When terror visited Owo – The Sun Nigeria

The The old but quiet town of Owo doesn’t often make the headlines. It is a prosperous yet peaceful city located in the southwestern part of Nigeria. Except for occasional features in politics and the boasting of illustrious sons like Chief Adekunle Ajasin, a nationalist and first civilian governor of Ondo State, Oba Olateru Olagbegi, a most prominent Yoruba Oba known to have spawned more of a hundred prosperous and illustrious children and who contributed immensely to the struggle for independence in Nigeria, and Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, the current Governor of Ondo State and many others, the Owo town is not a usual haven for sad stories.

This account changed on June 5, 2022. It was a Sunday and the early hours did not provide for bloodshed and gnashing of teeth as residents and visitors to the city chose their usual way of life to rest and to perform their religious activities in churches and others. houses dedicated to God. The usual serenity, flamboyant dressing at church, and the silent movement of humans in various vehicles and on foot, depending on the status of the personality involved, at church promised only another day of early morning worship. followed by the usual amusement and drinking activities in pubs and other places of enjoyment. It was at the height of religious activities that gloom descended on the town of Owo. St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo was the choice. Merchants of death and unfortunate sons of Satan attacked. With grenades and bullets, no less than 50 people were killed and injured. The heartless assailants did not spare the children in this deadly misadventure. It was a well-planned and carefully executed macabre act.

A promising day was unleashed in wailing and sorrowful wailing. Families counted multiple casualties for a single attack. Orphans were created. Widows and widowers have increased. Parents count their losses on the cold hands of death they never foresaw. The killers were dressed as terrorists as they did not take any hostages or ransom and did not take any loot. Their message was clear. It was a multiple death message to people they never knew. It was a bloody message to people who never offended them. It’s another dastardly move to test the Southwest’s resolve to defend regional security and state policing. This is a challenge to the effectiveness of Amotekun, the South West regional security architecture put in place to nip crime in the bud and ensure the safety of people and property.

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Consistent reports have over time indicated that the forests of Yorubaland are already occupied by terrorists who believe that all land belongs to them and must be taken over as soon as possible. A rather disturbing aspect is the fact that June 5 is the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the town of Igangan, a quiet, agrarian town in Oyo State that had never been heard by multitudes until to this unfortunate incident which killed and maimed many people. People purportedly identified as Fulani herdsmen entered the city and threw many into the cold embrace of grief and pain. So far, the small town has not recovered. There are questions to ask. Could this be a calculated message of confirmation that the South West is under siege as many analysts claim? Now is not the time to congratulate ourselves on being politically correct or sounding nationalistic in order to curry favor with those who believe this is Nigeria at all costs.

It is a moment of critical examination of the events threatening our individual and collective existence as humans. It’s a time to look within and pay attention to what we tolerate. While we deplore all crimes and call for an end to what is happening in the northern part of the country where terrorism has become a permanent feature, certainly the other parts of the country were safer until recently. A few weeks ago, a 36-year-old sound engineer, David Imoh, was killed in Lekki, Lagos State by people believed to be okada riders and of a particular ethnicity. This led to the banning of okada runners as carriers in most of Lagos State. The influx of large numbers of such people into Lagos is worrying.

Whether they are Nigerians is definitely worth considering as many of them do not understand any Nigerian language, speak sparse pidgin English and communicate more in French. This only confirms that they are not Nigerians. The system has become more permissive as all kinds of miscreants enter Nigeria, especially from the northern parts of the country, where as many as 108 trails are confirmed to enter Nigeria without any border or immigration police. . Recent assertions by some northern governors that the Fulani have no borders and are free to roam the land have not been helpful. The devastation and senseless attacks we witness against the locals whenever cows are involved have not been justified by any civilized people in any part of the world. It is unfortunate that instead of the government stepping up its efforts to curb all these atrocities, it is instead allowing the nation to descend further into despair and the people to suffer all forms of deprivation of life and property.

It is true that where lives are at stake, reasonable leaders would gird up their loins and stand up for human protection. This is not the case in Nigeria, as those in power seem to have been completely entrenched in irresponsible forms of governance. The recent efforts of the Lagos State Government to rid the streets of Lagos of these disbelievers, whose only places of residence are the seats of their okada, are rather to be commended. A sensible comment will not put a burden on a government to provide jobs and housing to anyone careless enough to travel on the open ships of a Sahara trailer without any particular mission to come to Lagos. It is a state government whose territories are not subject to entry and exit restrictions in the name of being part of a country where the federal government opens the borders to anyone coming from the north.

What we have seen is a situation where young people with no special education or skills are driving into southern states in trailers used to haul cows with no consideration for where they will live or what they will do for a living. Rather, they have turned into a burden on working individuals by killing, stealing and raping. No sane society operates like this and expects to make progress. Certainly the way Nigeria is going, the Rwanda of the 1990s is going to be child’s play. Lives are no longer safe on the roads. The recent attacks on Kaduna trains in Abuja and Kaduna airport have confirmed that no place is safe in the hands of these marauders. No tangible effort is made to rescue those in captivity and we watch daily horror videos that these unfortunate victims are subjected to by their captors.

The relaxed attitude of the government is disappointing and terribly disconcerting. One wonders how a people in power would feel comfortable continuing to hold leadership positions in the face of such egregious failures. No Nigerian voted for this government just to saddle up and pretend to move forward when it is clear that the nation is sinking into the nadir. It is clear that modern technologies have proven that the hiding places of bandits and terrorists in the north of the country cannot be permanent havens for their criminal activities, if the government is really ready to deploy such technologies. The claim to try to avoid collateral damage only makes sense until the government is ready to act.

The statement attributed to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha, is apparently correct that where terrorism lasts more than a few days, the government has something to do with it. It’s time we all woke up from our slumber.

Our laments that the North be secure for all lives to prosper as before; our calls for the return of peace and prosperity to the north of the country have been rejected by the system. Reclaiming the North may take another 50 years if the current leaders are not replaced by people who are ready to lead and bring our peace. It’s time for the #bringbackourpeace hashtag campaign to go trending. Governors in the South West should prepare to strengthen the security architecture in every way.

No document, whatever its name, is powerful enough to make lives and properties a game object for a set of rudderless rulers. Our governors must rise to the occasion. Enough is enough. Special intelligence services should be hired to monitor our surroundings. We need to deploy drones to scan our forests and locate any suspicious gatherings of unauthorized or unlicensed occupiers. Citizens must cooperate as informants to rid our communities of criminal elements of all ethnic backgrounds. The crime knows no ethnic origin, except when it is committed by people for ethnic reasons. We need to make a statement that Igangan should not repeat himself. We need to let the world know that the Owo massacre will be the last to be seen by anyone. A society unable to guarantee lives and property is not able to govern itself.

The clause in our national anthem that “the labor of our past heroes will not be in vain” has been rendered meaningless by visionless governance over the years. We must regain our peace. To those who lost their lives in Owo; to those whose dreams were cut short in Igangan; to those who live in captivity in the forests of Kaduna; To all those whose future is threatened in different parts of the country by terrorism and failed governance, I say, we must take back our peace. This is my pain and my warning while postponing discussion of the political party primaries until next week.

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