ARE human beings not with sanguinary proclivities and propensities for committing heinous crimes? This is a rhetorical question that begs for no answer. A human being, who is a mixture of good qualities and bad ones, is not incapable of perpetrating criminal acts when he or she is actuated by base and materialistic impulses and vaulting ambition. So, governments exist in many countries of the world to curb the excesses of people. Maintaining law and order in human societies is one of the cardinal responsibilities of the human governments. If we are without human governments, the strong will trample on the rights of the weak, and maltreat them at will. And, consequently, our world would metamorphose to an animal Jungle, where the strong survive at the expense of the weak. The existence of duly elected democratic governments in many countries of the world has not completely eradicated crimes in those places, however.
Nowadays, we do watch news video footages of terrorist acts in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia. America has, for a long time, been the target of terrorist attacks. France and Great Britain have continuously suffered and experienced bloody and blood-curdling terrorist attacks, too. And the middle-east, which seems to be past redemption, is the epicenter of terrorism. Somalia still experiences pockets of violence. So, can the world ever be free of crimes and terrorist acts? The answer blows in the air.
The proliferation as well as easy purchasing of small arms and other weapons by people is an incentive for the occurrence of terrorist acts and other sundry crimes in our today’s world. Members of a religious group with dangerous religious teachings and beliefs can embark on a war to convert other people to their religious group if they posses arms. In Nigeria, people actuated by the base desire to acquire stupendous wealth at any cost engage in crimes, such as kidnapping people for ransom and armed robbery. But prohibiting individuals from possessing guns and punishing gun –law offenders severely can reduce the rate of occurrence of crimes, especially kidnapping and armed robbery, in Nigeria.
But, what predisposes and motivates people to commit crimes in order to make money is the respect we accord rich people in Nigeria. Over the years, there has been a continuous erosion of family values in our society. In today’s Nigeria, we do not set store by the virtues of honesty, sedulousness, probity, holiness, and others, anymore, now. Rather, the philosophy of “onye ego bu eze” (a rich man is king) is reigning in the Igbo land. We hero-worship and deify people with ill-gotten wealth; but the poor man with honesty is the butt of our Jokes. We rib him ceaselessly for his impecuniousness, and consider him to be a sucker.
That’s why hordes of Igbo folk(s) migrated to South Africa where they indulge in illicit drug trade. Their trafficking in hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, has pitted them against the South African people and the country’s security outfits. In the recent past, a wave of xenophobic attacks swept across that rainbow country leading to the deaths of Nigerians and other African migrants.
More so, scores of my Igbo compatriots are on death row in China, Indonesia, Saudi-Arabia, and other countries, where they’re begging and praying for reprieve. The sad and bad fate of those unfortunates and drug traffickers has not served as a deterrent to other would-be- drug -offenders. Their bulimic craze and lust for lucre is insatiable.
So, the specter of shooting between rival drug gangs during a church service or on a social occasion in towns in the Southeast loomed and preyed on the minds of discerning, prescient, and knowing people long before a lone gunman went on a shooting spree at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, killing innocents. The killing punctured the serenity, tranquility, and peace of the bucolic town. The murders in the church were a consequence of a drug war between two sons of the town. But, it revealed the moral vacuity, depravity, and spiritual aridity of people, who place scant regard and value on human lives when the issue of money is involved.
Not since the era of Governor Chinwoke Mabdinuju, when Anambra State was seized by the jugular by crimes and armed robbers, had Anambra state witnessed a violence, which was as vicious, heart-rending, and bloody as the Ozubulu church massacre. But, in the recent past, Anambra state tottered and chafed under the Suzerainty of political god fathers who imposed unscrupulous Governors on the state; and the state was worse-off for that, then.
Sadly, the political foes of Governor Willie Obiano have seized the moment and opportunity of the unfortunate church incident to poke fun on Governor Willie Obiano’s unblemished and unassailable record on security matters. They tried strenuously, though unsuccessfully, to portray the state as unsafe following the shooting spree that happened in the Ozubulu Church. Is there any country in today’s world that is crime-free? Even in America, which is a super-power country, deranged gun men did run amuck there, shooting people. France, Britain, and South Africa had their fair share of gunmen and religious extremists killing people with guns or plowing their cars into crowds of people.
What happened at a catholic church in Amakwa village,Ozubulu, Anambra state is a one-off criminal act perpetrated by a deranged, morally depraved, frustrated, and distraught man, who was allegedly beguiled of his money by his partners in drug crime. It is not a proof that Anambra State has sunk into an anarchical and dystopian state. It, however, behooves Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the crime and bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.
And he is doing exactly that, now. Nobody can dispute the fact that Governor Obiano has rid the state of armed robbers, hoodlums, pickpockets, and kidnappers, however.
So, we should desist from politicizing this security issue for the sake of the growth of the state; rather we should rally behind the governor and lend him our unalloyed support, in order that we should not witness the recurrence of the Ozubulu shooting tragedy.
A safe and secure Anambra state is a prerequisite for the development of the state. Is an anarchic situation not a disincentive to the progress of the state? We should pray and work assiduously to prevent the state from regressing to the past era of violence, criminality, and lawlessness. This will help the state to maintain its steady and rapid tempo of development.
The next governorship election in the state is some few months away .And conducting the election in an atmosphere of peace and orderliness will make it gain acceptability and credibility. And an election that is deemed free and fair and credible will offer litigious and troublesome political elements in the state no opportunity to contest the outcome of the poll and make unnecessary trouble.
As Governor Willie Obiano has recorded tremendous success in his governance of the state, commonsense dictates that we should vote for him again in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election scheduled to take place in November.
Okoye, who is the Public relations officer To The Head of Service, Anambra State Civil Service, is on the Staff of the Ministry Of Information and Communication strategy, Awka.