknown gunmen is concerned. Suddenly, their activities dimmed and it is significant that this came immediately after the notorious Finland based criminal element called Simon Ekpa, called for a two-week sit at home, just after his initial one-week sit at home failed.
It was also a time when the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, announced the cessation of all manner of sit at home directives which he himself initiated.
It can also be argued that the new found peace came when the majority of the people of the Southeast Zone had become tired of the agitation, leading to their defying sit at home orders. What obtains now is what we know as the normal common criminality by robbers and kidnappers.
But whatever is the reason why peace has seemingly returned to the Southeast Zone, it is worth celebrating and should be sustained. Indeed, apart from areas like Ihiala and Orsumoghu in Anambra State where peace has not entirely returned, life has almost returned to normal elsewhere.
We commend the security agencies who had put the lives of their officers on the line to take the fight to these hoodlums. We also thank the Southeast governors for whatever they might have done to get us to this stage.
But we believe that it will be counter-productive for us to rest on our oars at this moment. Mop up operations should be organized by the governments of the region from time to time to totally eliminate those behind the infamy, lest it rears its ugly head again. Actions should also be taken to ensure that those still unwittingly observing the Monday sit at home stuff are made to stop it.
It is disheartening that some banks, even in the Awka capital city, are still not doing business on Mondays, despite the fact that Awka is the safest city in Anambra State. When an institution like a bank still goes ahead to observe sit at home, it is likely to kill the morale of people.
Government should therefore look into this and get those banks to comply with government’s directive to workers to resume work on Mondays. We must not do anything that will aid the return of that brigandage which should be rightly consigned to the trash can of History.