Remove Those Terrorists From Anambra! | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Remove Those Terrorists From Anambra!

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 3:08 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

No matter how it is looked at, the decision to transfer the nearly 50 Boko Haram convicts and detainees from the North East to a small, poorly secured prison in Ekwulobia community in Anambra State is one excellent example of how a very bad policy can be so badly executed. Although the Federal prison authorities reserve the right to send prisoners to any of their jail houses across the country, it would appear that in this particular case, they chose to egregiously abuse that right. And by so doing, they created a very grievous image problem for the Muhammadu Buhari regime and injected avoidable fear and panic in a community where people had lived their lives in relative peace.

Those behind this clearly obnoxious decision were quick to betray their confusion, and, perhaps, unwholesome intentions when it was reported that businessmen and women in Anambra State had closed their shops and offices and poured into the streets to protest the planned move. An official of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) promptly dismissed the story of the planned relocation of those murderous terrorists to Anambra as untrue. Even a spokesperson for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, immediately released a statement urging Nigerians to consider the story as unfounded. If it was such a well-meaning policy, why were these fellows and the organizations they represent eager to confuse Nigerians and shield them from the truth?

Well, the truth as we know it today is that the “rumour” has turned out to be true and as you read this now, the terrorists have been effectively planted in Ekwulobia prisons.  Now, the standard practice globally is to keep in Maximum Security Prisons such unrepentant, dare-devil terrorists who derive undue animation from taking their own lives in suicide missions in order to eliminate hapless “infidels.” Nigeria has several of such prisons and the one in Ekwulobia is not one of them. So, what exactly informed and justified the choice of Ekwulobia prison, an already unduly over-stretched facility meant for 85 inmates but which already houses 185 inmates – more than double of its capacity – as the best place to keep those terrorists? When one also imagines the distance covered to bring these terrorists to Anambra State, one is tempted to give second thought to the view already circulating that some sinister motives may have inspired the decision.

Governments the world over are known for taking tough decisions sometimes, especially when such initiatives are meant to promote the overall good of the country and its citizens. Their hope would be that those who had opposed the decision would eventually turn around to applaud it when its eventual favourable outcome stands out to vindicate the wisdom behind it. But in this particular case, no such redeeming outcome can be expected. Considering what South Easterners lost in human and material resources as the initial, almost sole targets of Boko Haram in the North, the fears and trepidation created by the decision to keep this same compulsive killers in a poorly protected facility among them are more than justified. Indeed, they would be perfectly right if they view the decision as reckless, insensitive and very ungodly.  What is the guarantee that these same bloodthirsty fellows won’t be motivated by the fact they are forced to live among the same “infidels” whom they believe they have some devilish mandate to annihilate to one day organize and overwhelm the modest security in Ekwolobia and continue their murderous mission in the South East? And who will blame the people if they conclude and insist, judging by the untidy and insincere manner this whole “exportation” exercise was undertaken, that any “jail break” that occurs in that prison tomorrow was preplanned, and, indeed, part of the original plot to send those unrepentant jihadists to a poorly secured prison in the South East so that they can easily overwhelm the security there and recommence the mass-extermination of Ndigbo which was massively undertaken by them in the various cities of the North forcing many to abandon whatever they had laboured for to rush down to the South East empty-handed, after also losing many loved ones. After all it has been widely alleged and reported that Boko Horam sympathizers fill the various government offices.

The Buhari administration cannot afford to continue pretending that the grave fears that have been variously expressed about him by many Christians in this country, and which inspired his widespread rejection at the polls in the zone and some other places, have suddenly vanished just because he was declared winner of the March presidential election. He should be seen to be dousing such fears instead of permitting actions that exacerbate them. He cannot claim to be unaware of the virulent attacks on South Easterners and even threats to “deal” with them on the social media because of their freely expressed choice in the last elections in which he won. It ought to dawn on him that the recent movement of these terrorists to Anambra would be construed by many as his way of “punishing” the South East for his poor showing at the polls in the zone during the last elections, and this might be exploited by his political opponents to worsen his image problems. He cannot therefore afford to play into their hands. So, he should as a matter of urgency order the immediate removal of those terrorists from Ekwulobia as there is no justification whatsoever for their relocation to that place.