…Say life now harder
By Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Chinonso Alozie &
THE recent security crises in the South- East region have taken its toll on the business, political and social lives of people in the affected areas. Businesses have gone down, social life and other activities have been badly affected and the people now live in fear.
In Isuofia, Anambra State, where the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, a strong contender for the ticket of APGA in the coming governorship election was attacked while in a meeting with youths, life in the community has not been the same.
According to Chief Pius Okoye, the attack has not only painted a bad picture on how the Igbo value life but has put fear into the hearts of the residents of the peaceful and quiet Isuofia community.
According to Okoye, the attack has affected the political, social, business and even religious lives of the people of Isuofia as they have since restricted their activities to a certain period of the day and try as much as possible to avoid any night activity because they now feel that their lives are under threat.
Describing Prof. Soludo as an asset to Ndigbo that should be jealously protected, Okoye urged the Federal and Anambra state governments to step up action in stemming the ugly activities of hoodlums in various communities in the South-East and Nigeria in general.
“This kind of attack is not known to Igbo people and in Igboland; it is not in the Igbo nature. Igbo don’t shed blood because of politics and we are therefore warning those stoking violence in Igboland to desist from such act or face the consequences.
“Attacking Prof. Soludo, a former CBN Governor, an illustrious son of Igboland in his home town, Isuofia, is an abomination, shameful, sacrilege and the height of stupidity. We urge the eminent Professor of Economics not to be discouraged in his ambition to become the governor of Anambra State, nothing good comes easy.
“We urge the attackers and all the people that have hand in it to desist from further attack on people or face the curse we will place on them because they are destroying the sacred name of Ndigbo.
“The attack on him is unacceptable to us; we wonder how many Soludos Igboland has, that disgruntled politicians and their hoodlums wanted to kill because of politics, we are not happy about the development and we know that no reasonable Igbo man or Nigerian is happy about the attack.”
In Ebonyi State, people from the attacked communities said thay have been living in fear. “Each time we see vehicles coming, we start running for our lives,” one of the victims said.
They also lamented the hardship they have been passing through as no relief materials have been extended to them. They said life has not been easy since the incident even as they still live in complete fear of the unknown.
According to one of the natives of the affected communities, Angela Onwe: “After the attack, villagers from the four villages have been living in fear and apprehension. Each time we see vehicles coming, we will start scampering for help. Even neighbouring villagers that were not affected are still living in fear of the unknown.
“You can see how lonely the villages are while you are coming because people have deserted the place, saying they don’t know if the Fulani herdsmen will come back again.”
Another survivor, James Sunday explained that the villagers of the affected villages are still afraid to return home for fear of falling victim to another attack.
“People are still scared of coming back home because there is no presence of security operatives around the badly affected villages. Nobody to defend us if they attack us again. Both police and the military men left that same day we were attacked by the Fulani herdsmen.”
In Aba, Abia State, residents are also counting their losses over the security crises. The residents said they now live in fear of attacks by policemen and hoodlums and lamented further that the 8pm to 6am curfew declared by the state government has also made life more difficult for them.
Business people whose activities begin from 7pm daily have also been counting their losses as residents now close by 6.30pm to get to their homes before the curfew period or risk arrest by security agents.
South-East Voice reported that the fear in Aba heightened when policemen from the Aba Area Command recently went on rampage, shooting, beating residents and destroying vehicles on the roads leading to the Police Command Headquarters and the Correctional Services and the High Court Complex in Aba. The policemen were said to be protesting an assault on their colleague by a motorist at the Ama Ogbonna area.
It was believed that the policemen also used the shootings to express their preparedness and warned the hoodlums who have been attacking security formations.
Lamenting the loss she incurred on account of the action of the police, the operator of a popular restaurant along Okwu na Uka Street near the Police headquarters, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told South-East Voice that she was caught unawares by the action of the policemen who stormed the area shooting and beating up people.
“The action of the policemen has taken a toll on business people like me. I lost over N50, 000 because I had already opened for the day and customers were eating. But within a few minutes, over 20 policemen came and started shooting and people fled. My restaurant is usually a beehive of activities from 7.30am to 10am which coincided with the period of the shooting by the police.”
Also narrating his ordeal at the hands of the rampaging policeman, a Keke operator, Nnamdi Nwoha, said that he was riding with a passenger along Hospital Road when policemen numbering over 10, stormed the area and started shooting and beating everybody.
A company worker in Aba, who gave his name as Michael Koma, alleged that the soldiers stationed at Bata junction usually begin to enforce the curfew by 7.30 pm before the 8pm time stipulated by the government, flogging people and asking them to raise their hands before they could be allowed to pass through the area.
On account of the growing tension in the state, a week ago, farmers in the Agalaba area in Obingwa Council Area said they fled their farms as helicopters manned by Air Force personnel flew over tree tops in the communities.
Similarly, another resident and tailor, Mr. Anthony Uwandu, said the troubling security situation in Aba had led to a sharp drop in business patronage.
According to him, before the ugly development, he was receiving orders for between 3,000 and 5,000 pairs of uniforms from his customers but now, it has drastically come down.
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“The situation is badly affecting me and others now. I was getting orders to produce at least 3,000-5,000 sets of uniform per week, but now the last order I got for 300 sets, the company has called me and said I should reduce it to just 100,” he lamented.
Also, Ambassador Darlington Onuoha Kalu, a business consultant, said the situation had led to a sharp drop in the number of clients seeking his services. He also lamented the adverse effect of the 8pm – 6am curfew imposed by the state government on economic activities and social life of Aba residents.
According to another resident of Aba, Comrade Goodluck Ibem, the current curfew “has made it difficult for so many people that do their businesses in the evening to close shop and go home thereby reducing the income of business people like us.
“We want government to do something about the curfew time. We urge the state government to move the curfew time from 8:00pm to 10:00pm,” he said.
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