Emene shooting: Still waiting for Igbo governors…
By Mazi Omife Omife
Igbos asked for a separate country, they said no
They asked for restructuring, they said no
They asked for regional security outfit like the Yoruba, they said no, and gave us community policing
But immediately they heard that some boys were doing training, they all rushed there as if the world was coming to an end
They said the boys were training in martial arts preparing for war
But the boys said they were doing kung fu training for self defence
Call it martial art, kung fu or taekwondo, all are recognized in global sports
Has it become an offense for people to practice or be trained in self-defense?
For all I know, St. Joseph community primary school field is one of the busiest open fields used for various activities – football, wedding, meeting and other purposes.
Can it be possible for IPOB boys to do so in the full glare of the public and along a 24-hour busy road? More so, when such a group is said to be proscribed by the government of the day?
If the boys were engaged in subversive or sinister act, will they not choose a hide out like cult boys, a bush perhaps, to avoid security agents or even the prying eyes of the public.
There are big forests in and around Emene like Nchatancha, Akpoga, Onu Ogba, Ugwuomu, Nkwubo, Owo. What of Idodo where a helicopter cannot locate people, even if there are one thousand people there.
There are reports of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in some of these bushes like Akani layout, at the boundary between Emene and Akpugo where a lot of herdsmen have settlement.
I thought the police or whatever should have focused their attention in those places, instead of hunting and hounding our people.
The DSS and the police should be more proactive in their surveillance of crime, based on meticulous investigation to confirm any unverified information before taking any action.
It took the American security agents several years of investigation to confirm the exact location of Osama bin Laden before they struck and got him in a few hours operation.
Other countries like Britain, France, China always embark on discrete investigation, including spying, to confirm their information before they act.
Coming to what happened at Emene, when the DSS found out that the IPOB boys were not armed or engaged in any violent or criminal activity, they should have been more preemptive by taking one or two proactive actions:
• Invite their leaders to their office for a dialogue interview.
• Check their phones and any other gadgets for any incriminating information.
• Contact the traditional ruler in charge of the area for his comment as no responsible traditional ruler will allow any subversive activity in his domain.
• The venue in question is just a stone throw from Emene police station and no sensible person would engage in any violent or criminal act under such police proximity.
• When the DSS found out that their information about IPOB boys being violent or carrying arms, the reasonable thing would have been to engage them in a dialogue instead of applying force.
For instance, when late Chuba Okadigbo was alleged to have carried the House of Senate mace away, Obasanjo then head of State ordered the Inspector General of Police to recover the mace at all costs, and even arrest Okadigbo if necessary.
When the ACP sent by the IGP went to Okadigbos’s house with his squad, it only took a dialogue to resolve the issues and the police left without any arrest.
The job of DSS should be to pass information to the police based on facts and to get their information, the DSS should be more tactical and professional like their counterparts in other countries. They could even pretend to join an organization they want to target as members or befriend some of the members and use them to get authentic information.
The Emene case of police killing of unarmed citizens especially in the South East is certainly one too many and it is time for the governments of the South East region, the governors in particular, as the chief security officers of the region, to take up the matter with the Federal government in a more responsive and decisive manner in the direction of securing a deal for IPOB members.
Recall that the Northern governors once did a similar thing by dialoguing with the Federal government to release and grant amnesty to armed robbers as a way to stop the increasing menace of armed robbers in the region.
The governors did the same thing for Boko Haram detainees who were not only released and granted amnesty but also rehabilitated by the Federal government. Why can’t the hundreds of IPOB members still languishing in various jails enjoy similar privilege instead of more IPOB members being hounded and killed each time they have a clash with the police.
The South East governors should apply their powers to facilitate the institution of a judicial inquiry into the Emene incident, as a measure to prevent future occurrences.
We are waiting.
Mazi Omife I. Omife