In Let’s end Southeast insecurity, Ikeddy rues collective silence of stakeholders to insecurity in the region and suggests ways to end it.

MANY have lost hope of the Federal Government showing a maintained interest in the return of peace to Southast Nigeria. The indications are that the centre at best is disinterested in whether the South East swims or sinks. It is not true.

The insecurity spanned out of control particularly since 2021. More militarisation of the zone, more check points, more Operations Python dance exercises, more celebrations of arrests, extra-judicial killings have not been solutions.

One thing the Federal Government should do immediately – tell the Finnish Government to rein in Simon Ekpa. Without sit-at-home orders, a major plank of the insecurity would have been dismantled. We can start from there.

Ikeddy Isiguzo

Very confounding is the silence of our Governors. The Southeast Region is under more insecurity than during the civil war while the Governors are content with logging meaningless titles and appropriating billions as security votes. Daily, they act in breach of their oath of office to protect their people whose security and welfare the Constitution says is the primary purpose of government. They have become so self-serving that no matter how many are killed they are unaffected. At best, they regugitate platitudinous nothingness in condemnation of the attacks.

Why is it impossible for Southeast Governors to take joint action? How do they think they can succeed by each acting alone? Can the Southeast be safe if any part is under attack? The sit-at-home orders not being observed in Abia is not much consolation if people in Abia cannot go to the other States or people cannot come to Abia since they have to pass through the besieged States.

Did any of the Governors say a word when Asari Dokubo disclosed his role in Southeast’s insecurity? What are they afraid of? They would not want to offend Asari? Remarkably, Asari made his claims in the Aso Villa after visiting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. What is Dokubo doing in the Southeast that the security agencies that besiege the region cannot do?

Asari’s utterances were also not countered in any way by Abuja. Would it be wrong to say the President is not against whatever Asari has said, including threatening mayhem if he was arrested?

While the search for unknown gunmen continues, is Asari the known gunman? Are the Governors aware of what Asari is doing in the Southeast?

There was hope when Governor Hope Uzodinma said his government was taking the South East to the centre through Imo State joining the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Ebonyi State is in too. The most evident result of Uzodinma’s success is Imo State becoming the epicentre of the Unknown Gunmen attacks. Whatever spiked the attacks would remain in the realm of conjectures. However indecisions around the attacks confirm their tacit approvals. Is the rule that no security agency should respond to attacks? Where are security agencies to protect those who refuse to sit at home?

Why do they make it seem like the policy is to either instigate insecurity in the South East or ignore it. Many who are in the know have keyed in with silence for the sustenance of their spheres of political influence and relevance.

Nothing hurts like the silences, bothering on indifference. Every opportunity to give insecurity in the Southeast adequate attention that should lead to its resolution is shunned by those who should care.

We have 15 Senators, 43 Members of the House of Representatives, a 58-person delegation to the National Assembly. Except for Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, how many of them have said a word after insecurity in the South East or anything for that matter?

These attacks take place in their constituencies. They would not talk. When Senator Ifeanyi Ubah was attacked last year one would have thought our representatives would come up with meaningful measures to secure the space. Did they? Would it not make a difference if at each sitting one of our representatives at the National Assembly speaks about insecurity in the South? Suppose the Members of State Houses of Assembly do the same? Can they continue speaking until security returns to the Southeast?

Southast is the most fractious zone in Nigeria. The five States by the last count are to be found in four different political parties – APC, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Labour Party, LP, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They need to act in concert beyond party lines. They have to realise that we face a common threat that could worsen by the November governorship election in Imo.

Lives are being lost. Insecurity does not respect party affiliation. APC chieftain Ahmed Gulak was killed on 30 May 2021 on his way to Owerri airport. He is a proof that insecurity can affect anyone.
It would be important for our leaders to speak out otherwise they confirm suspicions that they have acquiesced to the steady annihilation of the Southeast by stripping it of the most important factor in sustaining existence – security.

Ikenga Ugochinyere, newly elected to the House of Representatives, on national television called out Governor Uzodinma for insecurity in Imo State. A siege was laid to Ikenga’s home last year. His house was razed and an uncle died in the attack that was executed without any response from security agencies. He holds the Governor responsible. The Governor sometimes alludes to opponents contributing to the insecurity.

The debates are unhelpful as long as they resolve nothing. Communities have to protect themselves. They do not have the sophisticated firepower of the attackers but they can do better working with the Governors, legislators, local government chairmen who they must hold more accountable.

One thing the Federal Government should do immediately – tell the Finnish Government to rein in Simon Ekpa. Without sit-at-home orders, a major plank of the insecurity would have been dismantled. We can start from there.

Ikeddy Isiguzo

Ikeddy Isiguzo is Nigerian’s only major commentator on minor issues. An intellectual and sports journalism folk hero, Ikeddy served as Chair of Vanguard Nigeria’s Editorial Board, a position he held for many years. You can reach him on any of his social channels below. More by Ikeddy Isiguzo


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