The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) hereby condemn the invasion and demolition of Ekeukwu Owerre Market by the Imo State Government, despite a subsisting order of court restraining the Governor and his agents from demolishing the said market. This act of executive lawlessness should out rightly be condemned by all who believe in democracy and rule of law. It is disheartening to note that the Imo State Government is now reputed as having no respect for orders of court.
The CLO condemn the use of soldiers by the Imo State Government in effecting the demolition exercise. This is unwarranted and illegal. There is no basis for the use of soldiers. By the constitution, our soldiers are meant to protect the country from external aggression. They are not for internal security duties except in clear and special circumstances. The demolition of Ekeukwu Owerre does not require the presence of soldiers. There is no gainsaying that the Police Force and the Civil Defence Corp are both well equipped to provide security during the demolition exercise. It is therefore necessary that the use of soldiers in the demolition exercise be investigated by the military authority.
The demolition of Ekeukwu market is a brazen act of impunity by the Imo State Government and a clear showcase of utter disdain to the wishes of the people who rejected the planned demolition and had called for restraint on the part of the Government. The Ekeukwu Owerre market is not just a thriving economic centre but also part of the remaining cultural heritage of the Owerri people. So, the issue touches on the cultural right of the Owerri people.
It is obvious that the destruction of the market will badly affect the economy of Imo State. It will increase the population of the unemployed in the State which will impact on the poverty situation in the State. More families will start missing food on their tables. The obvious consequences of the demolition include likely increase in socio-economic crimes in the city and its environ as many people who, daily, depended on the market for their livelihoods have now been displaced without any functional or visible alternative to move into and continue their lawful businesses.
From reports, the demolition exercise did not only witness destruction of properties worth Hundreds of Million of Naira but also loss of lives. This has led to increased insecurity in the city with its attendant militarization. It is important that those responsible for the killings of the three innocent citizens are fished out and brought to law. The families of those killed should be adequately compensated by the Imo State Government too.
In view of the large scale opposition to the destruction of the market, the CLO hereby call on the Imo State Government to halt further demolition and develop a strategy of engaging a cross strata of the stakeholders on the subject matter for healing and finding sustainable and peaceful pathway to the issue.
The CLO equally urge the public not to do anything that will escalate the situation or change the narrative.
Uche Wisdom Durueke Esq.
Strike action by workers is a potent weapon. This is historically validated. However, in Nigeria, it seems that it is not so potent in the public sector. This is because the striking unions and the Government seem to have a ‘magical’ way of coming to a truce when there is a strike . Naturally, you do not expect ‘magical action’ to last. It is just a mirage. When there is a strike, agreements are usually reached between government and the unions, but are hardly implemented by the government. One continues to wonder why striking unions call off their stiles without the Government, first, demonstrating sufficient part performance of the terms in view of the experience of the past.
The incessant strikes in the country validates the point that leaders of this country – past and present – have never had regard for faithfulness. This country makes a lot of money but our public educational and medical centres are underfunded. Even the little given to them, more than half are misappropriated and/or stolen by persons appointed by the same leaders and nothing happens. It is irritating that majority of our people are blind to these acts of evil. Some who have opposed the evil, now try hard to defend the evils because they want power. Please, read the reasons for ASUU’s imminent nation wide strike, you will find them not selfish. I am not a lecturer. One is shocked that the Government is applying ‘deaf and dumb’ strategy on the issues. This is not the way to go.
Our leaders keep on underdeveloping the country by their careless and arrogant styles of leadership. They are not engaging ASUU to forestall the strike. Watch out tomorrow, the strike will be described as politically motivated. They will start playing the sentiment card. Why won’t the Government honourably set in motion the implementation of the core terms of the agreement and/or start negotiating those aspects of it that require new inputs? The Acting President was a lecturer. Has he forgotten? Just like Jonathan. Hahahahahahaha! Naija dey make person laf well well ooooooo! Isorite!
The insecurity in the country is increasing because we have security agencies that are not contemporary in securing the country: in thinking and in acting. There is little or no creative or proactive approach to our internal security issues and challenges. They still undertake or approach internal security matters the same old ways. Corruption has, also, aided the decay and near collapse immensely. The first duty of every government under our constitution is the protection of lives and properties. So, there is an urgent wake up call, if the situation will start changing in the country.
Presently, there is high circulation or movement of light weapons in the country. You ask what is our Police, DSS and Custom Services doing to abate this deadly situation? I am not aware of any major initiative to frontally reduce the dangerous level of illicit arms in the country. As long there is dangerous level of illicit arms in the country, how can we talk of improving or fixing the situation? Fixing an internal security where bandits are so well armed like military troops? If we are serious, we should put the search light on our security agencies to know in practical and realistic terms why they are not optimally performing.
The country needs preventive policing to improve our mutual security and not the present reactive policing. Proactive policing will be difficult, if our Police is not restructured and our policing strategy overhauled. I am still reflecting at the Preliminary Investigation Report of the Police as to the cause of the massacre. The puzzles to me are: Did the Police know? They might not. However, one thing is sure, they knew that there was a violent conflict brewing in the area between the parties they are pointing to. So, what did the Police do because a serious crime was involved?
The incident ugly should not be politicised or skewed for any parochial or primordial goal or reason . The security agencies should be top of their job. We need thorough and nationalistic zeal in them trying to unravel what actually happened and the perpetrators as several theses and stories already in the public domain. We need peace and security in the country. Insecurity has no ethnicity or gender.
Not long ago peaceful protesters were killed by the security apparati. We cried. Painfully, our tears meant little or nothing. Our tears were not enough to open our society and bring a change. Peaceful protest is a democratic right across the globe. But in our country, peaceful protest is treated as an act of embarrassment to the Federal Government. Now it is protest and be tear-gassed and beaten. I ask myself: Where is our democracy now? The brutality on Charlie Boy Opera and others who protested at Abuja today is another omen of our recession in democracy and democratic rights. I worry and ponder: Are we about to strangely walk into an era of ‘gun point democracy’ as change?
I have the press release by INEC signed by Prof. Okey Ibeanu reacting to the insinuations as to why INEC obeyed the Court order that status quo be maintained and the step it has taken.
I must state that obedience to court order is an act of civility that should be encouraged. Obedience to court orders is one of the hallmarks of democracy while disobedience to court orders is act of rascality and threatens democracy. So, INEC should not be demonized for obeying the said order. There is no doubt, in my mind, that It acted rightly. It cannot pick and choose which court order to obey and the one order to disobey.
INEC stated that it has caused a petition to the CJN against the Judge. I strongly maintain that the petition is uncalled for. What is the purpose? INEC should have immediately filed a Motion on Notice seeking for an accelerated hearing of the matter stating the reason of constitutional imperativeness which will cause the Court to vacate the September date and give a close date. Lest I forget, I read that INEC has filed the needed application. So, what is the utility of the petition?
We should remind ourselves that it is not every mistake or slip by a Judge in a matter that is borne out of corruption and politicitization of a case and therefore calls for or requires a petition to the CJN. A Judge is a human being and can err. In this case, what if the Judge has adjourned the case to the date because of the vacation of the Court. Also, he might have interpreted the provision of the constitution in his mind differently from INEC and felt that the adjourned date is safe. That he erred is not such that should warrant an imputation. For me that is what INEC’s letter to the CJN has done. If not, what is it?
It is tantamount to subtle harassment of the judiciary not to give Judges benefit of doubt in certain cases, instead petitions are caused because slip or mistake in matters like this. The truth is that there are rules of Court that address many of the situations that are made subjects of petitions to the CJN. This new trend of petitioning is becoming inimical to the powers and independence of the judiciary. It will likely cow the judiciary, if care is not taken.
Good morning all. You may not share my view, politely state your position. Do not insult anyone that expresses a view that is contrary to yours.
Repeatedly, I have stated that pretence is hurting the country. Many of us pretend as if they are not seeing or feeling the pressure being piled on our coexistence and integration. We should be interested in strengthening the country and not in strengthening any ethnic or religious section. It means that those in power must lead the way in words and actions. I believe that every section of the country has the good, the bad and the ugly. No section or group loves the country more than the others. No section has more saints than the others. We are all together in the project of building Nigeria.
There is no debate that our Constitution is not perfect. In its imperfection, it has certain provisions meant to address our peculiarities. One of the provisions is the federal character provision. It is most criticised provision of the Constitution. Critically examined, it has its own strength and benefit.
For us to inculcate the spirit of oneness that provision is needed. There is need to implement it. It is like the footstool for national coexistence and integration. Ironically, many of us argue against it when it conflicts with our parochial or selfish interests and ambitions and turn round to anchor on it when it is being used against us. This is the irony of our country.
By our realities, there are no justifications to overlook or play down on the provision. Our leaders should be interested in inspiring nation building than patching sectional ambitions. As a country, we should sincerely be more concerned and worried about the future. For now is already with us, we may manipulate or manoeuvre it but the future is uncertain and so fluid. So, we should strenuously strive to shun parochial and selfish interests and build the country.
Our leaders should endeavour not to feed or energize future advocates of secession by their discriminatory actions and policies. The feeling in certain sections that they are always treated or are being treated like second class citizens ought to be killed by pursuing accountable and humane policies and actions: ensuring equal security for all, treating all equally before the law, providing urgent basic needs of each section, etc.
I reiterate that in a multi ethnic and religious country like ours, the observance of the constitutional provision on federal character is peace building, nation building and hope giving.