With the latest round of assassinations in Imo State, it is now crystal clear that the state has come under the siege of assassins and kidnappers. Imolites are still shocked by the dastard assassination in Obowo LGA of retired police officer and his wife. And just in the wake of that gruesome killing reports again filtered about the murder of a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, women leader in Ideato North Local Government Area.
These three recent cold blooded killings according to investigation have brought the number of Imo citizens sent to their untimely grave in the last six months or so to about ten. Two weeks ago, chairman Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, OCCIMA, Chief Nnadumuije Igwe was shot to death on his way from back to Owerri the state capital after attending a burial in Ideato North LGA. Not long ago, a Catholic Priest,Rev Fr Jude Egbom of the Orlu Catholic Diocese was gunned down as he emerged from where had gone to cut his hair at a barber shop in Nkwerre LGA. Apart from Rev Fr Egbom who was an indigene of Nkwerre before his murder, three other indigenes of the council were also brutally hacked to death by by hoodlums. Those who lost their lives were Theo Mbakwe; a PDP Youth Leader from Owerre Nkwoji and Amos Akano, an APC chieftain and aide to former Chief of Staff, CoS, Imo Government House. Mention must also be made of the assassination of the Chairman of Ideato North APC faction loyal to Gov Okorocha few days after the disputed Congresses of Imo APC. We want to also recall that the Imo state givernor,Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, obviously in an effort to help nab the killers of the APC chieftain promised financial reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the killers.
One glaring fact that stares all in the face going by this avalanche of assassinations is that insecurity is now the order of the day in Imo state. A situation where people are being killed on weekly basis clearly suggests that security of life and property is no longer being accorded the topmost priority it should deserve from those concerned. The citizens themselves who are seriously concerned about this seeming abdication of duty or, helplessness on the part of security agencies, now live in fear not knowing who the next victim of these rampaging killers will be.
Sadly, amid this high level killings and attendant insecurity and fear among citizens, there is little or no sign that those masterminding these bloodletting are being arrested to face the wrath of the law. Rather than focus on cracking down criminals and murderers men of the Nigeria Police on road duties are now more inclined to extorting N50 naira from drivers. Some even maim and kill because of N50 naira!
Worse, police and indeed security presence in the state is now mostly confined to Owerri, the state capital. You can hardly see security presence in rural areas and remote roads in the state and from available facts most of these killings take place in areas far away from Owerri where the security agents are found just as their perpetrators escape through these unpatrolled lonely roads.
We are compelled to raise the alarm that Imo State presently is very insecure. We think it is high time given this ugly situation that government and security agencies woke up from slumber and rise to the challenge of securing the people. We are calling on the commissioner of police in the state to marshal out fresh strategies for securing lives and property in the state especially during this Christmas season. Besides, concerted and collaborative efforts should be made to track down and arrest perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Doing this has become very imperative because apart from restoring fading public confidence in the ability of the Police and other security agencies to provide security, bringing these killers to book will go a long way in stemming this festering ugly sore.
While we commiserate with families who have lost loved ones to assassins and kidnappers, it is important to tell those concerned that the only way their tears can be wiped away is by arresting those behind the killing of their loved ones and bringing them to justice. Doing that would also rest assure citizens that they are safe and can go about their daily businesses without fear of any kind.