The Primary function of a responsible and responsive government is the protection of lives and properties of the citizenry. This challenging task has as a matter of fact put the government on its toes and apparently constrained Heads of Government to initiate policies and programmes that would guarantee at all times peace and harmonious relationship in the society. And any government that deliberately ignores peace and social justice is by implication courting anarchy and as such can be classified as an authoritarian government.
No wonder the Gov. Umahi administration since its inception in May, 2015 has always accorded high premium on security as an agent of development and stability. Interestingly, the Peace Initiative of the Umahi administration has no doubt earned Ebonyi State the accolade and recognition as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
Ironically, the unmitigated incursion of Boko Haram insurgency, alarming rate of armed banditry, kidnapping, rape and serial violence that have engulfed the entire states of the North, which unarguably had spread to other parts of the country compelled various states and geopolitical zones to brain storm and think out ways of taking proactive steps towards tightening security in their respective states and regions.
In fact, the situation became so tense and unbearable that some National Assembly members especially those from the North seldomly visit their constituencies for fear of being kidnapped for ransom.
It was against the backdrop of the prevailing atmosphere of insecurity across the country that Igbo leaders of thought met at Enugu under the umbrella of South East Governor’s Forum, to proffer solution to the impending doom in the region following persistent incidence of farmers/herders clashes, pockets of violence and serial assassinations recorded within the zone in recent time.
At the end of the meeting, the Forum in a press statement issued by its Chairman who also doubles as the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi banned the movement of herders in the zone from carrying AK-47 and other dangerous weapons. The Forum also resolved to recruit and train forestry guards to forestall the nefarious activities of armed banditry who predominantly operate from the forest, unleashing terror and mayhem against the people.
It is a sad commentary that barely 24 hours after the Forum took a fundamental and far reaching decisions to beef up security in the South East, some unidentified armed policemen invaded the Abuja residence of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi, ransacked and turned upside down the facilities in the residence for no just cause notwithstanding the fact that as a sitting Governor he enjoys unquestionable immunity from inhuman and undemocratic harassment.
Consequently, in a swift reaction to the embarrassing incident, the Ebonyi Elders Council, well meaning Igbo leaders and indeed the Ebonyi State Government under the auspices of the State Executive Council, issued a ten-point Communiqué, condemning in strong terms the unprovoked and senseless invasion of the Governor’s Abuja residence by the Nigerian Police, describing the action as barbaric in context and illegal in content and therefore called on President Muhammad Buhari and the IGP to immediately commence a full scale investigation on the dastardly act in order to bring the perpetrators to justice including guaranteeing the safety of Gov. Umahi within and outside the state.
This, the groups affirmed, was the only way to uphold the supremacy of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thus redeem the country’s battered image and reputation in the International Community as a result of the shameful incident.
Be that as it may, it is not out of place for one to come to the conclusion that the brazen invasion of Gov. Umahi’s Abuja residence by the Nigerian Police who certainly were playing the script of their pay masters was intended to intimidate and silence him and his other colleagues within the South East Governors’ Forum in order to prevent them from discharging their statutory mandate of providing quality representation to the electorates by speaking boldly on behalf of the South East people especially on the issue of security of the zone.
Nevertheless, Gov. Umahi should be courageous enough not to allow this unfortunate incident to demoralize and restrain him from being steadfast in defense of the defenseless masses as the hero of the people.
While it is hoped that Igbo leaders of thought are carefully studying the situation in order to come up with a common position on the matter taking into cognizance that Gov. Umahi had merely made the public announcement in respect of the outcome of the Enugu meeting by virtue of his office as Chairman of South East Governor’s Forum, let us not lose sight of the fact an injustice to one is injustice to all.
However, the Federal Government has a duty to unmask and bring to justice all the actors behind the invasion as a fence mending exercise to redeem Nigeria’s image from ridicule by the international community.
Hon. Stanley Okoro Emegha
Commissioner for Internal Security &