Discerning readers, who follow trends of commentaries and reportage of the unfortunate environment of insecurity across the nation are wont to discover that in recent weeks, the band of seeming attack dogs whose main passion is to harangue Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State whenever any skirmish, involving Fulani herdsmen occurred in his state have lost their fangs. Certainly, their assignments have diminished with calmness reigning in the state. However, it is baffling how the current growing state of criminality elsewhere in the country would not bother these columnists, who had, in the past months, gloated in ‘feeding’ on the flesh of the Enugu governor.
The state of anomie, which has taken many states by storm, is glaring. In the past weeks, for instance, especially over the past fortnight, grueling insecurity has bestridden the nation’s landscape at a scale that has become quite worrisome. Penultimate Wednesday, marauding secret cult members desecrated the sanctity of the capital city of Calabar in Cross River State when they slaughtered nine persons during a clash. The tragic incident only added to the growing long list of dastardly acts carried out by criminals, operating either as armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists or killer-herdsmen in the past months across the nation. In fact, in the foregoing odious situation, a few days ago, gunmen said to be numbering over 40, had invaded a police station in Ekiti State, killed a police inspector and carted away arms and ammunition from the armoury of the facility, which they blew up eventually.
In the same Ekiti State whose governor, Chief Ayo Fayose, has been celebrated by some commentators on national issues, as supposedly wielding a magic wand as an antidote to the menace of herdsmen, Sunday October 2, was another black day. On that ill-fated day, another very ugly episode in the growing avalanche of bizarre decimation of the lean population of the nation’s security personnel by various shades of armed banditry played out most unmannerly in Ikere area of the state. My heart burned when, during a Facebook scrolling, I stumbled on a post, a grotesque visage of gruesome murder of a compatriot, a lady officer of the Nigerian Police, identified simply as Iyabo. She was felled by the bullets of some gunmen, who attacked a police station she was serving in.
Also recently, some gunmen invaded a police station in Mbaitoli council area of Imo State and killed an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who had wound up his duties for the day. Then, on a Monday after that weekend, headlines in some national dailies announced a bloody raid of a police station in Benue State by unknown bandits, who murdered three police officers before breaking into the armoury there to cart away arms and ammunition.
In the past weeks, there have been reports of grisly situations of insecurity, especially in Rivers and Lagos states as well as in Oyo, Imo, Abia, Cross River and Kaduna, among other states with the level of cult clashes and deaths in some states assuming absurd dimensions.
Political leadership of some states are scurrying into a presumed salvage measure by floating amnesty programmes for hoodlums, who would denounce their membership of the killer groups. Yet, kidnapping across the country has stuck like a malignant sore point. The October 6 experience in Lagos State when kidnappers invaded a school and abducted a vice principal, a teacher and four students is one of such outrageous cases.
Another source of insecurity in the country is the incessant and widespread attacks on host communities by marauding Fulani herdsmen. The clashes have been prevalent, even perennial in the past few years in Benue and Kogi states.
Enugu State has also recorded some cases, the worst being last April attack on Nimbo community in the state. However, it has been clear that comments and reports on Enugu State have been delivered to the reading public with every undertone of mischief, even malice. In fact, there has been an absurd scenario in which various fifth columnists, ostensibly operating as political hirelings, have brazenly continued to cash in on the few cases of the Fulani herdsmen’s attacks in the coal city state to, deliberately and unjustifiably, malign the person of Governor Ugwuanyi. It has been an uttermost disgust reading this group of jaundiced commentators carrying on as if this infinitesimal level of attacks in Enugu looms larger than the glaring worse state of affairs in other states.
The big question to ask is, why are all manners of columnists and commentators interested in taking up whatever happens in Enugu and promptly deliver verdicts of guilt on the doorsteps of the authorities of the state but deliberately fail to make even a mere comment when criminality visits pogroms on other parts of the country? Simply put, they are either hirelings or goaded into this untoward passion by sheer “bad-belle” as Governor Ugwuanyi continues to deliver monumental good governance, as if there was no recession in the country.
Governor Ugwuanyi has, since the Nimbo attack, risen up to the action to ensure that lives and property are secured. He had met President Muhammadu Buhari to report the devastation caused by the herdsmen. He had also hinted about involving the law on neighbourhood watch. He has met with traditional rulers and stakeholders in Enugu communities, all in the effort to evolve a strategy to secure indigenes and residents of Enugu State. All these efforts are within the limit of the powers he has.
It must be noted that although governors are chief security officers (CSO) of their states, they are not directly in charge of the security agencies therein. The director of the Department of the State Security (DSS), police commissioner and other heads of security agencies in the state do not report to Ugwuanyi despite the fact that he is supposed to be the CSO. But this has not deterred him. He has been supportive of the DSS, police and other security agencies in the state. Therefore, Ugwuanyi needs commendation and not condemnation. He has taken the bull by the horn and fruit of his labours are manifest.
Those who are making the herdsmen issues, as they concern Enugu, a political issue should think twice, bearing in mind that the situation in Enugu is not different from other states in the country. Insecurity is a general problem in the country. Enugu is no exception. The critics should appreciate the efforts Ugwuanyi has made. They should appreciate the limitations, based on constitutional provisions. They should recognise efforts made. They should acknowledge accomplishments. They should know that everybody is involved in security matter: Those in government and the citizens. And it is when everybody, irrespective of political affiliation, creed and calling, play the expected role that we all will win together.