Sunday, August 6, 2017, will remain a black day for the people of Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, Anambra State and Nigeria in general as a gunman opened fire on innocent worshippers, killing at least 8 people on the spot. Since the sad incident occurred, there have been many stories regarding its cause.
The most trending side of the stories is the one made by Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano, when he visited the scene of the terror at St. Philip Catholic Church Amakwa Ozubulu. According to the governor, the incident was sparked by a feud between indigenes of the community living abroad, and since the governor made the statement, pictures of the alleged drug dealer have been in circulation online and one of the billboards even pictured the governor with the alleged drug dealer. Consequently, Nigerians condemned the man popularly known as “Ebubechukwu Ụzọ Ozubulu" and are already addressing him as a sponsor of terror. While I equally condemn acts of terrorism, their sponsors and dealers of hard drugs, I think we should be cautious in making conclusions. It is also sad that some people still don’t believe that an attack that sent innocent worshippers to their early grave is not terrorism. If such is not terrifying to you, then you must be lacking a conscience.
In advanced countries like the United States and United Kingdom, the first steps the police take anytime a terrorist attack occurs is to search for the perpetrators, investigate the cause and provide measures that will prevent such reoccurring in future. But here in Nigeria, instead of calling for a proper investigation and search of the perpetrators, the state governor, who is equally the Chief Security Officer of the state, quickly blamed the sad incident on an alleged feud between indigenes of the community living abroad.
How does the governor arrived at such a conclusion? His statement is too unprofessional and is enough to distract from a thorough investigation of the act. Recall that former President Jonathan quickly disassociated the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) from the Independence Day Bombing in Abuja without any proof and that caused the end of thorough investigation over the matter till date.
Moreover, it is unfortunate that we always fail to learn from history. Boko Haram became too powerful because our security agencies didn’t carry out a proper investigation of their early attacks but were always eager to rush to press and make ‘encouraging’ statements mostly targeted on giving false impression that they were on top of the situation. Also, Boko Haram flourished because the indigenes of the communities attacked by them usually defended them at the early stage and now, some of our brothers and sisters in the southeast are doing same by saying that the terrorist is NEVER an Igbo man, even when witnesses said he spoke in an undiluted Igbo to show that he was from the community. Nigerians should always know that anybody, including our brother, sister, father, mother, husband or even wife can be a terrorist, and instead of allowing sentiments to deceive us, we should always be security conscious and encourage thorough investigation of any attack instead of blaming it on other tribes.
The careless statement of the Anambra State governor is condemnable, and with the pictures of him and same person alleged to be a drug lord under circulation, the sincerity of his government to provide and sustain lasting security in the state is now questionable. The governor should, as a matter of urgency, withdraw his earlier statement and order a full investigation of the attack that sent tens of his brothers and sisters who came to worship God to their early graves.
Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu writes from Onitsha, Anambra State.