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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Monday’s sit-at-home: Imo has many ungoverned spaces – HURIWA reiterates

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Public statement by the police authority in Imo State to end the enforcement of the illegal sit-at-home orders on Mondays needs to be accompanied by a demonstrable capacity of the state government to establish police presence in all parts of the state because as it is, a greater percentage of the communities in Imo State are largely ungoverned and abandoned spaces with no presence of either police or Army.

Making this above observation is the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which observed too that it may just be mere media propaganda material put out in the media to please the politicians in Douglas House in Owerri that may have motivated the police command in Imo State to make the statement that it is ready to enable owners of businesses with fool-proof security to open up businesses on Mondays to beat the enforcers of the illegal sit-at-home orders to their game. The leading non-governmental organization: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA(HURIWA) said this is simply made a public speech for sensationalism since there is no concrete evidence that police operatives are now working in all area councils of Imo State.

“HURIWA has a significant physical presence in the South East with most of our members working in the creative, media and entertainment industries located in the East of the Niger. From empirical evidence, there is no presence of police operatives in about 45% of the public spaces of Imo state.”

HURIWA continues: “There is seriously no single police operatives in majority of communities in a majority of the council areas and not to talk of rural communities in very remote areas because there is even no governance at that level of government because the governors in almost the entire administrations since 1999, gradually bleeded the local councils to death”.

“Then again, to make matters worst, police outposts and stations built by the people through communal contributions and through the philanthropic donations of some rich elites in most of these Imo State communities, were destroyed by armed non state actors during the last three or four years of persistent attacks on strategic national security assets. These burnt down stations are largely not rebuilt. So where will the police stay to enforce the law against the enforcers of the illegal sit-at-home orders on Mondays?”

HURIWA recalled that the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Aboki Danjuma, has declared an end to the sit-at-home orders previously enforced by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Mondays.

In a statement released during a “confidence-building patrol” on Monday, Danjuma assured residents they can resume their businesses without fear of reprisal. He emphasized that the police have implemented measures to checkmate the activities of the separatist group.
“This is a confidence building patrol and operation show of force exercise across the length and breadth of the state,” he said.
IPOB has called for sit-at-home protests in parts of southeastern Nigeria, including Imo State, to demand the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing charges of treasonable felony, incitement, and insurrection.

Danjuma condemned the activities of IPOB, stating their actions have negatively impacted the state and regional economy. He vowed to prevent further killings and destruction of lives and properties linked to the sit-at-home orders.

“This continuous operation is targeted at preventing crime and putting an end to the deleterious and illegal sit-at-home order by the proscribed IPOB/ESN which has grievously affected the economy of the state and south-east region,” Danjuma said, referring to the group’s armed wing, the Eastern Security Network.

“We have put all machinery in place to forestall any further incidence of killings and destruction of lives and properties in the state, especially on the IPOB-instituted sit-at-home on Mondays,” says the police commissioner.

HURIWA however doubts the feasibility and possibility of achieving this lofty objective unless and until the Imo State government rebuilds all the burnt police stations, equip these stations, get the president and the IGP to post enough members of the armed Nigeria police Force and importantly, the state government should initiate public and community dialogues sessions to enable the state to bring on board all groups that are aggrieved with a view to implementing a set of workable solutions to the needless insecurity in Imo state”.

“The truth is that peace, stability, reconciliation are not achieved by mere media propaganda. Then again, the police operatives in Imo State must operate in compliance with the global best practices and must stamp out all manifestations of bribery, corruption and demanding of payments before carrying out their statutory policing duties. We had earlier raised this issue up. But after the police made a media statement that it was investigating those allegations, nothing concrete has been done making it inevitable that we have to just file a petition to the National Assembly since it is now inevitable that bribery and corruption still rare their ugly heads in the policing institution of Imo State.”

HURIWA also criticised the Imo State governor Hope Uzodinma for practically moving into Abuja to stay closer to President Tinubu, welcoming him as the president returned from overseas trips and following the president even to Lagos state to commission the light rail project of the Lagos state administration. “The Imo State governor should operate from Owerri or if he likes, he can move into his palatial mansion in Umuma Orlu to operate. But he must put his boots on the ground in Imo State to solve the many problems his government created including alleged invitation of soldiers over the last 4 years that committed atrocities of killings of innocent under the guise of pursuing members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). Hope Uzodinma needs to supervise a truth and reconciliation process to heal imo state and re-establish security, stability, economic growth and the much tales about tourism industry of Imo State that went comatose due to insecurity. The Imo State government needs to create the enabling environment to permit industrialisation of the state in the quickest possible time. The governor must know that posterity will judge him harshly should he leave Imo State in this unruly state.

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