Date: June 23, 2021, 06:47:50 AM
Why gunmen target security formations, personnel in South East, South South: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum
Respondents in the South East attributed the killing of policemen and burning of police stations in the region to accumulated anger by the people over police brutality in the region. Some of the reasons given by the people include alleged human rights abuses associated with police extortion and demand for gratification, humiliation of people at checkpoints, arbitrary arrests and detention of innocent citizens, raiding people’s homes for no justifiable reasons and forcing people to admit crimes not committed. There are also allegations of using cases before the police as revenue window, unduly picking up progressive Nigerian youths and dubbing them criminals out of jealousy, abandoning police official duties to serve politicians, often times turning cases against the complainants and protecting known criminals in the society.
Protest against discrimination, biasThe National Publicity Secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, on his part believed that the gunmen must be targeting security personnel as a result of the selective approach of governance in the country. Robinson said: “The people behind it are ‘unknown gunmen’. And our position is that the attack is an expression of anger and some kind of hopelessness among citizens. The people doing this are not foreigners, they are Nigerians.They come from communities. They feel the pain of the discrimination and bias against some parts of the country.
Security personnel accused of condoning herdsmen’s atrocitiesIn Akwa Ibom state, a total of twenty-two police personnel have been killed so far in the attacks cutting across Essien Udim, Ika, Ikono, Etim Ekpo, Ini and Abak local government areas, all in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district. A public servant, simply identified as Mr. Akpan, said he believed the gunmen belonged to Akwa Ibom pressure group affiliated to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB) fighting the police and the military for always protecting herdsmen in the country while victimizing the South South people and the youths who were engaged in genuine struggle. His words: “Those boys cannot just begin to kill the police and military. They are not happy about what is happening in the country today where Fulani herdsmen kill, maim innocent people and farmers while the government of the day will look the other way. Instead of dealing with the terrorists, the government would order security men to kill and arrest militants, IPOB, ESN who don’t harm innocent citizens. If nothing is done by government to address this, I don’t know what this country and the state will become tomorrow.”Some other citizens, however, were of the opinion that the attacks were targeted at government officials and not the police, stressing that those youths were trying to get the police out of the way to be able to penetrate government officials that use them as escorts.One of them said, “Those boys are not strangers, they are locals. They are indigenes of Akwa Ibom State. They interact with our people in our own language. They come to town to buy things, food to eat. When they came out to buy things in town and people were running away, they would say, ‘don’t run, sell for us’.
In the attack at Uzo-Uwani in Enugu state that led to the death of scores of people, the governor of the state got the information and called the 82 division Headquarters in Enugu. They were dilly-dallying until the Fulani herdsmen finished killing and left before the military appeared to stop the villagers from reprisal attack.
Let South East governors co-opt Eastern Security Network, and Ebubeagu for proper security of the region. Let the Federal Government also remove the outlaw tag on IPoB and seek a way of working in harmony with them.