For some weeks now the people of the South East geopolitical zone have been rudely awakened to the reality that the peace they have been enjoying could be shattered by a possible well-coordinated attack on them by terrorist elements. Their fears have been heightened by the recent movement of youth of northern extraction suspected by the southerners to be part of the sinister plan, to the southern states, especially the south east. There have been concern everywhere, including the condemnation of the move by former special Adviser to former president Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, who insisted those involved in this movement are able-bodied youth and not almajiri, as believed by some.
Already an online news report has claimed that some 350 Igbo communities are currently under herdsmen occupation, of which many are in Imo State. Lending credence to this, armed herdsmen have recently been sighted in some Imo communities at night by vigilante men. In some of these communities, herdsmen are alleged to have constructed hamlets in the bush from where they take off. This is worrisome. Edge Express Newspaper wishes to remind the government of Imo State and indeed all state governments in the South East that they must do everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and property of Igbos in their own states. They must not play with such an issue of people leaving their own region to come and attack them. This is bad.
The South East governors must coordinate their own counter measures and not rely wholly on the regular security forces which have, on many instances, compromised, the most recent being their failure to stop the movement of people across the states during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
We urge the Nigerian president, Mohammadu Buhari to make a categorical statement against the massive, ominous influx of northern youth into the South East, especially this period of COVID-19 interstate lockdown.
The South East should return to the idea of forest guards operating in all the states, especially the rural communities, to flush out herdsmen said to be hiding in the forests. People should not be hiding in the bushes, but rather should live with their hosts. Hiding in the bushes means they have sinister plans. In Imo States, Edge Express Newspaper urges Governor Hope Uzodimma to go beyond words and be proactive in securing the lives and property of Imo people. This is the first responsibility of an administration and must come ahead of all other considerations. Other South East governments are hereby advised to do likewise.