Open Letter to Gov.Okorocha From: Concerned Imo State Citizens

 

From: Concerned Imo State Citizens

TO: Government of Imo State of Nigeria

Douglas House, Owerri

Imo State

Date: 23rd December, 2011

 

Address Spate of Kidnappings in Imo State

His Excellency,

The Executive Governor of Imo State – Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha

 

It is with deep sadness and concern that we the undersigned write to you in relation to the spate of kidnappings in Imo State. Security is one of the basic rights the citizenry should enjoy and expect from their government. Most of us were thus happy that security formed a major part of your election manifesto as the lack of security was synonymous with the government of your predecessor. But unfortunately, your promise to “partner together (with the Commissioner of Police) and synergize to make Imo State the most secured state in Nigeria” is becoming an elusive dream for the good people of Imo State. We would like to think that the situation must be equally disheartening for you.

 

Recently, a number of high profile citizens of our dear state have been kidnapped with some cases ending in tragedy. One Mr Uchenna Okeke, a pharmacist and Managing Director of VISTAS HEALTHCARE LTD, a pharmaceutical and diagnostic marketing company in Owerri was kidnapped in front of his house along Uratta East Layout, off MCC Road Owerri at about 6pm by three armed men. He was blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination on Sunday 27th Nov 2011. He was held for two days under harrowing circumstances while negotiations for ransom took place. He was later released at about 10.30pm on the 29th of November behind Tipper Pack, Aba Road after N1,000,000 (One million Naira) ransom was paid. He was warned not to contact the police otherwise he would be killed and his family would be in dire straits.

 

The death of Dr Moses Amako, the immediate past Chief Medical Director of Owerri Specialist Hospital, Umuguma in Owerri on Saturday 10th December following bullet injuries he sustained in one of his legs during a horrible kidnapping incident is tragic. The abductors shattered his leg with bullets and kept him captive for over a week only releasing him after obtaining a N20,000,000 (Twenty million Naira) ransom. He died from his wounds a week after his release.

 

The above are only a few of so many other cases known to have occurred in recent time. It is estimated that on average eight people are kidnapped everyday in Imo State. In the absence of verifiable statistics, it is possible that this figure could be wrong and grossly underestimated. What is irrefutable is that hardly is there a community in Imo state that is not reeling with anguish over the loss of a loved one through kidnapping either for ritual purposes, business or political strategy or simply for ransom.

 

Kidnapping is a debasement and violation of a person’s rights and is punishable in any civil society to the highest term of imprisonment – often attracting the death penalty. The psychological trauma kidnapping leaves on the victim and their family can endure for the rest of their lives.

 

As well meaning citizens of Imo State, we consider these developments unacceptable as it is capable of eroding confidence in the governmental process and more especially capable of undermining the lofty progressive agenda your good self have earmarked for the state.

 

We would like to point out that while it is often convenient and expedient to identify political opponents as detractors, criminals whose activities make our state unattractive to potential investors, cause untold hardship on people and reduce our state to a barbaric jungle reminiscent of the dark ages, are our common detractors and enemies. It is a real threat to our collective interest when citizens who are supporting your policies by bringing in investment, paying taxes and providing employment to other people in Imo State become victims of such repulsive crimes.

 

Sir, it is important to state that the people of Imo hold you in high esteem and expect a lot from your government. There is no doubt that you have succeeded in instilling confidence and belief in our people since assumption of office and continue to do so with the numerous developmental projects, policies and plans for the state. But with due respect, we are pained to observe that if your government delivers on all your promises and the state continues to drift into lawlessness and insecurity, then all your achievements would amount to naught. We need people to appreciate and enjoy your sterling leadership but dead people and most certainly victims of crime such as kidnapping may not be happy enough to appreciate or enjoy the dividends of your leadership. What value is there on life when one cannot live it in peace and fulfilment?

 

We are thus unequivocal in our condemnation of the dastardly and cowardly act by a few criminal elements in the State and hereby do support the Imo state government and the State House of Assembly in the promulgation and enforcement of any laws they might consider necessary to curb the spate of kidnappings in the state. Additionally, since policing is within the remit of the Federal Government, we would also recommend that the Federal government should be proactive in tackling serious and indeed any crime by strengthening the capacity of the Nigerian Police Force through training and resources, increase investigation capacity and overall effectiveness.

 

Sir, whilst we do commend your visionary steps in tackling the hydra headed problem of corruption in the state especially as it relates to the ubiquitous and pervasive ‘Security Vote’ which in your own words became “a veritable conduit pipe to siphon public funds into private pockets within and outside for which no account is given”, we also wish to advise that a solution needs to be found urgently for the security crisis in the state. The solution may well be in striking a balance between “reducing the security votes drastically, (in order to plough) the savings thereof into economic development and job creation (and education) which will directly or indirectly reduce the crime wave in the State”, and actively investing in “modern communication gadgets and trained personnel, embarking on intelligence gathering and sensitization to aggressively fight the surge in crime rate in our State.” We hope you would “also as a matter of State policy embark on neighbourhood security policing under a new Imo Security Scheme (ISS) incorporating Mass Security Network based on community security administration” as you have correctly identified.

 

We have it on good authority that some states such as Rivers, Enugu and the Federal Capital Territory have invested in communication tracking devices (TRACKER) that would enable security operatives to determine immediate or general location of victims through their communication gadgets relative to a crime. It is unfortunate and inexcusable if Imo State has not acquired these devices.

 

Sir, We Must Act Now to Avoid a Looming Dark Period in Imo State!

 

We would also do well to hearken to the words of Uchenna Okeke, the subject of this petition in order to understand how kidnappers think or view their victims. Says he: “I found out that most kidnapped victims lose their lives as a result of delay or breakdown in negotiation. These guys are on the move – in a hurry. They want to finish with you fast and jump into another deal. Now, their stock in trade is human beings and they have 150 million or more to kidnap so you don’t waste their time or they will kill their victim and look for another one.” This is food for thought for all concerned.

 

Dear Governor, every effort expended to curb the wave of insecurity and crime in Imo State will further enshrine your administration into the annals of history, so do not relent in bringing all kidnappers to justice and make Imo State peaceful and crime free.

 

Thanking you.

 

Signed:

  • Kelechi John-Kingsley Onwumereh – Republic of Ireland

  • Juliana Onwumereh – Republic of Ireland

  • Dr. Collins Ugochukwu – Canada

  • Onyekachi Ugochukwu – Canada

  • Peter Amaechi Ekeanyanwu – Republic of Ireland

  • ALOYSIUS ADIMAULOR – NIGERIA

  • OKEKE UCHENNA – NIGERIA

  • KELECHI OKEKE – NIGERIA

  • OKEY DIALA – NIGERIA

  • Arc Zeb Iheanetu (UK)

  • Mrs Iheanetu (UK)

  • Chiedozie Ekechukwu – United States of America

  • Kingsley Anyanwu – Lagos, Nigeria

  • AGNES NJOKU – REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

  • Fidelis Onyeneho – Nigeria

  • Ukachukwu Okorie – AfricaWorld Newspaper, Dublin – Ireland.

  • Anyanwu Nnadozie Vincent – Canada

  • Anyanwu Francisca Ngozi – Canada

  • Okoro Onyekwere – USA

  • Barrister Steve Oleka – Nigeria

  • Henry Okoro – Luxembourg

  • Okoro Victor – Nigeria

  • Dr Isidore Aririguzo – Nigeria

  • Dr Chidi Nwachukwu – Nigeria

  • Dr Paschal Njoku – Nigeria

  • Dr Anaelechi Onuegbu – Nigeria

  • Barrister Chime Ihediwa – Nigeria

  • Uche Ugo – Nigeria

  • Fortunatus Anaele – Nigeria

  • Fr Sabinus Iwu – Canada

  • Fr Kelechi Nwandu – Germany

  • Francisca Onwumere – USA

  • Chrisaugunus Egege – Germany

  • Francis Iwuaru – Nigeria

  • Kenneth Egejuru – Nigeria

  • Collins Nwachukwu – Nigeria

  • Dr Uche Nwankwo – Canada

  • George Enyoazu – Republic of Ireland

  • Canice Chilaka – Republic of Ireland

  • Dr Gerard Ihemebirim – Nigeria

  • Fidelis Njoku – Nigeria

  • Sunday Nwangwu – Nigeria

  • Cyracus Nweke – Republic of Ireland

  • Valentine Obidegwu – Republic of Ireland

Submitted to IMO STATE BLOG by:

 JK Kelechi Onwumereh
Concerned Imo State Citizens
Republic of Ireland

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