NIGERIA: Imo and increasing terror threats

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BOKO Haram came to lime light in 2007, just as ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo was planning to hand over power. What he did not know was that his colleagues from the North had a different agenda to take power permanently, and Boko Haram was part of their bargain.

When he handed over to a Northerner, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as President, his Northern colleagues must have thought to themselves that it was better to allow the late President conclude his amnesty programme with the Niger Delta militants and then follow up with amnesty for the Haramites. Boko Haram was an instrument in their strategy to either wrest power from any non-Northern President or get even with the South. But our leaders from the South did not seem to appreciate the level of determination by their Northern counterparts to take over power.

When, unfortunately,President Yar’Adua died, the North quickly reverted to the plan to use Boko Haram for power negotiation, and as President Goodluck Jonathan,GEJ, a South Southerner who most of them in error thought was an Igbo man, became President, and suggested he was willing to serve out his constitutional eight years term, the North became visibly shaken in anger.

They politicised, tribalised, sectionalised and brought religion into every consideration and reasoning. Our leaders, and even a section of the press, continued to allow politics to be mixed with religion, tribalism and selfishness till the Chibok girls’ incident in April.

Even then, many failed to see the real cry and message from a concerned mother; and while they made senseless jokes out of the national calamity with “ Na only you waka come? and there is Godooh”, the international community ran down to help us. Many Nigerians continue to cry for a different zonal approach to check the spread of terror from the North to the South, but our opposition politicians sing different tunes.

GEJ only last week announced, for the umpteenth time, that there are forces committed to use terror to undermine the country’s corporate existence.

What better ways can such forces work if not by causing bombs to explode in key locations in the South? They are targeting churches. And that is my concern because first they are Muslims, second they hate Christians and third, they started with killing Christians in the North at their onset in 2009.

They want to use the same method this time, and they have their agents in high society, offices, military, politics, to distract Nigerians and our leaders who are falling over their heads in swallowing their lies.

Prophet T B Joshua was the first to expose a Haramite who confessed to planning to destroy the Synagogue Church of All Nations early this year. Then the Lords Chosen Church, both in Lagos. But now they want to export terrorism to the South East.

In February this year, these agents chose Imo to attack the convoy of the Senate President who was attending a funeral in Nkwere. We heard nothing about who did it; people played politics with it. Governor Nyako said it was GEJ and Igbo people hating Northerners, etc. Just last week, Governor Shettima warned that Boko Haram will spread to the South of Nigeria, and in less than seven days of his prophecy, bombs were found inside the Winners Church in Owerri.

Who wants to make Imo a centre of insecurity in the South East and why? It is also baffling why Jihadists usually kill ‘unbelievers’ who showed them kindness. People confirm that during riots in the North, it was those who knew them well enough to trust, that got hit first.

Can we say then that Governor Rochas Okorocha, having grown up and lived most of his life in the North, has attracted terror through his kindness to his own friends? If the truth be told, Governor Okorocha has done more to help Imo-Muslim relationship than any past Governor of Imo State, and I wonder if he must be rewarded with violence and insecurity?

Imo is a purely Christian state. A drive around on a Sunday will confirm this. Could that be why they have singled us out?

All the North Eastern states are APC-dominated. Again Okorocha is the only APC governor in the South East. Yet he now avoids matters of the South East, all in the name of APC. He did not attend their last two meetings and did not join in their solidarity visit to GEJ this week, although the bomb in Owerri was one of their cardinal reasons for that visit. Since Governor Chibuike Amaechi joined the APC, Rivers has really known no peace: from oil wells matters to the Judiciary. Governor Okorocha must not let his romance with APC affect his role in Igbo matters because he is our governor. We have PDP, ANPP, Labour and the rest who look up to him as their Governor.

Imo must review and re-plan her security strategy hence forth, for there is danger! Security agencies should have functional anti- bomb and explosive detection equipment installed at all border roads to monitor movements of goods and persons from all sources. Vigilantes should be documented, trained and empowered to handle all gun- carrying herdsmen, while the people must be well educated about terrorists and their modes of operation.

Papa David Oyedepo of Winners should bear in mind that the army and police may have saboteurs; the church should ensure that an eagle- eyed born again Christian is in-charge of the investigation of the bomb found in one of its branches in Owerri. Tangible evidence might be destroyed and witnesses scared away if the matter is left to the whims and caprices of the law enforcement agencies alone. CAN and PFN should rally round Winners to use the information from the arrested men in Owerri to help the nation and the believing church of God.


CLEMENT UDEGBE, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.

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