May 26, 2021

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What fuels an insurgency? The combustible mixture of ideology and 
ignorance. If a clump of uninformed people has an ideology they can die 
for, they will do the illogical for it. The intercourse of ideology and 
ignorance does not follow logic. Insurgency ignites and thrives in the 
residence of seductive dogma. 

The Igbo hold life dear. The sacrality of life is ensconced in Igbo 
cosmology. ‘’Igbu ochu’’ (murder) is considered the most deadly 
sin in Igbo land. In fact, in the old days where murder is committed, 
the community will have to proceed on many days of cleansing of the land 
and atonement for the crime. But what changed? 

It is also popularly assumed that the Igbo are natively non-belligerent 
and that they cannot in any circumstances resort to taking innocent 
lives violently. Really, the Igbo are a peaceful people, but recent 
events in the south-east have cast a doubt on this assumption. 

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Without a doubt, there are genuine grievances regarding the south-east 
and national government relationship, but these grievances, whether 
injustice or inequality, are not circumscribed to the south-east. Every 
Nigerian is aggrieved. Every region — north, south-west, south-south — 
has a bone to pick with the leadership. All the regions in the country 
are marginalised as regards the equitable distribution of resources to 
the people. 

To put it clearly, every region is marginalised. But a more factual 
statement will be ‘’all Nigerians at the bottom rung of the social 
ladder are marginalised’’. Nigerians are victims of the carnivory of 
the elite. It does not matter whether they come from the north or the 
south. We are all victims of elite conspiracy regardless of where we 
come from. 

It is agonising that the scions of the south-east are turning their 
region into Aleppo in Syria. Who brings violence and war to his own 
home? As of 2019, the south-east was reputed to be the safest region in 
Nigeria. It was also buoyant and fared well on the development index. 
All of that is tumbling down. 

The killing of police officers — some of them Igbo — the targeting of 
northern residents; the destruction of property and arsoning of police 
stations are tragedies that should have never been allowed to happen. 
This cancer was fed and allowed to metastasise. The Igbo nourished this 
beast that is now gnawing at their groin. When the serial murder of 
police officers began, some applauded the effort of their killers on the 
inscrutable assumption that the police are in cahoots with criminals to 
destroy Igbo land. Now, the destruction of the region is not by the 
hands of some herdsmen or bandits, but by the might of the sons of the 
land. How is irony defined? 

Igbo citizens who hold contrary opinions to the ‘’group 
sentiments’’ are threatened with violence. This puts a disturbing 
aspect to the secessionist agitations – if all views must be unitary. 
The Igbo have never been known to be herded or conscripted into a 
tyranny of opinions and actions. The Igbo are known to be republican; 
open to robust arguments and subjecting every thought to scrutiny. But 
what changed? 

The killing of police officers in the south-east has been unmitigated 
and security agencies appear to have left the people to their own fate. 
Armed robberies have returned at scale. There are lamentations 
everywhere. A lady shared an experience of how a mechanic she paid 
upfront to fix her car in Anambra absconded with the money and 
automobile, and even threatened her while bragging, ‘’there is no 
more police in the south-east’’. Cultists and street lords have 
assumed control of interest areas in the region. There is fear and chaos 
everywhere. Life has become nasty, brutish and short in a once peaceful 

As a matter of fact, we are on a familiar path albeit a treacherous one. 
The signs are ominous. A Nigerian born in 2000 can tell how Boko Haram 
started in the north-east. Security agents and formations are often the 
first to be targeted by militant groups. When they are taken out, the 
people become defenceless and a new order of violence by armed gangs 
reigns. Security operatives are being killed and security facilities 
destroyed in the south-east now. After the security scaffold is 
decimated, innocent residents and even those gloating over the revelry 
of blood may become the next victims. 

Already, there are displaced persons living in IDP camps in parts of 
Ebonyi state — displaced as a result of internecine clashes among 
communities. And with the prevailing savagery by the secessionist group, 
there is bound to be more refugee problems in the south-east – if the 
attacks persist. Where does that leave a people whose preoccupation is 
buying and selling? 

We cannot end this barbarity if we do not agree. If some choose to keep 
native sympathies for those taking innocent lives, how then can the 
bloodletting stop? 

It is all in our hands. 

By Fredrick ‘Mr OneNigeria’ Nwabufo 
Twitter @FredrickNwabufo 

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