The Ekeukwu market mayhem: a call for Okorocha’s impeachment
The biggest atrocity committed on mankind happened recently in Imo State. As I watched Channels TV news on Youtube and read reports on online media, the media had been awash with stories on Ekeukwu Owerri, Imo State Market demolition; how the Governor of the state did not only go against a court injunction, but went ahead to carry a forceful demolition of the market at the expense of the lives that voted him into office. What appeared to be a shoot aside order had occurred on that fateful day. An order by the governor not against criminality, but against human beings going about their daily existence for subsistence. Blood was shed by those supposed to protect humanity; and huge lives were lost. The Nigerian Police Force(NPF), the Nigerian Army and other security operatives fulsome to the governor had carried out their orders neatly not minding innocent lives lost.
I also watched and read with great disdain as the governor pride himself further by unapologetically turning down appeals from concerned citizens urging the governor to borrow a human heart, which to me it seemed he had lost to pay damages to families for their irreparable loss that lost their members.
As hearts bleed, souls cry one question that is left to ask is if there is ever hope for a state like Imo where men are all boys, and cowards at that, that would never wake up any day to face their challenge head on. The state governor is the challenge that should be faced head on through the same process that brought him to office.
Even the simplest of sleeps eludes one’s very eyes when the very thought of those very bloods that were spilled on that fateful Saturday. It will be easy to quote scriptures and utter words of condolences; but how far will that go to recover the loss that relates to life. Mothers shed utter tears finding it difficult to come to terms with the thought that their children murdered in cold blood are gone, and gone forever.
Little will wonder that the same Imo state governor, Mr. Rochas Anayo Okorocha swore on assumption to office to respect and obey the constitution two times he held wields the stick of power. The constitution provides for separation of powers amongst the legislature, executive and the judiciary. While everyone before the surface of that very earth he treads on is bound to obey court injunctions, but he on this fateful day deliberately floated this order issued by an Owerri High court presided by Hon. Justice T. E. Chikeka preventing him from demolishing the Ekeukwu market.
The governor’s actions of Saturday go against the same constitution he swore to respect, which constitutes very clear impeachable offence. But from all indication the legislature saddled with such responsibility as to check the governor have not only been compromised but have been pocketed into inactivity before the very glare of public accountability.
Constitutional rights are being violated, properties lost in broad day light. The Ekeukwu Owerri market is by the state constitution (4th schedule) supposedly under the management and control of Owerri Municipal council. But Okorocha usurped the powers of the Local Government (LG).
Most ailing about this act is that the buildings he ordered demolition were built by private citizens and companies with hard won funds borrowed from banks. The owners of these shops collect rents from traders while the LG generate revenues.
The arrangement of collective bargain by private and local government partnership is to last for 99 years. But with the whisk of one man under the drunkenness of power people’s investments and livelihood have been destroyed.
This is a clear violation of sections 1,6,33,44 of the constitution. While Sections 316 and 319 deals with murders also violated.
The truth is that the Military has been bought over and totally detached from the people. What moved against the people of Owerri and Imolites at the weekend was a combined stage-managed force of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, DSS, Police, Civil Defence, Imo Security Network, and hundreds of thugs we hear were hired from the Ohaji Egbema axis of the state.
Now the level of terror visited on the small Owerri community cannot be imagined.
Should the governor want that market so badly being strategic would have been the best option. A town hall meeting with stakeholders of the market would have been people oriented enough for a governor.
It is not only illegal and criminal for a governor to deploy military forces on civil matter turning a democratic dispensation into a military regime.
If force and brute is Okorocha’s only trump card, then he has completely lost the people. Using military muscle that deployed to Eke Ukwu Owerri on Saturday is the most charlatan of all for a state governor.
The military should be court marshalled for meddling into civil matters and the consequences should be such that it will serve as future deterrent.
People of Imo State especially youths, must stand up to stamp out injustices meted against them. A referendum is necessary at this point to recall Okorocha from the seat of power if the legislature, so now bought over lack the will power to impeach him. For this singular act of Saturday justice should take its course, he ( Okorocha) should be treated as not only one who has broken the law but a murderer. He must face the law.
No longer should this broad day bloodthirsty madness happen again in the history of the state.
I call on Imo State Chief Judge and other legal authorities to prosecute Governor Rochas Okorocha for violating section 1,6,33,44, 314 and 319 of our Nation’s constitution.
Cynthia U. Opurum
(Human Right Activist and Imolite in diasporas)