KIDNAPPING: MAN DEMANDS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN S-EAST
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, yesterday, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in three notorious South East states of Abia, Anambra and Imo and replace the governors with military sole administrators as a radical measure to address the failure of the state governors to provide security for lives and property in the zone.
The call came against the backdrop of the kidnap of the Managing Director of JUHEL Nigeria Limited, Dr. Ifeanyi Okoye, by unknown persons along Okigwe–Umunna road on his way to Owerri airport on December 8. Reports said yesterday that his abductors were yet to contact members of his family, a development that has caused anxiety within his family.
Chairman of MAN Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states chapter, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, who addressed a news conference in Enugu over the abduction of Okoye, who was former Chairman of the association, blamed the multiplication of crimes in the South East zone on the failure of the governors to address the growing unemployment problems as well as their indifference to the strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which has kept the undergraduates out of the universities for more than six months
He said that the governors of the zone appear to be enjoying the kidnapping saga, alleging that they stand as indirect beneficiaries of the crime since according to him when everyone runs away as most manufacturers in the zone are doing, the governors would be free to continue with the alleged pillaging of the economy in which they showed little interest in its growth.
His words: “We call on the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to take urgent and all necessary steps to declare state of emergency in the three notorious South East states of Abia, Anambra and Imo. Their governments should be replaced without any further delay by Military Administrators while their administration should be subjected to EFCC scrutiny.
“The state of emergency has since become overdue. We know it has been delayed merely out of sentiment. If we wait further, more people will be punished unnecessarily and none of the governments of the three states has demonstrated meaningful capacity to combat crime even at its most rudimentary level.”
“Any governnmenmt that has failed so woefully to provide security for her citizens with their properties and investments is like salt without flavor. Any government that has failed to create sustainable employment and in the same vein failed to create adequate and appropriate enabling environment and infrastructure for private operators to assist, has equally failed.
“Any government that toys with the education and empowerment of her youths, thereby reducing the future of the people to mere4 compost has no reason to remain in power. Any government that does not listen and does not feel the temperature of her citizens is like salt that has lost its saltiness. It is mere sand.
“It is on the basis of all of the above that we insist that state of emergency must be declared without any further delays in the three South East States of Abia, Anambra and Imo. Such declaration will compel all governors and governments to take the security of their people with their investments more seriously.”
Obidigbo said in the alternative, the governors of the three states and all their political office holders as well as politicians from the zone should be stripped of all security escorts so that they feel the negative impact of insecurity in the zone.
“Let them also move around like every one else because they are surrounded by mean looking and gun throttling police and other security personnel, they can afford to go home everyday, consume choice food, pop champagne and sleep soundly with their wives as if all is well all over,” he said.
The renowned Enugu_based manufacturer lamented that the abduction of Dr. Okoye, came at a period when Universities owned by the southeast governments are closed for upwards of six months wondering how any governor worth his salt should be at ease with most of the young people unemployed and students out of their Universities for six months, all contributing to the multiplication of crimes.
Chronicling the litany of woes dogging manufacturers in the South East, Obidigbo who was accompanied by officials and members of MAN, noted that manufacturing has become the worst form of investment anybody could make pointing out that those who venture into manufacturing, like the abducted JUHEL MD, do so just to help in providing employment to the growing army of unemployed young people.
“People borrow a lot of money; millions of naira and invest into manufacturing to give employment, then we hear they have been kidnapped. The least the manufacturer, like Dr. Okoye, expects from government is security and they cannot provide that.
Our governors are going home to sleep and pretend as if nothing is happening. And when you want to give them ideas on how to create employment and reduce the rising incidence of crimes, none of them is interested. All they want is to retain their political offices.
Even our representatives in both chambers of the National Assembly are of no use to the people they are representing,” he declared.
The MAN Chairman explained that the legislators from southeast in Abuja ought to take up the issue of kidnapping and keep on shouting until something was done since according to him
the southeast geopolitical zone is fast drowning socially and economically.
Obidigbo lamented that manufacturers have become like “grass cutters, endangered species” that everyone pursues to kill or kidnap at sight noting that most manufacturers have fled the southeast from Aba to port Harcourt and from Onitsha to Asaba since according to him the governors don’t seem to care again about what is happening to ordinary people they are supposed to be leading.
He, however, implored all citizens of the country especially the military, the police and all security agencies to do everything possible to secure the immediate release of Dr. Okoye just as he called on the Nigerian media to help sensitize the nation on the combined evils of kidnapping and armed robbery which has enveloped the South East states.