Connect with us

EDITORIAL

Arresting vendors in bad taste

Published

on

Arresting vendors in bad taste

Owerri is already tensed. Our dear small, civil-servant city, has recently had its peace and quietness shattered, with jailbreak, shootings, killings, burning and more. We have tension so strong it can be cut with a knife, literally. But life goes on. We now go about our businesses looking over our shoulder, to see who is shooting or trying to snatch our bags. Yet, someone in Abuja thinks we are not suffering enough.

A fortnight ago and again on Monday, operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) came from Abuja, to arrest newspaper vendors, supposedly selling seditious publications, seemingly sympathetic to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who are now more dangerous to Abuja than Boko Haram, bandits, unknown gunmen and Fulani herdsmen put together.

We need to know who the publishers of the seditious works are and what they published, to be sure. Vendors do not contribute to newspaper content, so why arrest them for editorial offence, if any? Granted there is no excuse for publishing or circulating seditious materials but let guilt be established first. However, it will be good if the Federal Government could use the same sledge hammer it used for IPOB on Boko Haram, bandits and herdsmen apologists. What we find each time is that “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others,” according to George Orwell’s Animal farm.

Undoubtedly, some of the vendors arrested cannot even read the newspapers they are selling, in a country with less than 60 per cent literacy. If any newspaper is carrying inflammatory article at this time when tension is high, one wonders if the right approach is to raid the newsstand and sweep vendors into police custody, take them to Abuja or have them bail themselves with huge sums of money. If this is meant to frighten or silence the press, it is rather an assault on Press Freedom.

One would think Abuja police would direct their attention on Boko Haram and bandits wreaking havoc in the nation, kidnapping students and hoisting their flag in neighbouring Niger State.

Even so, there are legal ways to address any wrong publication. Indiscriminate arrest of poor vendors trying to make a living is wicked, malicious and provocative. We urge the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma to raise his voice against this undue assault.

In these trying times, police and security agents should be careful not to aggravate the situation by adding petrol to fire, through indiscriminate arrest of innocent people, including vendors.

Let us remind Abuja that the Nigeria Press Council has its headquarters there and is statutorily the best organ of government that should take the First step to do the needful in a matter of this nature.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

EDITORIAL

IPOB – Giving a dog a bad name

Published

on

IPOB - Giving a dog a bad name

They say things go wrong when good people keep silent. This is why we think the recent press release issued by law makers of Imo State House of Assembly, is good although belated. The release dated June 5th and signed by Hon Engr Duru Iheonukara Johnson, Chairman House Committee on Information, spoke on the scary security situation in the state. It correctly identified the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), called for calm, advised the youth and urged stakeholders to dialogue in the interest of peace. 

 A popular proverb says that when you want to hang a dog you first give it a bad name. This is to justify the deed and neutralize the effect.  Undoubtedly, IPOB is going through a similar experience.

 As far as we know the group is displeased with the continuous suppression of Ndigbo and wants self determination.  Unlike, Boko Haram, another group of angry people but born in the North, IPOB has no religious motive or plan to “dip the Bible into any ocean”. It does not seek to steal, kill, destroy, conquer or take over the whole Nigeria and rule it.  IPOB is just tired of the South-East being treated as second class citizens in a country where everyone is supposedly equal. The world calls the likes of IPOB “agitators” or “separatist group” but the Federal Government calls IPOB “terrorists” and proscribed it.

On the other hand, Boko Haram, an offshoot of the Islamic State Isis, described by the civilized world and global community as “The third most dreaded terrorist organization in the world,” has no derogatory word attached to it, neither is it proscribed by the Nigerian Government.

Nigerians and the world know what mayhem Boko Haram is causing in the North, Borno State in particular.  Recently, it took over parts of Niger State and hoisted its flag. In fact, President Buhari was voted into power to crush Boko Haram and free Nigeria.  But to the Buhari Government, Boko Haram is not a terrorist organization but IPOB is. Little wonder the battle against the terrorist Boko Haram has not been won. Government is romancing with them, as bandits, Fulani herdsmen et cetera and clamping down on IPOB looking for justice.

The world is aware of the duplicity. We can tell from their actions and media reports. But some of our people are unaware of the double standard of the Federal Government and that is why we find the press release of the Imo State House of Assembly apt. .

In the release, IMHA said they “have it on good authority that IPOB and the ESN to our knowledge and understanding are not organizations founded on the principles of violence and armed insurrection, rather advocates of Igbo liberation and security through peaceful, non-violent means.”

They said what is happening in Imo is politically motivated. This agrees with an earlier statement by Governor Hope Uzodimma.

Let the Federal Government chew on that.

Continue Reading

EDITORIAL

Terrorizing our youths

Published

on

Terrorizing our youths

No one had seen such abuse of the gun by soldiers, here, before. No one believed trusted authority, supposed security officers, could attempt to waste innocent lives in that way. But they did in Imo State – a bold-faced assault on defenseless citizens!

What took place in Owerri, last week, the sporadic shootings and killings, were a rude shock and a sad reminder of what Ndigbo would like to forget. The people are not at war with anyone and did not expect such a thing. A State of once proud people but now filled with unemployed youths was further plunged into sadness by solders brought from Abuja supposedly to fight crime – the so-called unknown gunmen-who were burning down police stations, INEC offices etc.

But rather than tackle the gunmen, the soldiers seemingly criminalized every Imolite, arresting, beating, stabbing and shooting just about any unfortunate person. The majority of the victims were young men, some of them students.

What happened in Orlu, Ogboshishi in Owerri and Mbaise will remain with Imolites for a long time. We do not understand why soldiers, driving around and probably searching for criminals would choose to shoot at cars and people. Even when those people ran for safety, they were still shot at. Some were wounded, some arrested and some escaped. But the majority of those arrested or shot were young men. The soldiers threw them into their vehicles and went their merry way, still shooting, though. Our question is, is that how it works? What have these young men done?

One of the ugly cases that went viral was a food vendor preparing food with her adult son. Mother and son were trying to serve food to two males and in came the soldiers. According to the woman, who spoke live on Oziza 96.1Fm, they stabbed one of the men severally in the back and arrested two others, including the woman’s son. The woman reported that one of the men who raised his hands and declared that he is not Igbo was still arrested but not stabbed or beaten. The question is, are the soldiers here to fight crime or to destroy our young men?

We ignore rumours of some youths being wasted at midnight in police cells. The police deny this, and we dismiss it as fake news. However, the case of the soldiers going into students hostels and arresting young men is cause for concern.

We agree with the police that anyone found at a crime scene is a suspect. However, a situation where the police arrive hours after a crime and round up people after the criminals have fled is disturbing. Again, we agree that the police may arrest people for questioning and release them afterwards. But what we know is that once arrested, one pays dearly to regain freedom, even when innocence has been supremely established.

We are worried that innocent lives are being lost in vain.

Continue Reading

EDITORIAL

Ban on open grazing: Kudos to Southern Governors

Published

on

Ban on open grazing: Kudos to Southern Governors

The collective ban on open grazing by Southern Governors is a landmark decision. Although belated, we commend the Governors for meeting, discussing and uniting, for the first time, on an issue. They dared to take a stand on a matter that has ridiculed Nigeria before the nations.

It is important to note that the 17 Governors met, not along ethnic, religious, or political lines but socio-economic, to take decisions without fear of intimidation by the godfathers. This shows that a better society is possible. That is, a society where the common good overrides other considerations.
However, we note with concern the reaction of President Muhammadu Buhari or the Presidency, as the office is addressed, when Malam Garba Shehu , the President’s spokesman on media and publicity, is seemingly reading his own script. His position is strange and laughable. Rather than commend the Governors and respect their unanimous view, Mallam Shehu angrily told them their decision is illegal and violated the rights of every Nigerian to live and do business in any part of the country. Mallam Shehu could not hide his surprise that Governors spoke with one voice. He spoke as if the problem with open grazing was that of the right of every Nigerian to “do business in another part” rather than some Nigerians and their foreign kinsmen wanting to destroy others and take over their land.

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami also told the governors that their decision was unconstitutional. He advised them to seek a review of the 1999 constitution if they want to ban open grazing. One may conclude that Malami is suggesting that things should be left as they are until the 1999 constitution is amended.

We take solace in Governor Akeredolu’s, his fellow SAN’s response that the Governors decision is irreversible.

It is clear that much of the insecurity plaguing Nigeria is as a result of the Fulani killer herdsmen attempting to take over farmlands, forests and sections of the South-South , South West and South-East.
For several years now, people have been crying out over activities of these herdsmen, wreaking havoc on other people’s means of livelihood. Hundreds have lost their lives in the hands of these killers and neither Garba nor Malami has reminded anyone that all Nigerians are equal under the constitution and that each life is important. Instead, Shehu is telling us that the presidency will commence partial implementation of its plan to set up grazing reserves, starting from June in so-called willing states.
We know that no Southern state will be willing to share its land with killer Fulani herders, local and foreign, whose game plan is to slaughter and settle.

Continue Reading

LEAD STORY JUNE 13

Advertisement
Advertisement

Like us on Facebook

Advertisement

Trending