An SOS to Mr. President and Inspector General of Police

By Innocent Elem Okoh

I am an elderly Nigerian citizen and a staunch Christian. I have watched the ugly situations and confusions in my neighbourhood. As a peace-loving citizen of Ebonyi state and Nigeria, I want to use this medium to call the kind attention of our great leader and peace-loving President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and also the Inspector General of Police, IG Muhammad Abubakar to a cold war going on in Enohia-Itim in Afikpo local government area of Ebonyi state where the village has ganged up against the Muslim leader of Ebonyi in an orchestrated attempt to seize his property and ostracize him from his community.

I am from a neighbouring village and I know the Muslim leader to be a very good man and a peace-loving Muslim. No one in his community knows him of a trouble maker. In short, he had championed many peace movements in his community and its environs. That is why it beats the imagination of many Enohia people why he has been targeted for this kind of conspiracy from the state government to his hometown.

I have become very worried of this development due to the fact that many serious fights had erupted from minor community misunderstandings. This cold war in the Enohia community has been taking twist from one dimension to the other, all geared towards the Muslims of the area. This is despite all that the Muslims are subjected to face in terms of denials to equal rights because of their minority status in the state.

This is, therefore, a humble but serious call on our humble President to intervene and come to the aid of the Muslim leader. I want to also request Mr. President to ask our elderly but wise state governor to prevail upon these bad eggs in Enohia community from their nefarious activities because it is said that a stitch in time saves nine. It is clear that many fights in the country today would have been nipped in the bud at its earlier stages if appropriate measures had been taken.

I read an article titled “Need to avert another religious upheaval in Ebonyi”, written by Umar Ndukwe in which attention was drawn to the attempt by a group of people in Enohia Itim to forcefully collect the Muslim leader's landed property and subject his family to torture and trauma.

This is even more pressing because in recent times, the Muslim community has had hard times experiencing one challenge to another. One begins to wonder over the remote causes of communal clashes that have inflicted destabilization and untold hardship on many communities in the country.

Our investigations have revealed that the Eze Ndi Muslim 1 of Ebonyi state, Alhaji Muhammad Obiahu Ajah has been the target of a one-time commissioner in the government of Chief Martin Elechi, the Ebonyi state governor. Nobody can explain the body language of the governor himself towards this unfortunate happening because no action has been taken by the state government despite several calls.

It was gathered that Alhaji Muhammad Obiahu Ajah known and recognized by the state governor had written to the governor and the Ebonyi state commissioner of police over the conspiracy to collect his property and the mounting threat to his life and family.

According to available reports, the State commissioner of police had mandated the Afikpo Area Command to investigate the threat to life but there has been no tangible result because the accused persons have been going about their ways plotting more evils against the Muslim leader. The Police Area Command had merely invited them to a discussion and freed them within few minutes due to their link with the command.

The reports have it that the conspiracy is over a portion of land which had been allocated to the Muslim leader by the elders of the community over 20 years ago. The Muslim leader had utilized the said little plot of land for the purpose for which it was strictly given. The land was a dumping ground for the community. The Muslim leader also has a written agreement endorsed by the elders and himself. All these facts are known to the Afikpo Police Area Command and were clearly stated in the Muslim leader's letter to Governor Martin Elechi.

The report stated that 23 years after the leader had been in possession of his property, the group, led by the one-time commissioner who feels to have been politically empowered has been on the rampage fermenting troubles on the Muslim leader and his family.

Another twist to the matter is said to be unconnected with the outcome of the leadership tussle for the stool of Itim II of Itim, a position for the ezeship of of Itim Autonomous Community which is the greatest in Afikpo local government area. The Commissioner's brother had indicated interest in the position but was unanimously rejected by the people on strong grounds of his past dirty records in his immediate community.

However, the elected Itim II of Itim was said to have been strongly supported by all social and religious groups and influential personalities including the Muslim leader. The new Itim II of Itim has also suffered for not being given his staff of office by the Ebonyi state government due to the activities of the group. The elder brother to the Commissioner, as the leader of this group, has been busy fixing the community members against themselves.

The group has been holding nocturnal meetings to perfect their plans. They recently dragged the Muslim leader to the Magistrate court to legalize their evil plan. The community has been hypnotized by the wandering evil plans of this group. They have turned the community into war zone in Afikpo. And since the state government and the state police have seemed overwhelmed by this tiny terrorist group, the need for Mr. President and the IG to act is very urgent.

We need peace in Enohia-Itim. We need peace in Afikpo. We need peace in Ebonyi state and we need people in our dear motherland Nigeria. Come to our aid, Mr. President! Come to our aid IG Abubakar, before the group eats up every Nigerian in Enohia-Itim.

Innocent Elem Okoh wrote from no. 106 Old Enugu Road, Abakaliki.