Anambra lawyer kidnapped & killed by unknown gunmen: what prevents Gov Soludo from declaring state of emergency on security?

The bedrock of the social contract between the government and the people is that whilst government should provide the people with security to their lives and property, the people in return pay taxes and donate certain rights to be exercised on their behalf by government. The people pay different taxes to government both directly and indirectly. In the unfolding regime where government encumbers the people with different types of taxes, multiple taxation becomes the in thing.

A contract is an agreement between two parties which is intended to have legal consequences. Not all contracts are business contracts which connote payment of damages by the defaulting party, some contracts connote fiduciary responsibilities. Some social contracts are binding on honors only as most of such contracts are not justiciable and hence unenforceable. The constitution is the Grund norm of the country and infers that the protection of lives and property of the citizens is the primary purpose of government.

This is adumbrated in the section that deals with the DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY and the maximization of the welfare of the citizens. When the people fulfill their own part of the social contract by dutifully paying their taxes , levies and letting the government enjoy the power of EMINENT DOMAIN over their lands but the government fails to fulfill its part pretending that it has no obligation to do so, such a government loses its moral authority to govern.

The biggest challenge facing Anambra state today is insecurity marked by the threat to lives and property by criminals who go by the names KIDNAPPERS AND UNKNOWN GUNMEN. The government of Nigeria has made a law that prohibits citizens from carrying guns and weapons with which to defend themselves, family and property when under attack with the understanding that it will provide the needed protection. Why then should the state government leave the citizens vulnerable at the mercy of these criminals.

Government knows where these criminals reside and where they operate from, what then stops it from confronting them and giving the people the needed protection? Criminals operate in Anambra state unhinged, kill citizens mindlessly, yet the state government looks on helplessly. This is exasperating! The state government appears disconnected from the reality and this is very unfortunate.

Only recently, the state government announced a plan to construct a ten story hotel to attract foreign investors as if the available hotels are not adequate. A state where life is cheap and where criminals kill inhabitants with reckless abandon can not raise its head high and say that it is inviting foreign investors or shout that it is meeting its constitutional responsibilities to the people. The painful thing is that these security challenges did not just happen on the state government. It was already existing before the election that brought the current state government to power. The governor was aware of them when he was campaigning to be elected.

He, in fact, promised to confront the challenges head on and bring succor to the people once elected and sworn in. Where are those promises now? People don’t ride good cars again in Anambra state today and social life is almost nonexistent out of the fear of these criminals. If you set your feet in Anambra state today, one constant but unsolicited advice you get every day is, MALU EBE INA EJE, OBODO ADIGHO NMA meaning MIND WHERE YOU ARE GOING, THIS PLACE IS DANGEROUS.

What kind of state government do we have in Anambra state which cannot guarantee security of lives and property of inhabitants of the state? Life has no duplicate and I had long expected the state government to declare a state of emergency on security of lives and property in the state and take all reasonable actions to protect the people. But rather than do that, the state government is fiddling with less important matters like who is honored with Chieftaincy titles by communities forgetting that such communities must have had their reasons for taking the actions they took.

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No week passes without kidnappers and unknown gunmen snuffing lives out of citizens. Life in Anambra state has become short and brutish in the manner of the Hobbesian state of nature. As stated above, a government which does not care about the lives of the citizens is nothing but an army of occupation. Sometimes I wonder how people in the state government feel unconcerned in the face of pervading melancholy in the land. Security of lives and property is the primary purpose of government and if government fails in that area then, it has lost its legitimacy.

The people who are slaughtered regularly are relations and relatives of human beings. They are people’s fathers, mothers, children, uncles, cousins, husbands, wives, aunts and benefactors. When they are slaughtered like that, the lives of their dependents, communities and numerous others who depend on them for their livelihood get disrupted, the scars are deep and survivors may never recover from such tragedy.

Mounting security surveillance to cover the whole of Anambra state may not be that difficult because of the relatively small landmass of the state. I therefore find it perplexing that the state government is treating this serious security concern with a kid glove as if it is very low in the pecking order of its priorities. Tourism has a great potential to make Anambra state tick in terms of its huge revenue-earning potentials but how can tourism develop in the state when everybody is afraid for their lives?

I am writing this because of recent developments in the state which require the urgent attention of well meaning indigenes like yours sincerely. Our people say that an elder does not stay at home and watch the pregnant goat deliver tied to the tether. Now, no week passes without news of one murder or kidnap by unknown gunmen or kidnappers respectively. One begins to wonder whether or not the powers that be in the state are unaware of these ugly developments.

Sometimes, I hear the usual condemnation of the dastardly acts and then it is business as usual as if such terrible things never took place. Why has the state government not declared a state of emergency on the ugly security situations in Anambra state? The losses of innocent lives which regularly go on in the state are serious enough to draw the attention of any well meaning government but I don’t get any sense of urgency in the government of the state.

The governor appears unperturbed and there is the general feeling among the people that they are left to their fate. I do not see or hear of efforts by the state government to address the security challenges. No efforts by the government to recalibrate the security architecture in the state to make it responsive to the urgent needs of the people. All I hear from the state government are tough talks and no actions. We can’t continue this way! It does appear that those tough talks are glib with no intention of carrying them out. That is very unfair to the people who trusted government with the solemn responsibility of protecting their lives and property.

The late Barrister Jude Oguejiofor was a vibrant young man full of dreams for his family, community, state and country but his young life was cut short by kidnappers and unknown gunmen and all the state government could offer was the usual condemnation of the dastardly act. Life goes on as he would soon became part of the statistics on the matter. Orsumuoghu town in Ihiala local government of Anambra state has become notorious for unexplained killings and kidnappings by the rampaging criminals in the state. But what has the government done about it in the past two years? The answer is nothing!

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The state government is behaving as if the matter does not concern it and as such unarmed citizens should be left to their own devices and be at the mercy of these marauders. Barrister Oguejiofor was based in Nnewi where he owned a successful law firm. He was also into partisan politics having contested for a Federal House of Representatives seat under the PDP in the last election. But he deserved the protection of the state government for his life and property because the resources being managed constitutionally by the state governor belong to every resident of Anambra state irrespective of political affiliation, leaning , even the apolitical and nonpartisans amongst the people.

Before the last murder, there were cases where illustrious sons and daughters of the state were ambushed with deaths recorded as if there was no government in place in the state. A gory incident was recorded where the murderers beheaded the victim and paraded the headless body around with brazen callousness. Yet the state government remained unmoved.

This is a state government which is doing everything to undermine the effective security initiatives of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah for Nnewi and the whole of the Anambra south senatorial district because the governor does not like the face of the senator and sees him rather as a disgusting political opponent. The people do not matter to the governor, what matters to him is his retention of the office of governor whether or not he builds any records to run on.

We must know that this state does not belong to any single individual or group of individuals, every contestant must show that he is deserving of the position before the electorates will vote for him. The time for confusing and bamboozling people with big grammar and highfalutin garbages is long gone.

It is the duty of the state to regulate the use of the instruments of violence even among state actors. Leaving such instruments unregulated in the hands of non-state actors does serious harm to the relationship between the people and the state. What is happening in Anambra state today is a breakdown of law and order. It rankles the mind when the state government against all expectations behaves as if nothing is amiss. I just heard that the father of the late Barrister Jude Oguejiofor slumped and later died when he heard the news that the abductors of his beloved son had killed him.

News had it that the late barrister had while alive petitioned the state government about the menace and threats to lives and property posed to the Orsumoghu community by the murderous criminals. The state government should have specially protected him from harm thereafter for being a good citizen and informant but it left him high and dry for pick by the same criminals he had petitioned the state government against. How did the criminals get to know that the late Barrister Jude Oguejiofor wrote a petition against them to the state government?

This should ring an alarm bell and partly explains why citizens are often reluctant to report violent crimes and criminals to governments and law enforcement agencies. A sympathizer had wondered why he did not go underground having petitioned the state government against the activities of the criminals in his town knowing how things are recklessly handled in government? The question to ask is; Is there an insider in government who snitches and reveals the identities of informants and petitioners to the criminals? There is a popular saying that THE ANT THAT EATS THE VEGETABLE LIVES IN THE VEGETABLE. It is time the state government came up with a convincing explanation about what happened to Barrister Jude Oguejiofor.

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The Nnewi-based lawyer was visiting his hometown, Orsumoghu in Ihiala local government area of Anambra state with his overseas- based brother to see their father when the criminals who notoriously lurk around the community kidnapped the two brothers. They later released his medical doctor- brother and snuffed life out of the lawyer which precipitated the death also of the old father. This is reprehensible to say the least. What is more surprising in whole episode is that this is a government which a few weeks ago was justifying why it would use taxpayers money to build a ten story hotel to attract foreign investors into the state.

Can any investor, whether domestic, local or foreign ever invest his money in a place where his life and those of his family members and staff are not safe? Security of lives and property is a desideratum if attracting investors is the goal. How can investors be attracted to a place where people are killed like chickens and the government looks unperturbed wishing that the news go away? What does the state governor do with the millions if not billions of Naira it collects monthly as security votes?

The money is given to him for a purpose, why is he not utilizing the money for the purpose it is meant? It is public fund and public accountability frowns at diverting security votes to other uses. The generally lackadaisical attitude of the state governor to the dire security situation in the state is nauseating to put it mildly. People have had to rely on public-spirited individuals like Senator Ifeanyi Ubah to tackle the security challenges for which the governor collects money every month.

Such a laizze faire approach to security management is unacceptable because security is a very serious matter. I watched a video where Senator Ifeanyi Ubah donated some security equipments to the Ukpor community in the Nnewi South local government area to assist them in fighting insecurity in the town. This is what the state governor should be doing but the incumbent does not appear to know his left from the right.

Like I always say, insecurity is a national problem but the state government has a lot to do in managing it because it is closer to the grassroots than the federal government. Lagos state by the facts of its population, velocity of the socioeconomic activities and its unique location has far more security challenges than Anambra state yet it effectively manages it own security challenges in contradistinction to the smaller Anambra state. All this governor does is speaking big grammars as if grammars will solve the mounting problems of the state.

I heard that the president had summoned all the thirty six state governors to Abuja to discuss the idea of state police as an antidote to the rising crimes in the country. This is a good initiative because all countries in Europe and America operate a decentralized police system. My fear is that the governors will convert the State Police into local Militias to fight and harass political opponents. We have already seen a sample of this in Anambra state where the governor would condescend and be fighting traditional rulers because they honored perceived political opponents with Chieftaincy titles.

The state governors should replicate the model of what obtains in Europe and America to avoid abuse. The relationship between the federal police and state police should be expressed defined to avoid superiority complex by the federal police. The state police must subordinate themselves to the civil authority of the state governors within the laws of the federation. The state police must obey all lawful instructions of the state governor but that does not absolve them of any liabilities and illegalities.

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