By Charles Ogbu
For some months now, a special form of BANDITRY targeted at security formations (the Police, to be more specific) which were hitherto unknown to Ndigbo and Ala-lgbo are now becoming a daily/weekly occurrence and we who claim to love Ala-lgbo, we who lay claim to Igbo Nationalism have suddenly lost our voice.
Is insecurity and Banditry only bad when it’s happening in the North? Why the hypocrisy and double standard?
Just yesterday, armed men attacked the Iboko Divisional Police Station in Izzi local government of Ebonyi State setting the building ablaze with fire bombs around 1 am Monday (yesterday)
In January, three policemen were killed in another attack on Onueke police station in Ezza South local government area. In February, the Police Divisional Headquarters in Isu, Onicha local government area was burnt by hoodlums, who also torched four patrol vans.
The latest attack brings to four the number of police stations so far attacked in the region.
AWAY FROM EBONYI, other attacks have also taken place in Abia, Imo and Anambra.
In the Abia attack, which occurred in Aba, two officers were killed, part of the station was set ablaze and arms and ammunition carted away
Just last Wednesday in Anambra, two police officers were killed in two separate incidents when some gunmen attacked a police patrol team at a checkpoint.
In the Imo state attack, a female police officer sustained injuries during a gun fight with attackers Before now, Enugu has witnessed multiple attacks at police stations.
IN VIRTUALLY ALL THE ATTACKS, SOME POLICE OPERATIVES WERE KILLED AND GUNS AND AMMUNITIONS TAKEN BY THE ATTACKERS
I will not pretend not to know that an average Igbo person harbours some degree of RIGHTOUS grievances against the Nigerian security establishment as a body, not just the police. I describe the Igbo grievances against security agencies as RIGHTOUS because in truth, these guys have treated and still treat Ndigbo as CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD. So there is a sense in which an average onye Igbo may feel little motivation to spare any empathy when security operatives are being attacked
But, WE ARE NDIGBO, a unique people with their own unique views about life. And the security agents are not our teachers. We don’t gloat over the death or misfortune of a fellow human being especially one who may not have directly wronged us. Above all MINDLESS VIOLENCE AND BLOODSHED IS NOT WHAT WE ARE KNOWN FOR. BANDITRY IS NOT OUR CULTURE
Again, the police people being killed in these attacks are mostly Igbos who are not in decision making position in the Force. So whatever injustice we suffer cannot in good conscience, be attributed to them. So we should not keep quiet when they are being targeted by unknown criminals, Just like the rest of us, they are victims of the Nigerian situation, poorly paid, poor equipped and poorly trained, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the weapons the attackers are carting away from the police WILL END UP BEING USED AGAINST US. So in the final analysis, we are all casualties, as JP Clark would say.
This is why we must stand in unison and in clear unambiguous word, condemn these barbaric cowardly attacks of targeting innocent security personnel and carting away their weapons. We must call out the attackers and bandits whoever they are. We must resist this evil attempt to turn Ala-Igbo to North East. Chaos is a ladder but only in the TV series, Game Of Throne. In real life, chaos is an ill-wind that blows no one any good
No matter how you look at this, if anarchy descends on Ala-Igbo and there is a total breakdown of law and order occasioned by insecurity, the people that will suffer from this are still our people. Our poor people. It is not even the politicians or elites because they all have standby passports and visas and enough money to fly to any part of the world within a short notice Already, their families are abroad. And you have seen they don’t really care about you and your plight Northern Politicians like the Senate president no longer visit their home state. But the poor people who can’t afford a house in Abuja and abroad are still in those villages, at the merciless mercy of bandits and Boko haram. This may be our lot if care is not taken
We need to rise above petty emotion and see the clear danger this Banditry portends for Ala-Igbo. NA CLAP CLAP DEM DEY TAKE ENTER DANCE
Charles Ogbu is a social commentator based in Enugu