Since the #EndSARS protests across Nigeria, there have been reports of the Nigerian military in Oyigbo Rivers State.
According to these reports, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had attacked soldiers and police officers, which led to Governor Wike’s interest in the community.
In this series, Odimegwu Onwumere captures the brigandage of the Nigerian military in the community.
Onwumere is a multiple award-winning journalist based in Rivers State.
Wike: The Gunshots Persist
Your Excellency, The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. Greetings, Sir.
I come to you again with a heart full of tears after my earlier open letter to you begging of you to oversee to the motiveless shootings in parts of Rivers State to immobility. Within hours of that letter, the tears of residents have gone up than they were especially in a place like Oyigbo.
We are inundated with information from residents of that area that they doubt if the unjustifiable shootings are really those from the security agents or some external intruders are using the opportunity to cash in and take over Oyigbo.
Many of the residents have fled their homes. Please, for the sympathy of the living, do make peace. This is more than the alleged hoodlums taking over the #EndSARS protest but something is fishing out from the cupboard concerning the fate of Oyigbo in this time of uncertainties.
Rivers residents – whether born natives or visitors – cannot afford to lose any part of Rivers state to any tribe, whose sole aim is to cleanse a people and occupy their ancestral homes. Some information from a place like Rumukwurushi is that there is a particular people who are guarded by those who were supposed to protect all; and the people are hiding under the cover of the protection they enjoy unleashing mayhem on the residents of Rumukwurushi. The same is applicable to Oyigbo.
Sir, you might not notice what is happening across the state at the same time except for such information like this. You have to try to save the state that you love from falling in the hands of a people who never meant well for us. You have to read history from ancient gallery and stop the neo-ethnic cleansing that is well written bold on the wall in guise of #EndSARS protest.
In a plain language, sir, Oyigbo without a doubt has fallen in the hands of wrong people while many still believe that the gunshots were only from the security agents. No. You need to act now else every genuine person living in Oyigbo and some parts of Port Harcourt will wake up from memories’ grave. It would be sacrilegious that we are dead in Rivers state while our homes are taken over by the cold-blooded killers.
In war, it is certain that the end will come but ordinary people are not certain of surviving that long. I am not pointing finger at any person but no man would stand and watch his enemies hide under the cover of security agents to unleash terror for the purpose of either vendetta or land grabbing. And if you don’t act now, parts of Rivers state may be in the hands of the enemies yet we misconstrue the gunshots as those from the ‘genuine’ security agents. Let the year 2020 not be the year we are regressing back to 1700 when lords governed fiefdoms. Someone might not be a robber but if such a person goes to the bank like a robber, he or she would be labeled a robber.
Some persons have dressed like robbers in Rivers state. They don’t care to know that time of acquiring territories by force is gone and we cannot afford to stand on the shadow of the keep. Our state cannot be taken over by force, by any tribe. You need not fold your hands because there will be no excuses and no exceptions should these shootings persist. Watch if the enemies are close, hiding under the #EndSARS brouhaha.
Your Excellency, it would be better that I slap your face with words today in lieu of you waking up tommorrow and notice that your grandparents graves have become home for people who did not buy them from you and who do not mean well to you, either.
There are screams and cry ongoing in a place like Oyigbo. It is not too late to check who are causing the residents of that area to cry. The residents can barely breathe. Don’t allow the door to slam against the wall.
The presence of heavy security men in Oyigbo and in some parts of Rivers state is not a shield. Gunshots are locating the residents more that the presence of the security agents could protect them. This has spurred my suspicion if the town has not fallen in the hands of enemies to kill as many residents as possible while we presume all happening are part of the wave from the #EndSARS uproar oblivious that some people with ulterior motive are bent to take our ancestral land.
The door is open to bring about the needed peace which that part of the state facing heavy presence of gunshots need. How can a people’s right be intruded? The language of gun is not smooth. Let the soldiers not make the residents believe that they are the injured party whereas the residents cannot tell for sure where the sporadic gunshots are coming from and the military Code of Conduct is not observed.
Sane soldiers do not wave unlocked gun recklessly in the midst of civilians. Unguided bullets flying everywhere. Sir, the language of gun is not smooth, not a political agenda. Therefore it is time you introduced and enforced basic human rights this time. Residents cannot afford to walk in their underwear and none knows it were intruders greeting them in the language of gun.
Yes. Oyigbo might not be a city but there are a people who see her as paradise. So, make sure you find out why farmers cannot go to farm because their crops are eaten by human-guided-animals and they are killed if they complain. The same thing is happening to every resident under the #EndSARS hijacked-show-of-shame.
Your Excellency, the grumbling across the state is getting out of hand. Maybe, you have to walk the towns if your security intelligence was not seeing too well. No legitimate child deserves to be called an infidel in his paternal home. The gunshots in Oyigbo are irritating pretense that Rivers state is still in the #EndSARS era. Some people have taken over that era flaunting dangerous folly. I had no difficulty in restraining myself but had to write you in order to stop this stupid importance it has become to a people to desert residents with gunshots at the Haunting Hour which is now their bloody manifesto.
Wike: Before Rivers Faces Lekki’s Fate
Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, greetings.
As you might know, war happens in the absence language, so I am writing this letter to you, to mould your language and make sure it gets to the ears of everyone in order to avert the unnecessary war smelling in Rivers State.
As you might be aware, there have been some recorded damage to lives and property in the state just as some other states have recorded since the #EndSARS protest was seen in the streets across the country some two weeks ago.
It is sad with some reportedly number of civilians and security personnel casualties recorded here and there. May their souls find rest.
Sir, what may happen in Rivers was how eyewitnesses said it was rumoured about Lekki before it was attacked by supposedly soldiers. Rivers State is not immune to attack if appropriate measures are not taken. Your state may not be safe as army is being rumoured of gearing to role out armouries soonest (if not today) to revenge their alleged colleagues who were killed during the ongoing #EndSARS protest in some parts of the state.
As a governor, I know that you love what is in front of you. But soldiers will always love what is behind them. In places like Oyigbo, Mile 3 and co, I hope you know there have been heavy shooting in these areas with lives and property reportedly damaged? This is not good for the state.
In earnest, I plead with you to defend the lives of Rivers residents against whoever that had prepared to devour them. It is not good to kill and destroy people’s property. Rivers shouldn’t be left to appear weak in these times of trial when you are known as a strong man who can go to any length to defend Truth and especially, what you believe in.
Sir, it is pertinent at this time to learn from The Art of War by Sun Tsu. Bring peace in Rivers State by not fighting. Man can die for many causes but none is worth killing. Rivers is at the verge of experiencing Lekki’s fate and collectively, we should not allow this to happen. There could have been provocations here and there but peace remains supreme. Hence, do make sure that Rivers State is safe and the remaining lives and property are intact.
It won’t be in your good name for posterity if you don’t use your executive power to stop the marauding soldiers. They could have been provoked but they should remember that this is a democracy and not autocracy. They should use their intelligence measures to work and not turning to happy-trigger soldiers they are turning to against residents with sporadic gunshots becoming the unpleasant music we hear in the air.
Sir, I am very sure that this message will touch your heart and the appropriate measures will be put in place to stop soldiers from turning some parts of the state like Oyigbo to a battlefield. Yes, some individuals might have provoked the sanity of the state but not all the residents should be treated as mad people.
Long Live Gov. Wike!
Long Live Rivers State!!!
Long Live Peace in Rivers!!!
Oct. 23 2020.
GUNSHOTS: Wike, Thanks For Speaking Up
Your Excellency, Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. Greetings sir.
Thank You for speaking up about the unrest in some parts of the state within hours, something that took a particular leader some two weeks to do. Within 12hrs, after I called your attention of the happenings in places like Oyigbo and Rumukwurushi in two open letters, you showed that you have a human soul. Thank You.
I would not like to delve into the politics of proscribing a particular group. Government and the group have a right to settle their scores. I believe they both will achieve this soonest. What I would like to discuss is whether peace has returned to these areas.
Then again, I had thought that you would have set up a committee to evaluate the damage recorded in these areas and look into what led to the supposed break up of law and order before taking the stance you have taken. Please, sir, I am not challenging your Executive Order, but I will like you to remember that public opinion is part of governance. This is what I am just doing.
There is no better law that would stand in any given environment in the absence of peace. My position is for you to make sure that the wanton shootings in Oyigbo is rescinded. It is only when people have started wearing smiles again should we know that peace has returned to Oyigbo where scores have become victims of an avoidable impasse.
Regarding Iriebe, it behooves you to monitor the activities of traders in the markets in the area closely and investigate if any section of the markets took laws into their hands during the EndSARS brouhaha. If any section of the markets is found to have caused a break of law and order, such a market and their traders should be thoroughly sanctioned just like you have further proscribed a group in the state.
Peace is an essential commodity that will keep the state moving forward to its utopian height. I am awake by 2am writing you because peace has eluded the environment, peace is now selfish, intolerant and impatient. Sounds of gunshots are still buzzing out from some quarters. I had thought that you would tell security agents to sheathe their swords but attack only when they are confronted with firearms by any person or organization. Rather than do this, reports from Oyigbo is that due to the reckless shootings, many unsuspecting members of the public have been pulled down in their houses by what we should rather characterise as stray bullet. But te bullets didn’t just leave the gun, someone projected it, hence such a bullet is not stray but rather a projected bullet.
Sir, I wanted you to resolve the subject matter with understanding which brings peace, not with peace that passes understanding. Rivers State has to start making peace. This will help humanity here. The peace I am looking at is the type where people are nice to each other and government uses power of love to conquer love of power.
Your Excellency, there is no freedom in the absence of peace. The residents should be free from fear to talk, walk in the streets and sundry. Sir, it will be in the interest of all if you understand that no nation has achieved peace by force. With due respect, you need to understand in humility of activities going on in the state. Make the state to have inner peace. Create peace in Oyigbo, Iriebe, Rumukwurushi and watch its maintenance.
Oct. 24 2020.
Oyigbo Residents Fleeing
The Army has resorted to wanton destructions,
and the dead is only thing they want.
Fear has prepared residents to flee, while
unnecessary anger becomes army’s logo.
Young men are not tired of running. No one
stands his ground. All hiding behind shadows.
Residents are fleeing just as that part of
brain which kills stress has been killed with turmoils.
Army is not only prepared for fighting, but
are fighting undercover battle. There’s conflict.
Lost has become the destination of many,
fright the living now wear as toga.
Army has refused to run to peace: The reason
they are stationed in Oyigbo. But rather wearing
the town to fatigue, weariness being
residents habit. Let Odi Massacre not repeat.
How can an actor who was born to touch
legs on stage now touches legs on grave?
This is the fate of residents fleeing
their abodes their hearts are left behind.
Let the governor discern something
from within. When life is full of running
runners should come back with roses,
not woes and hues. They can’t breathe.
Let chasing and fleeing residents
not be the problem-solution.
Oct. 25 2020.
Wike And The Proscribed Org.
Every governor of a state has a right to implement any decision that has democratic flavour in his state. For Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to have proscribed a particular organization in his state is left for the authorities to scrutinise.
What I am concerned about is his command following the proscription that LGAs chairmen, chiefs, youths in the state should fish out the members of the organization. If this is the way Wike had thought he can bring the organization to a halt in his state, I am not sure it will be the best approach.
We are living in a country where some people use undue advantage against each other. Wike’s order could get out of hand and become something sinister than the fear he had thought he was about to curb. The youths could use this against each other by fishing out their ‘enemies’ for the purpose of vendetta. As a result, the monkey that was given a cup to drink with, retrieving it from the monkey could be a Herculean task.
I would solicit that the governor as a matter progressivism has to consult wide before coming to certain Executive Order. The country is already at its hibernating peak and it wouldn’t be nice to ask youths to fish out supposed culprits in the society.
However, Wike’s statement could be an oversight but what I think it was supposed to be was that the community leaders should aid security men and women in combatting crimes. Wike has to know that language is very ambiguous and while using it, one should make sure he or she comes down to the true meaning of what such language was intended to represent else some persons will see a dog as a pet while others will see the same dog as a dangerous animal.
Oct. 27 2020.
Wike: Let IPOB Not Be Emotional
A fortnight, the Governor of Rivers State, Barr Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike affirmed the proscription of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) in his state. I have read the transcript of his statement and also watched the video. I have also read some comments by the supposed members of the IPOB and they were not smiling over that statement by Wike. Judging the statement by Wike and those of IPOB, I discovered that the two parties were emotional in their different causes.
Governor Wike was moved by emotions to make the pronouncement in order to protect his state or maybe after his security Intelligence acquinted him with carnage that happened in Oyigbo in the event of #EndSARS empasse.
No governor under the oath of a given state would allow his domain be ruined by any body or organization. No governor across the country would allow organizations such as Dey Gbam or Deywell to function. I, for one, was not saying that the ruins recorded in Oyigbo during the peak of #EndSARS were caused by IPOB.
What I had expected from the IPOB hierarchy and it’s authorities was to reach out to Wike diplomatically instead of heaping threats and insults around him. By so doing they could understand him better and operate within the ambits of the law governing the country which Wike took oath on. Rather, the IPOB members started behaving above the board by insulting Wike.
I am not holding brief for Wike nor IPOB. What I was saying is that IPOB should have not allowed emotions becloud their sense of reason when Wike made that proscription pronouncement. Wike was ready to keep an oath on the Nigerian Constitution with his last breathe as governor.
It could be recalled that he was not after IPOB alone. When COVID-19 tension was high in the country and there were lockdowns, Wike seized not only trailers and goods of some persons from a tribe in the country who disobeyed the Executive Order of the State but he also detained the persons. He didn’t care if the persons were Ikwerre, Ngwa, Ahoada, Kanuri etc. He did it to protect the oath he took to govern Rivers under the laws of Nigeria, not under the laws of anyone or organization.
I, for one, know how dangerous oath can be. This also could be what Wike was after. The IPOB was supposed to be proud of Wike because the voice that came under his throat against IPOD had never been heard before. Till recently, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never stopped praising Wike for his kindness towards him (Kanu). So, what came over IPOB after Wike made the statement that they could not retrospect how kind he has been to any peaceful protest. It was expected of IPOB to investigate the degree of what happened in Oyigbo and come out with blueprint that will exonerate or implicate its members. It didn’t do that. Rather, emotions were released and all were calling for Wike’s head.
If Wike said Rivers State belonged to the Niger Delta, this was his conviction. He needs intellectual engagement to dissuade his mind to believe otherwise. Life shouldn’t be about insult and raising over-the-board-voice where not necessary. Mountains have risen and fell, the sun withered, land claimed the sea, but what must be must be. So, let all and sundry keep calm. Tommorow is unpredictable and overwhelming.
Wike is needed more whether in the South-South, Southeast or Niger Delta than few irrationally aggrieved persons maybe calling for his head because he joined the Federal roadmap that Proscribed IPOB.
Proscription is not the end of any organization facing such fate like the IPOB. What any sane organization does is to rebrand when hit by controversy inlieu of giving the impression that it has the power to give life or take life.
Oct. 28 2020.
IPOB: Who Are The Niger Deltans?
I have learnt early in life that the enemies outside can’t hurt one if not permitted by the enemies inside. As a result, enemies are being created inside the Niger Delta because insiders allowed it. They allowed it when a section of the Niger Delta has shown divisive tendencies as if they solely own the Niger Delta. For instance, after Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State proscribed IPOB and said that his state is Niger Delta, some uncordinated voices from Bayelsa warned the IPOB that they are Niger Delta. This divisive behaviours among the parties compelled me to check again if there are no longer nine states that made up the Niger Delta.
My entreaty showed me that the Niger Delta region of Nigeria comprises nine states: Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers. So, how come certain states in the South-South think they are more Niger Delta than others? This is appalling and a divisive approach among states who were supposed to hold a strong bond. They avoided the mantra which states that divided we fall but United we stand. Besides, it is very wrong for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to see the #EndSARS protest in any parts of the states in South-South as the handiwork of the IPOB. This is a misplacement of aggression. There could have been a crop of the IPOB members in the protests but this should not be misconstrued as an IPOB protest. If any security officer from any parts of the country died in the cause of the protest in the South-South, this doesn’t also mean that IPOB was responsible. Let the IYC quide its perception about the #EndSARS protest.
I have been preaching peace before and since the protest started across the country till today, and if we agree that the Niger Delta is not all about the states in the South-South, we should stop this glaring divisive mindset which has been the occupation of certain states that claim Niger Delta above others. We should learn from a statement such as Suzy Kassem’s below:
“The most dangerous people in the world are not the tiny minority instigating evil acts, but those who do the acts for them. For example, when the British invaded India, many Indians accepted to work for the British to kill off Indians who resisted their occupation. So in other words, many Indians were hired to kill other Indians on behalf of the enemy for a paycheck. Today, we have mercenaries in Africa, corporate armies from the western world, and unemployed men throughout the Middle East killing their own people – and people of other nations – for a paycheck. To act without a conscience, but for a paycheck, makes anyone a dangerous animal. The devil would be powerless if he couldn’t entice people to do his work. So as long as money continues to seduce the hungry, the hopeless, the broken, the greedy, and the needy, there will always be war between brothers.”
The above narrative may be what is happening in the collective and expensive Niger Delta that was supposed to unite, but sadly, the enemy has planted seed of discord among people who were brothers but were divided on the pursuit for paltry. If we agree that there are nine states that made up the Niger Delta, we should understand that a Leonardo da Vinci warns against kingdom dividing against each other.
Vinci warns, “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.” Let Niger Deltans not turn themselves into slaves just for the shear hatred of unity. Let’s learn from the writings of Suzy Kassem:
“When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother. Mankind should always stay united, standing shoulder to shoulder so evil can never cheat and divide them.”
How long shall we (the Niger Deltans) in Nigeria continue to divide ourselves among caste, creed, culture? We should understand that what is undivided remains most the jewel.
Oct. 28 2020.
Problem In Oyigbo
The problem in our Oyigbo started
from innocence. Now all are running.
Soldiers are in sporadic shooting,
like they are in shooting range.
From definitively wicked, we hope
to see Oyigbo in truly peace.
How can the inhabitants deserve mercy
when what they want is justice?
Wickedness is often promoted to
punish good men,
when naughtiness replaces morality.
Wickedness has brought sorrow, and some
say no one succeeds without being wicked
on his way.
This is an obscene story, where the world is
full of wickedness. When did Oyigbo turn to
torturous executioner’s ground?
We hope to seeing unrelenting vindictiveness,
and ask humanity to stop reading
history of wickedness.
Detest such a history, as you could
to every form of cruelty.
Let mankind be strong in gentleness, hence
there won’t be a place left for hatred.
Oct. 29 2020.
Problem In Oyigbo (2)
Oyigbo residents can’t find
the meaning of sleep in the dictionary
since the soldiers came into town. Soldiers believe that to reform the people,
you have to kill them all, and
burn their houses.
Something strange has befallen the ones
precious Oyigbo. There is horror, killer, monster
in one little town at the same time. Soldiers have driven sane people to madness,
dignitaries to their knees.
The moment is not for soul searching but of
How can we get back the Oyigbo that was
a ray of sunshine? This is a serious issue.
Let’s write a book on Oyigbo and title it:
Let this carnage stop. I know justice
will prevail later. But people are being
mowed down by pellets like a serial killer
is let loose. The soldiers invasion is spreading
more than Corona Virus, more than a pandemic
and through the window, the sun turns bloody,
and you can read all isn’t well in Oyigbo.
Oct. 30 2020.
Problem In Oyigbo (3)
Today, Abiriba and Ohafia quarters
fell in the hands of soldiers,
we don’t know whether to call them
peacemakers or peace-maimers.
Houses were touched, just as
humans have been lost since
they started the occupation of
peacekeeping or peacekickers in town.
Single word can’t cover the broken emotions,
in a land where language is patriarchal.
People watch the language of gun in Oyigbo
that can’t be captured with the mind.
The heart is reading a book with title:
Recklessness, with dangerous faults
written by soldiers. This is hurtful policies,
with cruelty and domination.
This is not a magic splash. Oyigbo
is shot at and captured in fear.
Even in the abodes, you don’t know
who will breathe last by the soldiers’ pellets.
Oct. 30 2020.
Problem In Oyigbo (4)
There is always a painful emotion
aroused by the unhappy mood of another.
When did you fortify your heart
against the suffering of the other?
Some people have no help,
they only survive by a pang of pity.
Let’s pity those who don’t feel
anything at all
who don’t have a tender heart
for lives lost and property destroyed.
Be glad if you have a human heart,
Oyigbo is crying while half-asleep.
Do not pity and call it passion, or
flatter her and call it love, or
call tension peace, or
call gossip news.
Oyigbo shouldn’t be subjugated
when anyone has the chance, and
don’t strike her without need, when
shelter of compassion ought be her reward.
We should always read the signpost
On it leads to the street
where vengeance is sent on errand.
Pity is a gift of a gentle heart.
Oct. 30 2020.
Problem In Oyigbo (5)
Soldiers have put Oyigbo in coma
for over a week. Shooting is
different from curfew. Many spines
have been smashed in sporadic shootings.
Now, very shortly, people will start
to raise dishonourable graves of their
once loved ones felled by reckless pellets
of petty men defending a flag
they soaked in blood at Lekki Massacre
when the world became narrowest.
There are a lot of lonely people in the world,
left to remember nothing but pain, and
Oyigbo will be digging the biggest grave
where relics of unrest will be buried.
Oct. 31 2020.