IPOB’s ‘Sit at Home’ Garbage Must End
RingTrue By Yemi Adebowale
For five days, December 9 to 14, the South-east was again the scene of blood and tears, with terrorists loyal to Simon Ekpa’s faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) enforcing a pointless five-day sit-at-home decreed by the scoundrel. As usual, while the terrorists went about killing and maiming, security agents failed the people. Three persons, including a pregnant woman, were killed in Enugu State by the lunatics enforcing Ekpa’s order. The poor pregnant woman came for early morning market, in a bid to feed her family, but ended up in the grave.
A video of the two other Enugu State victims lying lifeless, in a pool of blood, in front of the Enugu University Teaching Hospital, left me thoroughly dejected. Policemen in Enugu State blatantly left many disappointed. In the case of the attack on New Market, the terrorists (10 of them) entered the place to shut it and kill traders that refused to obey the “stay at home” order. One would think that policemen patrolling the market area, with instruction to reassure the traders of their safety, would confront the terrorists. Sadly, they fled. No reinforcement came and the terrorists confidently set ablaze the police patrol vehicle at the scene. How will law-abiding citizens resist Ekpa’s evil/illegitimate order and go about their lawful businesses when the police can’t guarantee their safety? This is so disheartening.
In Ebonyi State, the terrorists set ablaze a vehicle and some motorcycles at Nwakpu Market in Ndufu Alike, Ikwo LG. The driver of the vehicle set ablaze was shot as he attempted to put out the fire. This market is just a few metres away from the state’s deputy governor’s house and Alex Ekwueme Federal University, yet, the extremists operated freely.
The IPOB terrorists operating in Mbaitoli near Owerri, Imo State, killed Prince Iheme, the elder brother of Nollywood actor, Osita Iheme, aka Pawpaw, on the first day of the “sit at home.” The victim was shot dead while riding in the same vehicle with the state’s Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Martins Eke. Eke received machete cuts from the attackers. A policeman was also shot dead at 7up Junction, in Orji while four people were killed along Owerri-Okigwe Road on that same December 9.
The same Ekpa’s terrorists attacked the Imo State headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Owerri last Monday. This office, a high security zone, was attacked with so much ease. Buildings and vehicles in the compound were set ablaze. This is shocking and can only happen in Nigeria. Somebody should be penalised for this carelessness. Surprisingly, nothing along this line has happened days after the attack. That was why the Imo State Police Command boldly went about telling Nigerians cock and bull stories after shamelessly failing to defend the INEC office.
As long as the police can’t protect citizens, this boloney called “sit at home” will persist. Most people stay indoors for fear of attack. Commercial and economic activities were grounded by Ekpa’s terrorists because of the failings of the police and other security agencies. Economies of South-east states have been crippled by this unending twaddle. Every Monday “sit at home” by Nnamdi Kanu’s faction of the IPOB is still alive. Many are living like refugees and always in fear as terrorists unleash mayhem on the whole region.
This nonsense must stop. Bloodshed and destruction must end in this region. The South-east governors should strappingly lead the resistance against “sit at home,” by Ekpa and Nnamdi Kanu. They must ensure that commercial activities take place on “sit at home” days by mobilising security for the people. Governors should fix some state functions for “sit at home” days and turn their Ebubeagu guns on terrorists who come out to resist it. I challenge them to go after the terrorists in their hideouts with Ebubeagu. These governors should also mobilise federal security agencies with their security votes, to tame the guerrillas.
The Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, was apt when it recently called on South-east governors to take steps to end the “sit-at-home” order forced on residents by terrorists. The organisation agrees that the menace is crippling the economy and destroying lives. Its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Chiedozie Ogbonnia wants the governors to end the activities of terrorists.
Ogbonnia said: “This is the first time I am seeing freedom fighters or whatever, facing the barrel of the gun inwards, crippling the economy and destroying people. What is going on is very strange. Some of them think that by chanting, ‘Biafra Biafra,’ they will become Ojukwu. Unfortunately, they don’t know how we got here. I don’t understand how somebody can wake up from his house and begin to chant Biafra. It is nonsense.
“Anyone who wants Biafra should let us discuss, to know whether we are embarking on it or not. This Biafra has created problems for us in the South-east. It is crippling our economy, creating militancy and also unnecessary restiveness among the youth. It’s painful that somebody can wake up to begin to broadcast a sit-at-home order. We condemn it vehemently and we ask that people should go about their businesses. The government of the South-east should rise to the occasion and ensure that citizens and businesses are protected.”
The evil called Simon Ekpa is living in Finland in peace and inflicting pain on his people at home. Kudos to Nigerians all over the world for signing a petition appealing to the Finnish government, Nigerian government and the European Union to arrest Ekpa, the devil behind bloodbath in the South-east. Signatories are now in thousands.
The petition reads, “One Simon Ekpa (also known as Ifeanyi Njoku), a Nigerian living in Finland and holding Finnish citizenship, has by proxies, successfully established and coordinated an armed rebel group in Eastern Nigeria whom he now wields to destroy lives, property, and businesses in Eastern Nigeria.
“Simon is a separatist fighting for state secession but has never been brave enough to come home and lead the war from the front in Nigeria. He is rather igniting and fueling terror on his ethnic group who decline his call for secession. Simon’s action is stirring up bloodbath – a genocide in the region, and innocent women, children, the aged and youths are the victims dying daily.”
I’m encouraging more Nigerians to sign this petition to prick the conscience of the government of Finland. As for the Nigerian government, it must intensify diplomatic efforts to repatriate the wicked Ekpa. He must be brought home to account for his crime against humanity.
NJC Must Be Swift in Tackling Rascal Judges
News 16 days back that the National Judicial Council (NJC) had set up probe panels to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against 15 judges of federal and state high courts, was good music to my ears. This followed NJC’s Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committees report, which considered 66 petitions from all over the country. The probe panels are to determine the culpability of the judges in the various petitions filed against them by individuals and corporate bodies.
The large number of petitions against judges should not come as a surprise to many. The shenanigans in Nigerian courts pour. Honestly, I was stunned that the NJC forwarded just 15 of the 66 petitions to its probe panels. Besides, the process is so long. This current probe may not end this year. Cases of judges, particularly High Court judges, abusing their offices is rampant across the country. They do it with so much impunity. In order to restore credibility to Nigerian courts, the NJC must act swiftly, sturdily and decisively against recalcitrant judges.
Investigation of petitions should not take months. Besides, the NJC must devise a way of tracking wayward judges, without necessarily waiting for petitions. For example, the NJC should not wait for petitions before sanctioning judges disrespecting the principle of judicial precedent. This technical term also known as “stare decisis” (Latin) means “let the decision stand.” The code upholds that cases with similar facts should be decided alike. In other words, decisions of superior courts should be followed by lower courts in circumstances where the facts of a case decided by a superior court is similar to the facts of the case before a lower court.
Put simply, lower courts must stand by earlier decisions of higher courts and not disturb established matters. This is frequently not the case in Nigeria. I often cringe when some judges dish out judgements against the principle of judicial precedent. A good example here is the case of Tonye Cole, the Rivers State All Progressives Congress’s governorship candidate, who was disqualified by Justice Emmanuel Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt for two reasons, as demanded by the PDP, one of which was that Cole holds dual citizenship (Nigeria and the United Kingdom), “which disqualifies him from vying for any elective office in Nigeria.”
It was a clear case of rascality by Justice Obile. For me, it does not require any petition before the NJC moves in, in an obvious rascality like this. Obile failed to respect judicial precedent. In 2004, a similar case between Dr. Willie Ogebide and Mr. Arigbe Osula moved from a High Court to the Court of Appeal, where the panel of justices led by the then Justice Walter Onnoghen (who retired as CJN) held that a citizen of Nigeria by birth is not banned in law from seeking elective offices in Nigeria even when such person has willingly acquired the citizenship of another country as done by Cole in the Rivers State case.
Justice Onnoghen’s judgment, which remains the judicial precedent (locus classicus) on any similar matter held: “It is clear and I, hereby, hold that the acquisition of dual citizenship by a Nigerian per se is not a ground for disqualification for election to the National Assembly, particularly where the Nigerian citizen is a citizen by birth. That is the clear meaning of the provisions in sections 66(1) and 28 of the 1999 constitution when taken together.
“The only Nigerian citizen disqualified by the said sections is one who is a citizen of Nigeria by either registration or naturalisation, who subsequently acquires the citizenship of another country in addition to his Nigerian citizenship…When a Nigerian by Naturalisation or Registration acquires the citizenship of another country, he loses his right as a naturalised Nigeria. Such a person would not be able to contest any election into any elective office in Nigeria.”
So, there should not be illogicalities in cases bearing similar facts and involving clarification of the same constitutional provisions relating to double citizenship. Justice Obile acted contrary to this. Section 28 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution on dual citizenship in relation to disqualification for election is very clear.
Justice Obile in the Tonye Cole’s case can’t claim to be unaware of the earlier decision by a higher court. The case law is clear on the matter. The interpretation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution relating to dual citizenship as it affects eligibility for election has been resolved by the Court of Appeal. There ought not to be any problem with the interpretation of these constitutional provisions.
The NJC must act decisively against judges disregarding the principle of judicial precedent. It must not wait for petitions before acting authoritatively and sending the right signals to judges across the country. This is the only way forward for Nigeria’s Judiciary.