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Why ‘unknown gunmen’ must be denounced

Numerous claims, counter claims, allegations, counter allegations and conspiracy theories have been raised to unravel the real identities and power brokers...

Numerous claims, counter claims, allegations, counter allegations and conspiracy theories have been raised to unravel the real identities and power brokers behind the South East insecurity menace. Nigeria is currently ravaged by unprecedented wave of overlapping security challenges ranging from terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and robbery amongst others.

It is not surprising when the 2021 Global Peace Index (GPI) report ranked Nigeria as one of the least peaceful nations in the world. The report, as produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), placed Nigeria at 146th least peaceful of 163 nations and 33rd least peaceful country out of the 44 countries polled in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite that, the worsening insecurity condition seems to have become a new normal in Nigeria. It is surprising that a peaceful geo-political zone, the South East, suddenly became a theatre of war. This calls for sober reflection. As the South East joined the league of war-torn areas in the country, it would amount to a disservice and misconception to celebrate or support the newly incorporated structure.

The current killings, arson, vandalism and economic sabotage purportedly being carried out by “unknown gunmen” add no benefit or value to the ordinary people of the region. Such acts would rather jeopardise the interest of the common man. The activities of unknown gunmen have inflicted unquantifiable economic hardships on the masses. The constant unrest has grossly affected many people who survive on daily income within the region.

Moreover, many innocent lives have been killed by unknown gunmen. A plethora of investments and businesses have been run aground by them. There is no justification for the current unrest. It is purely anti-masses. The insinuation in some quarters that it is a stepping stone for the actualization of Biafra Republic is a facade. Hit and run tactic adopted by unknown gunmen would only give birth to endless insurgency and not Biafra.

Conspiracy against the people often succeeds by appealing to their emotions or playing to the gallery. The people of the South East must learn from the genesis of Boko Haram, particularly their deceptive tactic which revolved around the propagation of Sharia Law. Sharia Law is a popular ideology in the North as Biafra has been a popular cause in the South East. It will take many decades before some areas in the North recuperate from the ruins of Boko Haram. 

It is high time the people of South East unanimously rose against unknown gunmen before the whole region is set ablaze. The agitation for the Republic of Biafra is within the combined provisions of international and domestic laws. A court ruling recently reaffirmed self-determination as inalienable fundamental right recognised under Nigeria’s constitutional framework. 

The activities of unknown gunmen have deviated from the core principles of self-determination to barbarism. Their agitation approach would only attract more pains and sorrow and not the actualization of Biafra.

Binzak Azeez 

Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife

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