The events in Imo state in recent times is not only worrisome but dangerous in a democracy. Ranging from the aerial bombings of suspected members of IPOB to the clashes between the supporters of the current Governor Hope Uzodinma and Former governor Rochas Okorocha.
It is submitted that if the activities in Imo State is not properly handled and curtailed, it will definitely have a negative effect on the other southeast states. It should be noted that since after the Nigerian Civil war there has not been any aerial bombing of any part of Southeast states by the military except the recent bombings of areas in the Orlu Senatorial Zone of Imo State.
There have been reports of killings of innocent citizens in the military onslaught in Orlu, but the state government was quick come out to justify the killings and further stated that it invited the military because of the activities of people whom the state government referred to as hoodlums.
It is unfortunate that any reasonable government in a democracy will justify aerial bombing of civilians; the situation in Orlu was not that of war and we submit that the aerial bombings and military attacks on civilians could not be justified both under national and international law. In aerial bombardment of civilian areas there is now way it can be safely assumed that innocent civilians were not killed.
The action of the state government in inviting the military and justifying the military onslaught is not only barbaric but also illegal and unconstitutional.
Secondly, on the events resulting to the confrontation between Rochas Okorocha supporters and Governor Hope Uzodima. The confrontation was uncalled for, only that both parties preferred to resort to the rule of the Jungle instead of respecting the Rule of Law.
The state government is the most culpable because in the over 20 years of our democracy experience there have been laid down legal procedure for dealing with past state governors who looted their state treasuries. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has performed creditably in ensuring that in all the states of the Federation past Governors who looted their state treasuries are properly investigated.
Why we find the actions of the State government disturbing in this matter is that all the property the state government said it got a court order from its’ state high court to confiscate, are the same properties the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission made subject to the action it filed before the Federal High Court Portharcourt and the action is still pending before the Federal High Court.
These situations portend danger to the judiciary as politicians continue to undermine the judiciary for their selfish interests. We submit that it is judicial recklessness and rascality for the Imo State High Court to give an order in respect of a matter which it was very much aware was instituted by a Federal agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before the Federal High Court.
We call on the National Judicial Council (NJC), to urgently look into this issue and if it is found out that the Honorable Judge of the Imo State High Court who gave the said order was aware of the pendency of the action instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before the Federal Court but decided to frustrate the EFCC and The Federal High Court in the administration of justice, the judge should be dismissed by the National Judicial Council.
Enough of Politicians using Judiciary as a readymade tool they can use anyhow. The integrity of the judiciary should at all times be protected for democracy to thrive in this country.
For: Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN);
Comrade Omotayo, a lawyer is acivil rights activist, former Zonal Coordinator of CLO in Enugu.