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EDITORIAL

Awo Mmamma saga: Compounding military, society’s strained relationship

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IN THE aftermath of the release of Lagos State #EndSARS Panel reports which underlined serious areas of concern of military operation at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the Nigerian Army  has come under public upbraid for reported malfeasance, especially the  shooting and killing of unarmed civilians at the Lekki Toll Gate. Sadly, the soldiers had gone ahead to  muddle up the  military’s image in their operations in South East Zone. They are compounding the situation with the current violence meted on the people of Awo Mmamma, Imo State.

  AS REPORTED in the media, Awo Mmamma community in Oru East L.G.A of Imo State came under a severe attack by the military after gunmen, allegedly killed a soldier at Ishieke Junction. In retaliation, the military  invaded the town and reportedly burnt houses, hotels, cars and shops in the  manner of visiting mayhem on an enemy community.

  OVER time, Nigerians have witnessed and cried against the  total destruction of communities by the Nigerian military after soldiers have reportedly  been killed. In such Nigerian communities as Zaki-Ibiam, Zangon Kataf, Odi and Izombe  among others,  the vast demolition of homes and property by vengeful soldiers as well as killings are still evident, decades after the saga.  The trauma still live in children’s minds.

These unlawful acts of soldiers happen regularly even when they are against local and international laws guiding military operation and internal security enforcement. However, not acceptable is the killing of such vital officers of state as soldiers on national duty. 

  NATIONAL Light condemns the killing of soldiers or security agents for whatever reason and urges the authorities in Imo State and Awo Mmamma to ensure that those who committed the crime are brought to book. People should know that killing of  humans in any manner, let alone of soldiers is serious crime against  God, humanity and state and direct attack against  Nigeria. Such actions come with grave consequences.

  NOTWITHSTANDING, the soldiers have no justification to take laws into their hands to compound an already bad situation. Under no condition should they raise arms or use force on unarmed communities as the world has gone beyond such strategy in dealing with civilians. Such abuse of power and office is criminalised under human right acts. 

Again, there is no gain in soldiers unleashing mayhem on the society they are supposed to protect.  Besides, it is not likely that everybody in the community is part of the plan to kill soldiers or security agents. If events like the current one in Imo State are not settled diplomatically, it might escalate, resulting to casualties on both sides of the divide – the community and the military.

  NATIONAL Light, therefore, calls on the army to fish out the soldiers that implemented the action in Awo Mmamma and bring them to book. Nothing outside that will bring succour and solution to the problem.

   ABOVE  all, the army should work towards building a strong and better relationship with communities to help in the fight against banditry, terrorism and insurgency,  kidnapping among others.

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