Owerri market demolition: 10 yr-old Somtochukwu, another victim of police overzealousness?
By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
Continued recklessness of men in power constantly shows that power is an intoxicating wine that only the self-disciplined can drink in moderation.
The Saturday demolition of Ekeukwu-Owerri market that claimed lives including that of 10- year -old Somtochukwu Ibeanusi was a sort of war waged against the people by their government. At times like this, the poor masses wonder who to turn to for justice and protection.
The Imo State Government, instead of being remorseful and commiserating with the family of the deceased claimed that “no life was lost in the demolition exercise”. That could only be the effect of power intoxication! Photos of Somtochukwu and other victims were awash in the social media minutes after the fatal incidence, one therefore wonders why such blunder could be denied.
Somochukwu being taken to the hospital by his father, with the assistance of his sister.
The trigger-happy men of the Nigeria Police who opened fire on harmless citizens under the guise of carrying out government’s instructions, in other climes would have been brought to book in a matter of minutes. Here however, Nigerians must wait endlessly for the Inspector General of Police’ reaction on this dastardly act.
How on earth would the state compensate Mr. Isaiah Ibeanusi, who lost his only son to the crude and lawless order from above, and the other victims who are battling for their lives at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, even when the traders claimed there was a pending case in court concerning the quit notice served them by the government?
A victim, Mr. Sebastian Oparaku narrated how a stray bullet hit him when he was shaving inside his house. Mr. Leonard Ebubeagu Osuji, another victim had an operation for removal of a bullet, lodged in his thigh during the fracas.
Governor Rochas Okorocha
Part of the demolished shops in the market.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, owes Nigerians an explanation on why his men turned hunters of men, spraying bullets on their ‘games’, instead of protecting the traders’ lives and properties during the demolition.
The near best remedy Governor Rochas Okorocha can apply under this circumstance is to own up to his mistakes, commiserate with victims’ families and pay compensations. No one remains in power for life. Today’s power broker might find himself at the receiving end of more deadlier government policies in future, when posterity will be the chief judge at the people’s court.
When dividends of democracy were not forthcoming, people doubled their efforts in providing their own needs. Everyone, a practical local authority in his/her locality, providing electricity, water, shelter, jobs etc.
Nigerians run their businesses on electricity generating sets, provide water through their self-made bore holes, labour to pay Shylock landlords for shelters, educate their children in private schools because of the rot in public schools, set themselves up in mini trades, in the absence of jobs provision by government and non-availability of employment in the private sector, to make ends meet. The same government that they brought into power with their votes later turned round to displace them, taking over their houses and markets, in most cases without any compensation. Some lost all their life-savings and developed high blood pressure, with no money to take care of their health, they died untimely.
Youths are running away from the country, to foreign lands in search of economic independence. Some lose their lives in the process, while others endure the worst form of slavery in order to send money home to parents and siblings. Yet, those at home could not sleep with their two eyes closed for fear of the next obnoxious policy by the government. Which way, Nigeria?
May the souls of slain Somtochukwu and other victims rest in peace. Families and friends wish their spirits would rise in vengeance against their killers. So help them God!