‘Life has suddenly become very cheap in Anambra State’
Last Friday about six persons lost heir lives in Nnewi following a gun battle between the task force of Anambra Task Force on Markets and Parks (Mpiawa Azu), ostensibly on a mission to collect revenue from Nnewi and the Youth of Nnewi.
While we cannot assess all the fa cts inthe build-up to the matter, we are appalled that added to the plethora of needless deaths arising from the inability of the Anambra State government to secure the state, there could be further deaths caused by, premeditated attacks from agents of the State government in Nnewi to the tune of six lives,which could be more, as the media-which is usually conservative in reporting casualties.
We wonder why a state apparatus should shoot live ammunition to kill those it seeks to obtain revenue from and better their lives, instead of effecting arrests with a view to facilitating the due process.Before Nnewi, such massive resistance and violent clashes have taken place in Onitsha, Nkpor, Obosi and a few other market towns, with heavy casualties.
We are quick to observe scathing comparisons between the crude mode of operations of the Anambra State Task Fore on and the defunct ‘Bakassi Boys ‘under the Chinwoke Mbadinuju era which if it ever added value to our lives in Anambra ,has been overtaken by superior human develop drive and therefore should be consigned to the dustbin of history.
At some point, the Bakassi Boys, constituted more of a source of terror to the majority of citizens than the criminal elements they were meant to check. We see parallels in Mpiawa Azu.
That an organization of the state could fail to act within the law setting it up and move into a different era of extra-judicial killings of those that were supposedly to benefit from setting up those organizations is a serious matter that should not be glossed over by the Nigerian Police, and the Anambra State House of Assembly.
Once again we condemn the excessive violence e deployed by the Anambra State Task Force on Parks and Market, which only last year was responsible for the violence perpetrated by political parties outside the ruling APGA in the state including Senator Chris Ngige in Onitsha and Se. Annie Okonkwo in Awka.
We also recall with a very painful heart that the same task force was used by the APGA–led state government led by o e ‘Iko Nso’to burn three campaign vehicles and inflict bodily harm on the person citizens of Anambra State on three occasions in Agulu.
We do not envisage an Anambra of any vision where people daily die like fowls under the seeming supervision of the government that should protect them. Life has suddenly become cheap in Anambra State, given the increasing reports of violence and deaths. We consider it a failure of governance by the APGA government in Awka.
Whatever revenue was sought to be recovered on Friday in Nnewi ended up not being collected, because what ought to be a civil operation in a clime that means well ,ended up being mission to annihilate which saw the movement of ‘troops’ from far away Onitsha to conquer territories in Nnewi.
If the Task Force was a well –organised and a well-intentioned body, there is no reason why its Nnewi branch cannot carry out the revenue drive and resort to the Policce in Nnewi when overpowered or overawed. Rather they sought to enlist the cover of their troops commanded by Sylvester Nwobualor and the Governor of Anambra State, as if civil liberties should continue to elude Ndi Anambra on end.
Besides the duty which this suspect body sought to do in Nnewi is nothing more than the duties of a properly constituted local government which unfortunately is not in place because the state government operatives led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Dubem Obaze, urged on by Governor Peter Obi, insists on preventing local government elections, so that monies belonging to the third tier of government would continue to be siphoned by individuals.
We urge the Anambra State Government to set up a judicial panel of enquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the unfortunate killings Nnewi and rise up to the responsibility of protecting life and property in Anambra State.
WE urge the State House of Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review of the enabling laws and mode of operations of the Anambra State Task Force on Parks and Markets, more popularly known in the state as Mpiawa Azu.
We commiserate with the families of those who died in the avoidable and unprovoked war in Nnewi and trust that those who lost their lives will not die in vain.
For: ACTION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA, ANAMBRA STATE CHAPTER
State Publicity Secretary