Rights group warns against bloodbath in Anambra •Says nothing must happen to Obiano, Obi, Ngige, Umeh, others
Posted by News Express | 24 November 2016 | 2,233 times
Ahead the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, a civil rights group, Intersociety, has raised the alarm over threats of bloodshed by opposing political groups, stressing that nothing must happen to any prominent citizen of the state on account of political rivalry.
The group said it was shocked and alarmed by recent threats issued by some aides of the Government of Anambra State to return the state to tears and bloodletting on account of reported unhealthy verbal exchanges between the camps of the incumbent Governor of the state, Mr. Willie Obiano, and his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi.
It expressed concern that a threat of such magnitude to a former Governor of Anambra State, who is not a common criminal, and one who achieved so much for the state and its people when he held sway as Anambra Governor; is considered a collective threat to the entire people of Anambra State.
“We also reason that if such a threat can be directed at a former Governor, what becomes the fate and safety of other political actors particularly, those who may most likely have indicated interest in contesting for public offices in Anambra State particularly the office of the Anambra Governor?”
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Onitsha by Intersociety, signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman; Obianuju Igboeli; Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme; and Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Programme the group also said it has advised elected political office holders “to always draw a difference between thinking and peopling governance; and parasitising and funning governance. It is a truism that governance clock ticks as fast as clock seconds. It is therefore extremely important to make hay while the sun shines. That is to say that elected public office holders have no time to waste because input legitimacy is compulsorily and always tied to output legitimacy.
“It is on account of the above, therefore, that we strongly advise the Obiano administration to eschew any form of violence and allow the people of the state to decide whether or not to vote for him for another four years. The Governor is called upon to call his aides to order and direct them to desist from making further inflammatory statements capable of returning the State to the theatres of tears and bloodletting. The Governor should squarely face the governance of the state and adequately attend to the deplorable state of roads. Let Bulldozers and Road Graders be rapidly and forcefully returned to Anambra Roads!
“We also call on other core stakeholders in Anambra State politics to discountenance the referenced threats of bloodshed by some overzealous aides of the Government of Anambra State and avoid embarking on reprisal vigilantism and militancy ahead of the 2017 governorship election in the State. Those interested in governing the State should strictly engage in issue-based politicking in strategic and analytical manners and desist from resorting to or advocating for violence.
“It is our strong warning that nothing must happen to highly placed citizens of the State; whether it is Dr. Chris Ngige, Mr. Peter Obi, Chief Victor Umeh, Barr Val Obienyem, Chief Oseloka Obaze, or Mr. Willie Obiano and his appointed aides, etc. As a matter of fact, it is incumbent upon the present Government of Anambra State to ensure their safety and happiness whenever they are in the state. Any of these citizens as well as other citizens of the State has a constitutional right to freedom of movement and right to life, personal liberty, and dignity of human person, residency, association and expression.”
The group chronicled a dark period of violence in Anambra Politics thus: "In the period up to March 2006, particularly in the disastrous era of Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju (June 1999 to June 2003), Anambra State was hellish and experienced bloodletting of alarming proportions. Tears and bloodletting pervaded and enveloped the State’s political landscape; leading to opposition voices and other innocent citizens in their tens of hundreds hunted and slaughtered by the State killer-squads with the full backing of the then Government of Anambra State headed by Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju.
"The likes of Barristers Barnabas Igwe and his wife, Ezeodimegwu Okonkwo, Edward Okeke, Rockefeller Okeke, Ikechukwu Nwagboo and scores of others were brazenly slain, while others like Hon Ifeanyi Ibegbu of then Anambra State House of Assembly got miraculously saved; but not without being murderously tortured and lacerated using a State killer squad called “Bakassi Boys” or Anambra State Vigilante Service.
"Late Barristers Barnabas and Amaka Igwe and their suspected unborn child were waylaid and slaughtered along Oraifite Street, Awada in the evening of 1st September, 2002 by then Government detailed operatives of the Anambra State Vigilante Service (a.k.a. Bakassi Boys). Our several calls on former Government of Peter Obi (17th Match 2006 to 17th March 2014) to immortalise the Igwes and others who shed their precious blood for the triumph of true democracy and betterment of the people of the state; including naming Oraifite Street in Awada after the slain couple went unheeded.
“Also to the disastrous credit of Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju’s administration, over 3,500 citizens and residents of the state were slaughtered, under the guise of ‘crime fighting’; using Anambra State Vigilante Service; disastrously noted for its ‘trial-by-ordeal’ and political influence and interference methods. Earlier on, (September 1999 to July 2000), under the watch of the same Mbadinuju administration, hundreds of citizens were also slaughtered using Onitsha and Nnewi Traders Vigilante Groups, better known as OTA. Shockingly, some of those who played a part in the butcheries are still very much around and have sneaked into the present administration of Mr. Willie Obiano either as ‘Waste Management Consultants’, ‘Security Consultants’ or ‘Vigilante Group Heads’.
“Though Mbadinuju paid dearly politically by losing his second term bid, but his sponsors and violent political partners still went ahead and installed another stooge, in the person of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige. It was Dr. Ngige’s attempts to assert his gubernatorial independence and control that led to his attempted kidnap by a group of renegades loyal to one Mr. Christian Ubah; leading to burning of key state infrastructures including Government House, the state Judicial Headquarters and the Anambra State Broadcasting Service in 2004.
“Political violence, as a result, eclipsed the era of Chris Ngige, leading to ‘NARTO violence’ and unprecedented market leaderships’ crises; resulting in deaths and property destructions. Anambra State was restored to political stability following the judicial victory by Mr. Peter Obi and his party (APGA) on 15th of March 2006 (became Governor on 17th of March 2006). The ‘NARTO War’ of 2006 in which the MASSOB renegades or fake MASSOB operatives teamed up with ‘NARTO’ to ground the state by way of kidnapping for ransom, jungle justice, forceful takeover of motor parks and markets, extortion, sexual abuse, torture, debt collection, involvement in land disputes and killings; was the last battle fought to regain the image and integrity of the state.
“Since then till date, Anambra State has never experienced political chaos, tears and bloodletting; except the police-perpetrated Ezu River saga of January 2013; solely coordinated by CSP James Nwafor led Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command in which over 30 able bodied youths were slaughtered under the guise of violent criminals and dumped in the Ezu River. Among them were nine members of MASSOB. The Ezu River butchery is not directly related to Anambra Politicking. The second butchery, which is also not related to Anambra Politics; is the massacre of not less than 120 unarmed and innocent citizens at Nkpor and its environs by the soldiers, navy and police personnel on 30th of May 2016 during the annual anniversary marking the World Igbo/Biafra Heroes Day. Most of their bodies were later recovered and given secret burial inside the Onitsha Military Cantonment on 1st June 2016.”