OUR country with its myriad of challenges still had generous media space for the arrest of Uche Nwosu, whose claim to fame lies in being the son-in-law of Rochas Okorocha, a former Governor of Imo State. He was arrested in a church on 26 December.
Uche, on the back of his father-in-law was Chief of Staff to Okorocha, and a former almost Governor of Imo State. Webs he earned from his relationship with Okorocha dominated discussions on his arrest as if being Okorocha’s son-in-law confirmed him an instant outlaw.
These debates are anchored on karma visiting Okorocha and Nwosu rather than the daily diminishing of law and order that the authorities have conveniently waved into operations of security agencies.
List of Okorocha’s violation of churches, as Governor, are making rounds of the social media to justify the incident. The conclusion is that it served Okorocha and Nwosu right since they behaved worse while in power.
There was public outrage then about Okorocha and Nwosu. Are these suggestions that the police were on a revenge mission on behalf of the public? Outside a statement that the police, not unknown gunmen, carried out the attack – arrest – the police have said nothing about the urgency of the offence that they had to storm a church, with service in progress, to arrest Nwosu.
Acceptance of lawlessness makes law enforcement look worse than the chaos the police are supposed to curb. Is there an operational code for the police? Does it approve the fear and trauma the police visited on congregants at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama-Obaire, Nkwerre Council of Imo State? Will shooting inside the church be acceptable in an operation nobody attacked the operatives? Why must the arrest be inside a church?
Imagine how brazen the police can get! They were impressed enough with their successful operation to share pictures of their captive, shirt gone, and handcuffed. Many say Nwosu deserved worse. What does the law say?
Governor Hope Uzodinma got copious mentions over the incident. Most of them blamed him for the arrest of Nwosu. Some insisted that he ordered every detail of the operation, facilitating its execution with the provision of vehicles from Government House, Owerri, and ensuring that only trusted officers were involved.
Do the police now take instructions from Governors? Or can the police take a Governor’s orders for certain operations, like invasion of a church? Will the police also obey a Governor’s orders when they are for the common good?
The allegations against Governor Uzodinma grew more wings when the Governor apologised for the invasion of the church. The police have made no apology nor commented on the attack beyond admitting they did it.
More concerns should be on images of lawlessness, waste of public resources, and abuse of powers that the attack enacted. They are more damaging to the larger society than any tiffs between the extensive Okorocha family and Governor Uzodinma.
By Nwosu’s account, he was flown with a private jet from Enugu to Abuja where he was supposed to answer to a petition against him. Who paid for the private jet? Is it possible public funds were used? If the expenditure was from private resources, what was the person’s interest? How would the massive investment in the arrest affect the path of injustice the matter is following?
Nwosu was a free man hours after the drama. The public still has no idea what Nwosu’s offences were outside speculations that the arrest was a fall out of differences between Governor Uzodinma and Okorocha, currently a Senator. The curtain has been drawn on the drama until the next episode.
The likelihood of the police officers involved in the raid being punished is low. Nwosu must be satisfied with the quick resolution of the matter. He was full of praises for the professionalism of the Inspector-General of Police, whatever professionalism means these days.
His early release leaves some pips on Nwosu’s shoulders as one of the most important people in Nigeria. He is not one to be detained not even when the police reportedly claimed they acted with “orders from above”.
The IG was aware of his case and acted with promptitude unbecoming of the police or most public services. How many of the thousands of petitions Nigerians send to the IG get attention?
Imo State has got into the news again for all the wrong reasons. In the dedicated pursuit of illegalities our governments embrace, nobody would be punished for invading a church or abridging rights of Nwosu and the congregants of St. Peter’s. Episode two could be in the works.
Private disagreement between politicians should be settled away from endangering the public. We have enough troubles without inheriting more from those who make a game of disrupting lives of ordinary people – this time in church.
Nigerians are daily wearied by these abuses of power and their executions that squander scarce resources. They also make the environment unsafer.
SHOULD the public interest in Titan Bank’s acquisition of Union Bank be fleeting? Official records indicate that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, used public funds to “stabilise” Union Bank at certain points since 2011. Were the funds repaid?
BAD news spread fast was on the 26 December fire at Next Cash & Carry Supermarket in Abuja. It swept away the goodness that some Nigerians showed in rescuing goods from the shop. Initial reports called them looters, but FCT Police confirmed that they were good Nigerians who secured the goods.
DECIDE your 2022. Terms and conditions will always be inflicted by government policies but be readier to negotiate your life. Things are not about to be easier. President Muhammadu Buhari is still borrowing. Happy New Year. Welcome to 2022. You didn’t get this far to give up.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues