Satan On The Prowl In Igbo Land
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide condemns the incessant killings in Igbo land. The ongoing gruesome killings in the South East is a very strange phenomenon in the Igbo cosmology and culture. The Igbo culture strongly abhors killing of mankind, no matter the circumstance. Amongst the Igbo, the killing of a human being is an abomination which attracts heavy sanctions including ostracism for a stipulated number of years. If the ostracized dies before the expiration of the sanction period, the corpse is condemned to an evil forest or will not be accorded a befitting burial. The sad end of Okonkwo in the Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe reveals the Igbo reflexes on murder cases.
The Igbo perspectives on the sanctity of human life is further reinforced by the Christian religious imperative, in the Holy Bible, Exodus 20:13, thus: “Thou Shall not Kill”. It is such that even blasphemy against the tenets of Christianity or the traditional religion cannot provoke an instant extrajudicial killing. On the other hand, of all the accusations or allegations against the Igbo culture, killing of fellow human beings could not be contemplated. It is not in the Igbo character. We are at loss over the ugly development in Igbo land.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Professor Obiozor is in grief over the rate at which the South East has degenerated to a killing field. Obiozor recalls with nostalgia that the South East was adjudged the most peaceful before the attack on the Correctional Centre, Owerri, Imo State and the release of 1844 prison inmates by unknown gun men on April 5, 2021. Since then, the South East has been in a macabre dalliance with siege, atrocities, abominations, arson, all forms of violence and to the worst of the extremes-killing of human beings. Sometimes, we begin to wonder whether the local non-state actors have the strategic capacity to overwhelm the well-fortified correctional centres, police stations, etc or the benefits one stands to derive from such savagery.
While we are still mourning the gruesome murder and the cruel display of the head of a serving member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, a report was received that some Northerners were killed in some locations in the same Anambra State. As it stands, burning of buildings, police stations, killing of human beings, kidnappings, etc has now become a daily occurrence in Igbo land. This is a very sad development.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo faults the remark by the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr Echeng Echeng, to the effect that community leaders are shielding the criminals thereby rendering investigations and arrests very difficult. It is important to inform that in Anambra State for instance, almost all the communities are hosts to numerous strangers beyond the compass of the community leaders. A community such as Nnewi, a commercial nerve centre, is so sophisticated with strangers and economic activities beyond the aerial view of the community leaders. It is as inconceivable as to expect the Olu of Ibadan or the Oba of Benin or the Emir of Kano to monitor the crime rate in their highly populated domains. To shield a criminal is to hide a viper-snake in the pocket. While commending the Anambra State Police Command for their gallantry, commitment and sacrifice, we urge all the community vigilantes, youths, community leaders, traditional rulers and all well-meaning Igbo to rise to the occasion in collaboration with the police to wipe out this ugly trend.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo have an irrepressible wanderlust and as such are inclined to hospitable attributes. Because of our outreach and frontier dispositions, we owe it a duty to be equally kind to strangers and condemn the violence that has been unleashed over our land, especially as it affects our northern brethren.
Finally, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide extends our deep condolences to the Sarkin Hausawa, Orumba North LGA, Alhaji Said Muhammad and other affected Northern communities; and to His Excellency, Professor Chukwuma Soludo and the good people of Anambra State. We urge all and sundry to cooperate with the governor in his relentless effort to overcome the current security challenges in the State. Evidently, with the menace of Boko Haram, banditry, unknown gun men, kidnappings, Fulani herdsmen- farmers’ clashes, Monday Sit at Home, etc, there is no gainsaying that indeed, Satan is on the prowl to cause mayhem in Nigeria. It therefore requires maturity and restraint amongst the leaders, knowing full well that we shall ultimately overcome.
Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia is the National Publicity Secretary. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide