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Gov. Ugwuanyi’s Enduring Peace Legacy in Eha-mufu: Whither Commendation?

By AnchorNews   | 22 Dec, 2022 04:03:29pm | 98 views

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By Prince Ejeh Josh

Concerned about the jurisprudence behind the constitution of government and the fundamental prism from which every legislative goal should be viewed, the first century Roman lawyer, writer and philosopher, Marcus Cicero, was often vociferous about the general safety, security and welfare of the people in the society. 

According to Cicero, the safety of the people “shall” be the highest law of the land. Subsequently, countries have modelled their constitutions in line with this timeless classical aphorism, prioritizing the security and welfare of their people. The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is emphatic about this guarantee and places a burden of responsibility on the government on what its primary objective should be.

Section 14 (2)(b) of the constitution tersely provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” of Nigeria. This provision has both legal and moral implications imposed on those aspiring to lead, and, indeed, those leading the country across the federal delineation of Nigeria. 

Leadership should be about the security of life and property of the citizens. Nobody should be deprived the right to life unlawfully. This entails that government must maintain monopoly of force and deploy all the instruments enabled by the law to safeguard its people and protect them from both external and internal predators. 

However, the present situations in Nigeria are proving antithetical to the above. The night is getting even more darker in our clime. Insecurity is spiraling and has proliferated with mutant versions. Today, there’s a multi-dimensional shift in the security breach. The Boko Haram terrorists, barbaric bandits, kidnappers, unknown gunmen, Fulani herders, and so on are all having a field day in the country. Nigerians are being senselessly slaughtered by these callous marauders. In some parts of the country, orchestrated coordinated killings by Fulani herdsmen have become a recurring decimal.

And one would ask the question about the fundamental responsibility imposed on the government, and how the government is discharging it. The federal government, which the constitution has arrogated monopoly of force—the army, police, secret security service, civil defence, etc - controls the arms and ammunition,  and has seemingly failed in its primary purpose of protecting the citizens. 

Despite this, some governors have assumed the responsibility of insulating their states from the grip of national insecurity. Until recently, Enugu State was adjudged the most peaceful, safest and secure state to live in the country. This is where Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has suprintended over the state as governor for over 7 years, came in. He has refused to fold his arms or stand akimbo waiting for the federal government to do its work when it’s obvious the government at the centre has ultimately lost  the battles and the war. 

He took the gauntlet and walked the tortuous journey of protecting his citizens from the thickening darkness of insecurity, enveloping the country. Enugu State became the beehive for tourists attraction and the state recorded influx of migrants who were running away from their states as a result of what Thomas Hobbes, the legendary English Philosopher, called state of nature where life is brutish, nasty and short. 

However, to use the terms employed by the 18th century economists, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick, to analyze the temporary puncture in the security architecture of the state due to overbearing pressure from neighboring states bedeviled by insecurity, the “spill over effect” of this continual pressure was the recent security breaches in Eha-Amufu communities like Mgbuji, Agu-Amede and other communities within Eha-Amufu in Isi Uzo Local Government Council where the locals were besieged by Fulani marauders, leading to attacks and reprisal attacks, resulting in loss of lives and property.

The incidents were, to be euphemistic, unfortunate, disheartening and condemnable in their entirety. The country’s security agencies have not done much to curb these incessant, brazen attacks on innocent citizens; perhaps,an attempt at sabotaging the state’s efforts to continue to insulate the citizens from insecurity? 

Notwithstanding the puzzling disenchantment from the inability of the federal government that controls the security architecture, the public cannot deny the decisive, far-reaching steps Governor Ugwuanyi continues to take to ensure his people are protected from violation from non-state actors and other militia groups. 

To de-escalate the festering crises which are resultant of communal land disagreement, local community politics and the conspiracy of the few elites from the area, who had already compromised with Fulani settlers, Ugwuanyi had, on countless number of occasions, visited the affected communities, suing for peace, engaging in diplomacy, and where necessary, provide reliefs and get the warring parties to arrive at peace resolutions.

Often, the representatives of these communities are invited to meetings by the governor to remind them of their resolutions and the need to continue to live in harmony. Sadly, contravention of these resolutions are rifle and orchestrated by some few political elements who had already engaged their own organised cells to destabilize the area.

The motive behind their acts of fomenting and inciting crises was to paint the state government in bad light. But Ugwuanyi has not rested on his oars.To him, making all the parts of the state as secure as a safe haven for every law-abiding citizen remains a priority. This ecumenical philosophy of his could have motivated his recent, award-winning diplomatic move to seal the peace deal in Eha-mufu and, indeed, the state in general, when he exhaustively constituted peace think-tanks from and outside these communities, got all interests involved, and reconciliation was reached.

According to the warring parties, it’s never again to the jungle of crisis. Never again to spilling of blood. Never again will Eha-Amufu go back to the trenches of battlefield regardless of the few political desperados who are want at thriving in scenes of destabilization. It is strongly our hope that nobody, group or community will breach the peace deal or go into bellicosity after these steps taken by Ugwuanyi to make Eha-Amufu safer again.

When the question of what motivated him into going the extent he had gone in restoring peace to the Eha-Amufu people, Governor Ugwuanyi, like the former Connecticut governor, was quoted as saying; “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security for his people.

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