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Jail Break In Owerri: A Message To The Ruling Class ~ By Onwuasoanya Jones


Everyone of us woke up this morning to reports across social media platforms about a prison break and bomb attacks on the Imo State Command headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force. My initial reaction was to hope against hopes that it wasn’t as bad as being painted by citizens’s reporters. Then the videos and pictures started flying around, and they don’t look good at all.

In my usual optimism and sometimes, senseless nationalism, I wished silently to hear that the Police repelled the attacks, that some of the attackers were shot dead and a few apprehended, but such news isn’t forthcoming. Instead, a prison official co-in-law of mine confirmed to me that not a single inmate of theirs is still in their custody. That everyone has been freed.

When I asked about the true situation of things at the Police headquarters, he said; “That place is in a worst mess than our situation here.” His only consolation is in the fact that no one died.

Yes, they said; ” Not a single soul was killed”, but that’s more due to the ‘kindness’ of the gunmen than any special efforts by the policemen or armed squad of the Correctional Services outfit. If these gunmen weren’t ‘kind enough’ to decide not to waste blood, we would have certainly been greeted with a litter of human corpses across that area, this morning. The stench of congealed blood would have taken over the entire city of Owerri and beyond, for days from now, and we would have seen a complete disemboweling of our entire security protrusion.

Before today, anyone would have been correct to think that the area where the command headquarters of the Nigerian Police force and the prison headquarters is located, is the safest place anywhere in Imo State. And we actually have the Imo State Government House tucked in between these structures. But, we have been shocked into the realization that, not even the governor is safe and even the Commissioner of Police could have been kidnapped.

Methinks, it is time to explore new policing ideas. We must invest more in citizen based policing, where the citizenry are convinced that the police are their friends, and are working hard to protect them. Where the citizenry have such confidence in the police that they could do anything to protect them. We must invest in new strategies of policing that would make it difficult for criminals to succeed in criminalizing the police. We must invest more in intelligence based policing.

I am imagining the number of men that could have executed such a daring operation and the calibre and number of ammunition in their possession. If we have that number of angry and organized gang somewhere in our own Southeast, then, we are indeed, in more troubles than anyone may imagine.

With the success of this attack against our own police in their own headquarters, one wouldn’t blame those who might have concluded that we have a sleeping police force. These criminals planned their attacks to coincide with the Easter holiday and in the sweetest hours of the night, and they obviously caught our men napping. Moving in such number of vehicles from many kilometers till they entered Owerri and got into the police headquarters, without been intercepted should worry the Nigerian Police Force.

This should be an awakening to our political leaders, too. A strong message has been sent out to everyone, that there are no impregnable fortresses, as long as we have a band of angry, hungry and frustrated youths. Not even the President is safe. The only way we can guarantee an enhanced level of safety for everyone, especially, those in power, is to drastically reduce the number of hungry, frustrated and deprived youths and citizens in our country, through deliberate implementation of policies that enhance economic opportunities of the citizenry, through reduction in the ostentatious living of our political elites and by ensuring higher transparency in the running of government business.

Our politicians and top public servants cannot continue to rub their impunity and brazen corruption into our faces and expect that every youth would be as docile as many others to take such insults lying prostrate and celebrating the little crumbs that drop off our feet.

An angry, dissatisfied, educated, intelligent and jobless band of youths, such as we have it in Nigeria, especially, in the East of the South of Nigeria, is a time bomb, that when it starts exploding, will make a child’s play of what is presently taking place across most parts of Nigeria, especially, in the Southeast.

May good judgment win, may Nigeria Prevail!

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