Our dear city of Owerri had its peace and tranquillity shattered by heavily armed hoodlums who blasted open the doors of the correctional facility, facilitating the escape of well over 1,000 inmates; many of whom were dangerous criminals.
They also attacked the police headquarters at “Shell Camp” burning several vehicles and even attempting to overtake the police armoury, if not for the effective resistance of the police.
An attack on the critical institutions of law enforcement, police stations and prisons is an attack on the safety, security and well being of the citizens.
It is not merely an attack on law and order. It is a mindless attack on the people and the way of life of the people. When you attack police stations and free dangerous criminals, you put women, men, children and their possessions and livelihoods at risk.
Whatever the motives of the perpetrators, the action is egregious and atrocious in the extreme and all men and women of goodwill must openly condemn this assault on the way of life of the good people of this State.
Perhaps more than any other part of the country, this region has borne witness to the terrible cost of lives, liberty and progress that is caused by conflict.
It is in this beautiful land, that our county learned an enduring lesson on the futility of violence. But there are those who believe that to resolve issues and conflicts other than by violence is cowardliness.
If the voices of their hatred prevails we will experience the terrible and fruitless loss of life that violence begets. Our system is not perfect, and we can seek to perfect it.
There is no earthly system that is perfect, but what democracy and the institutions of democratic governance provide, are channels, however imperfect for seeking redress for injury, for peacefully addressing the problems that ail us.
There are many who are working tirelessly everyday to improve our system, to build up and to enhance it. We must therefore, reject the agents of anarchy that seek to weaponize the frustration and discontent of young people, for their own profit.
The path of violence can only lead to disaster, that consumes everyone, at least to the desolation of our communities. It is easy to take peace for granted, but we need not learn the value of peace through the horrible crucible of war.
Anyone who perpetrates violence does not represent the progressive mindedness of the good people of this State & this region. I call on all of us to come together to resist any attempts to turn the progress and peace that this zone is set to experience to conflict and disruption.
The security in this city and the State since yesterday have been further enhanced and we expect to strengthen security capacity even more here. The search for the escaped inmates of the correctional facility has begun in earnest.
I especially want to thank the governor of the state for his calm, measured but firm handling of the security situation in the State. The Federal Government stands with you, and the great people of Imo State at this very crucial time.
Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN,
Federal Republic of Nigeria.