See Who’s Crying Now

By Jude Atupulazi

It is a fact of life that every human being has eyes. What is however different is how each individual uses his or her eyes. Some see far ahead of others while others see just a little beyond their noses. And so there was a time when a new kind of anarchy was let loose upon our earth, in this very case, Igbo Land, by some jokers who claimed to be fighting for the liberation of Ndigbo.

They started by raiding correctional centres or prisons, setting fire to them, killing the guards there and releasing hardened criminals whom they armed with guns and recruited into their ranks. At the same time they were killing police and army personnel.

It was a time their leader was issuing a series of endless threat messages after proclaiming some days as sit at home in Igbo Land. He threatened fire and brimstone, including death, on the head of anyone who flouted his directive to remain indoors. Indeed, some people who defied his directive by moving about and doing their legitimate businesses were brutally mowed down.

Among them was Dr Chike Akunyili, a man a hundred times better than any of those fools terrorizing our land in the name of liberation. There were also many others, including Chief Ofoma, who was killed because he wore agbada clothes which his killers interpreted as a symbol of oppression.

Many of those being killed were full blooded Igbo people; their kit and kin. But the killers always contrived to make it look like those responsible were Nigeria’s security agents and Fulani herdsmen.

Yes, Fulanis were also killing and are still killing and kidnapping people, but many of them who operate in Igbo heartland are working with our people, for, indeed, there is no way total strangers can be bold enough to live among our people and perpetrate crime if they have no backers and collaborators.

But my main grouse has always been the gullibility of some of our people who fell to the cheap lies and propaganda fed them by the hoodlums and killers masquerading as freedom fighters. They initially would kill and blame the killing on Nigerian security agents and even Fulanis. So, so convenient, and people believed them.

For us, we saw where all this would end and started shouting for caution. We knew it is easier to give a cup to the monkey but a lot more difficult to retrieve that cup. We baulked at the idea of freeing hardened criminals and arming them to fight for a good cause in the wrong manner.

We foresaw a situation when those given guns and those released from correctional centres would refuse to hand back the guns or continue to take orders. We condemned the sit at home phenomenon and described it as not only akin to aiming the barrel of the gun at ourselves but downright stupid as an idea.

But some people saw the sit at home thing as a necessary sacrifice we had to make in the struggle for freedom. But today what is happening? Are all we feared not happening?

Today, the ranks of the freedom fighters have been divided, with two major camps in existence.

The mainstream IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) led by Nnamdi Kanu who is currently cooling off in prison, and the breakaway faction led by Simon Ekpa who stays in Finland.

While the Kanu-led IPOB has regularly proclaimed that the sit at home stuff has been abolished, except on days Kanu would appear in court, the Ekpa-led group says no. They are insisting on the continuation of Monday sit at home. But not stopping there, they recently declared a five-day sit at home in what they described as a protest against the intimidation and killing of youths by soldiers.

Long before now, people had started murmuring about the relevance of the continued sit at home and its negative effects on the Igbo economy. Thus when they heard about the five-day sit at home, they saw it as madness as it was virtually impossible for anyone to stay indoors and do nothing when there is no war.

The result was that people trooped out en-masse to go about their legitimate businesses. In frustration, the Ekpa boys carried out isolated attacks on people in Enugu and Anambra States, actions that were obviously attempts to save face and instill further fear in the citizenry.

It is also becoming clearer by the day that many of those who were clapping for these hoodlums are now becoming more sober, having seen their businesses suffer and their lives and those of their loved ones imperiled by the stupid actions of a few warped individuals.

indeed, in the height of the sit at home thing, I was often surprised at how even supposedly learned folks like lecturers and even men of God supported the hoodlums out of sheer sentiments. They were the ones that would rush to tell you how ”innocent youths” were being brutalized and killed by the Nigerian army and police. Yet they would keep mum when they see the killed victims of those barbarians in human form.

They conveniently forgot the Igbo adage that says that he who brings home ant-infested wood has invited lizards to his home. Would the soldiers and police be raiding communities if some hoodlums had not committed atrocious acts?

To say that the recourse of many people to base sentiments in this whole matter worsened, is to state the obvious. Rather than totally condemn what was bad, some people found convenient excuses which the hoodlums capitalized on. There was never going to be any justification for such murderous brand of freedom fighting.

Where in the whole wide world have we seen people killing their own people and kidnapping them in the guise of liberating them? But we all saw and are still seeing such here.

Worse still, the few learned people supporting them believe that Biafra will be actualized by sheer brute force directed against our own people. They fail to recognize that the whole thing is one big scam by a few criminally smart individuals whose bank accounts are daily swelling from the donations of some of our gullible brothers, especially those abroad. While they frolic abroad and enjoy the best of life, they goad some brainless human beings down here to go and kill and be killed.

Did anyone ever stop to ask how the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe got Independence for Nigeria? Did those people read about how Zik and his peers killed their own brothers or ruined the economy of their kit and kin in their quest for an Independent Nigeria? Again, did those supporting and hero-worshipping them ever stop to think if it is these hoodlums that will preside over a new Biafra should it by any stretch of the imagination come?

In case they do not know, the people mainly behind this agitation are young men who wasted their opportunities earlier and are now frustrated and looking for those to sink with them. They are human beings with a one-track mind who are ready to do the bidding of their masters against their own people.

That is why someone would issue orders from the safety and comfort of Finland for them to kill and maim and they gleefully do so. These are the characters some people would not mind breathing same air with in a new Biafra.

Today, the Southeast is becoming like the Northeast of Nigeria where life has become short and brutish. Today our people are performing the funeral of their dead in Lagos, Abuja and other places. They are doing traditional marriages outside Igbo Land.

People are afraid to come home to attend functions and those who manage to come home, as well as those who have always been here, now choose where to attend functions and where not to attend because of the precarious security situation brought upon us by our ”freedom fighters”.  These hoodlums have turned our lives upside down in Igbo Land and made the once peaceful and safe region, one to live in fear.

This whole matter has demonstrated that we now have Igbo People who do not act like Ndigbo. By giving sit at home directives and by others accepting it, even when it is injurious to our economy, they have proved that their Igboness is doubtful. How can we be killing ourselves and sabotaging our economy and expect our enemies to be hurt or to cry?

Our ”freedom fighters” have brought an alien brand of freedom fighting into our land and have put a knife on the thin thread that held us together. All those who aided, encouraged or clapped for these fools should be ready to share the blame for where we have found ourselves today.

Because of this crass stupidity, many will not be coming home for Christmas and many more will not be free to move about to mix with family and friends.

If you know you have been a part of this whole nonsense and are crying now, it is just crocodile’s tears. You have only got what you deserved.