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Opinions of Saturday, 7 January 2023

Columnist: Kenneth Uwadi.

Who wants Ikedi Ohakim dead?

Dr Ikedi Ohakim, a former governor of Imo State Dr Ikedi Ohakim, a former governor of Imo State

I condemn in very strong terms, the attempted assassination of Dr Ikedi Ohakim, a former governor of Imo State and one of Imo finest by unknown gunmen. While I express great satisfaction with the Imo State government’s performance in this war against hoodlums, gunmen and bandits in the state , I must admit that there is still more work to be done.

The attempt to murder Ohakim is an indication that there is still more work to be done. Media reports indicate that gunmen attacked the convoy of the former governor at Oriagu,Ehime Mbano local government on January 2, 2023. Four of Ohakim’s police orderlies including a driver lost their lives in the attack but the former governor and his two children who were with him during the incident escaped unhurt. “They came to kill me. What saved me was the bulletproof vehicle. That I am alive today is by the special grace of God and the bulletproof vehicle.’ Ohakim said.

I know authorities are investigating the assassination attempt on the Isiala Mbano born politician but do we need to ask who wants Ohakim dead? We all know that Members of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Imo State have been targets of attacks by opposition politicians and their collaborators who are behind the banditry and killings in the state. We all know that the killings going on in the State are political hence needless for anyone to look elsewhere. We all know of a former deputy governor of the state who is a PDP member who in a press conference with audio viral on social media, threatened to make the state ungovernable for Governor Hope Uzodinma.

We all know of one Army deserter Lance Corporal Nwagwu Chinwendu also called Onye Army from Aboh Mbaise who was arrested by security men for the killing of Ahmed Gulak. The Onye Army has made some confessions including naming a certain "Ihedioha' as one of their sponsors. We all know that since the inception of the attacks in Imo communities, not one Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, member have been attacked, none of their houses have been burnt or attacked. This is frightening in itself; the fact that we have allowed the creation of a bestial and unhinged society, brutalised by violence, and deadened to the very act itself, inured to a feeling or a consciousness of remorse at the taking of a life. Death is too easy and killers are now too easy to find. Igboland has become a brutish and terrifying place.

I give credit to the governor of Imo state His Excellency Hope Uzodinma who vowed that the safety of life and property of Imolites must remain a top priority. The governor has severally said that his administration would not succumb to intimidation and blackmail by miscreants and enemies of progress. He had gone ahead to create a Neighborhood Security Watch involving a coordinated network of Community Intelligence Gathering Programme in liaison with the NPF, DSS, NSCDC, NSO and some Private Security Companies.– a combined Security Operations targeted at Flashpoints and Centres of high criminal activities, including hide outs, jungles, uncompleted buildings, forest, shrines, lakes and creeks, etc. Uzodinma vowed to rout criminals and free our society from the menace of banditry, kidnappings, and killings. It has indeed been a sad season for criminals in Imo State.

Government should make sure that the vigilante police system functions effectively in the state. We still need to provide more facilities to our Vigilante groups such as batons, handcuffs, uniforms, walkie-talkie radios, crowd dispersers, licensed riffles and vehicles to enable them to respond to calls in time. They need to be equipped properly and remunerated very well.. If adequate incentives are provided for Vigilante personnel, they would discharge their responsibilities effectively. Government should intensify manhunt operations against identified target groups and criminal syndicates. People from the communities know these criminals and kidnappers and they can help the government smoke them out from their holes. Government must go after them. Government must not wait for them to strike again before they pursue them.

Whether they are using Operation Rescue or Operation Sweep, Operation Wipe, Anti-Kidnapping Squad or Joint Military Task Force , vigilante groups should stand too and all Squad must take the battle to whatever hide outs of these gunmen and crush them. Government should also use the media too for sensitization of the populace on the need to assist the police on security. I join others to call on all citizens of the state to be alert and report all suspicious elements to security agents for appropriate action. May the souls of those killed during the attempt to murder Ohakim rest in peace. Ozo emekwala..