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[OPINION] BIAFRA: The politics of security and insecurity



Divided like never before in its tortured history of nationhood Nigeria is unsafe, wracked by rampant banditry and armed robbery, terrorism, ethnic strife, industrial kidnapping and random violence. The country has never had it so bad, this bad! Yet, despite these challenges sapping the morale of Nigerians our ‘elected’ leaders in Abuja carry on as if nothing is amiss.

There is this pernicious politics of security or insecurity in the South-east region of the country. What we see or hear as news online emanating from the oriental part of of the country paint a gloomy present and doomed future. Biafraland is bleeding profusely and blood is flowing from River Niger down to River Benue. Innocent folks are paying dearly for crimes they do not commit.

Like ‘Amotekun’ vigilante group in Yorubaland Ebube-Agu (the glory of lion) was meant to be a vigilante security outfit in the South-east. Last April the five Governors of the Igbo-speaking states met in Owerri, the Imo State capital, in the first South-East security summit where they announced the imminent establishment of Ebube-Agu. Since that announcement however Ebube-Agu is still nowhere to be seen. Rumours are flying in every direction of the discreet recruitment exercise in progress.

But detractors are quick to label the paramilitary force as a ploy by the political elite to try to take back control of security that has eluded them. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB/ESN mob elements think differently arguing that the south-east Governors, having failed to secure lives and properties of Biafrans following the Fulani herdsmen invasion, ought to hide their faces in shame and recognise the existence of the Eastern Security Network as a viable alternative.

While the combination of resources and logistics are in favour of the executive leaders forming Ebube-Agu seems to be a hard task given the prolonged delay it has encountered. Besides, with Kanu’s ESN already planted on the ground it remains to be seen how the two opposing forces would relate to each other in the event of the arrival of the regional security force.

Are they going to work together for the benefit of Biafrans? Do they have the same objective? Or are they going to fight each other in a supremacy battle? What would surprise observers is if a perfect ground is found for the two opposing forces to work effectively together.

Kanu would never allow or accept his ESN elements to be under the control of Ebube-Agu. The south-east Governors would never allow or accept to be dictated to by the ESN local commanders or the supreme commander himself. So where lies the meeting point?

The politics of security or insecurity in Biafraland has lately assumed an alarming proportion. For quite sometime now the so-called unknown gunmen have been on the rampage, terrorizing the landscape, killing security forces and destroying private and public properties. The Buhari regime, known for its cruelty and state terrorism, has risen violently to nip the ‘rebellion’ in the bud. Many areas in Igboland had witnessed chaotic scenes of war.

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In pursuit of the ESN/IPOB elements masquerading allegedly as the ‘unknown gunmen’ many collateral damages had been recorded. Uncountable young Biafrans going about their legitimate businesses had fallen victim of state terror. In other words, hundreds of innocent folks had been made to suffer for the crime(s) they never committed nor knew nothing about.

If Nnamdi Kanu’s major objective is to cripple the federal administrative presence or structures in Igboland by attacking police stations, prisons and INEC offices and killing military and police personnel then his strategy is not working and would not work. No serious government bows to the dictates of violent elements.

When he established heroically the ESN many Biafrans hailed him for his courage and conviction. He took the bull by the horn by confronting a deadly situation (Fulani herdsmen invasion) that would have been worse today had he not intervened. He sent a clear message of a ‘savior’ out to secure his people terrorized! But it seems the ESN has been turned into a terror machine, a monster!

It is very dangerous for an armed security outfit to be in command and control of one fugitive, a non-state actor living far away from home! But no one is begrudging Kanu for exploiting the security loopholes in the system to foster his seperatist ambition.

Obtaining Biafra without firing a bullet or without war is possible! Both Kanu and President Buhari must agree on a referendum, the best way forward, going forward. In the event of declaration of war neither Buhari nor Kanu would come out victorious. Everyone and everything would be vanquished!

The IPOB/ESN fugitive leader, no matter his motivation, has no right to impose war on the rest of us, moderate Biafrans, without our collective consent. And President Buhari, with all due respect, has no right to ignore the calls for a referendum to be organized in the restive south-east.

Describing a great people and their struggle for self-determination dismissively as a “dot in a circle” bore hallmarks of disdain and loathsomeness. And telling them that they have no where to go to because of their massive investments and businesses outside their ancestral homeland is a sad reminder of the need for Biafrans to re-strategise towards homeward investment in the future.

Referendum remains the easiest way out. Let the Igbos decide their fate and future themselves through a popular free and fair vote. Any other option is provocative and dictatorial.

Our position, in the final analysis, is that the politics of security and/or insecurity in the south-east region is adversely affecting the fortunes of Biafraland politically, socially and economically. The poor and the vulnerable are at the receiving end of the madness. President Buhari must stop his bellicose approach to wards the Biafran question.

By Ozodinukwe Okenwa…

Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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