The Imo Insecurity, Media Management And Threats


By Henry Ekpe

Since Easter of 2020 dare devil Hoodlums stormed the Correctional Centre (Prison) and Police Headquarter, Owerri, Imo, the State has known no peace. It has been a case of blowing hot and cold situation.

However, it could be said that the Insecurity has drastically reduced from the critical height it assumed two years ago.

We now hear of sporadic incidents within the hinterlands and occasional rogueries in the Capital City, Owerri.

We have moved away from the dangerous days when the Messengers of death frequently entered Owerri to duel with security operatives in the broad day light.

Much as the situation has reduced quite significantly, but the issue of Insecurity still dogs Imo State.

The recent one was the horrendous attack of the residence of Ikenga Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, candidate for Ideato Federal Constituency, in his Akokwa Village home.

Although, unfortunately, the residences of the sitting Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has been attacked in this senseless marauding in the State.

Also visited with this barbaric action  was the house of the Imo State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Barr Cyril Akaolisa, that of Commissioner for Commerce, Ford Ozumba, the home of the now late Ohaneze President, Ambassador Obiozor. And too many others.

But nothing in magnitude of damage came close to that of Ikenga. The carnage was humongous both in plan and action.

In these mayhems visited on Imo State and its citizens, it must be made known that it is the height of wickedness and destruction taking too far. And it does not matter whether the victim is a Governor, Commissioner or a private citizen. The acts are inhuman and must be condemned in totality.

Frankly speaking, one had thought that by now, the Imo State Government led by Senator Hope Uzodinma would have since devised a means to curb the Insecurity inferno, or at least nabbed one of the perpetrators, to use him/ her as a deterrent to others. One person should have been used as an example to others who would try such act. But after three years and still counting all we hear are stories.

Unfortunately, all Imo people hear is about fictitious name callings, without real substance to hold on to and convince the citizens, that there is serious efforts to fight the menace.

Even at a time, the Government assured Imo people that the names of the perpetrators would be made public. This gladdened the heart of Imo people, and they were very ready to hear the names of these major sponsors, and not the rag tag miscreants paraded by police occasionally.

But to the surprise of many Imo citizens, including those in Government, the “Name ceremony” could not hold. Even up till now.

So, what Imo people have been inundated with are   stories from the Government that the Insecurity is “Politically Sponsored”. But who are these Politicians?

A matter of Insecurity is a serious issue and cannot be reduced to a “Political Thing”. The major assignment for every Chief Executive of a State is Security of live and property.

It is clearly stated out in the Nigerian Constitution.

The reason is simply because an area troubled by chaos and mayhem cannot attract any development, since peace drives progress.

However, one of the confusions bedeviling the Insecurity in Imo is the lack of a clear cut source of information dissemination in the whole saga. There is no synergy, organization or control of communicating with Imo people, the Government position at any time the Hoodlums strike.

What Government must realize is that information is a strong weapon, both at peace and war times. Therefore information can be used positively or negatively, depending on how the Government wants to manage the Communication.

The Insecurity in Imo State has been reduced or persisted among the populace due the information management mechanism of Government.

In a war situation, Information can calm the citizens, or put them on edge depending on the Information managers of Government.

In the case of Imo State, the people are in a quagmire each time the State is in the news in one of such disturbing periods.

Unfortunately for the Governor Uzodinma administration, it poached the Media Team of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thinking it has scored a very good point against the Imo PDP. The Government did not make conscious effort in recruit its own Information managers. It was done in a hurry, and has remained so till date.

Indeed, there is a difference between working for an opposition political party, and a Government in power.

Opposition Media thrives on “Combative Journalism” and finding of faults, and dishing them out to the public, as a Right and responsibility as Opposition Party speaking for the masses.

Till date, the Uzodinma Government has not yet debriefed these men poached from PDP, as they still write as if they are fighting the Government, not knowing that their jobs and briefs have changed the moment they joined the Government.

The PDP Media Men, weaned in the PDP Press Laboratory, employed by Uzodinma Government are still working with the mindset of Opposition, by attacking everybody, when their job now is to make friends for their new Boss.

The heat up the polity with their devil-may-care pieces, which frightens the populace and alienate them more from the sitting Government. And the Uzodinma Administration keeps pointing accusing fingers at the Imo Opposition, and some of her prominent members as the cause of Insecurity in the State, without facts and evidences to back the allegations.

These hired Media Men, who write as if they are paid, or rewarded based on how many hells the raised a day, and number of people abused and maligned, keep distancing the people from the Government, with write-ups that have no connection with Government policies, but personal attacks on those Individuals and Groups they presume to be enemies of the Administration.

As a Government Publicists, your major assignment must be to keep the masses abreast with how much the Government has done in office. Not abuses and attacks on the people.

Writing on Government projects, if any, can keep a Government Media Team busy every day, than dwelling on some targeted citizens, who also have followers who can rock the system with their own responses.

Every Government in the world progresses through constructive criticism. But in the present Imo State, you dare not comment on Government policies or else the Uzodinma Media Team will leave the matter in question and descend on how many children you have, who was your father, and how old you are. Inanities that do a Government seeking to lure the masses to her side no good. Points that  are out of the issue under discussion.

While it does not mean a Government should not defend its self from Media attacks, but every statement that comes from a Constituted Authority, or their Consultants must the decorous and civilized, because Government must be civil at all times not matter the provocation. No government exists without the masses. Therefore, every Government in is power for the people. And the people are bound to ask question of their collective patrimony. It is not a crime.

For instance, immediately the news of the attack of Ikenga spilled  out, before Imo Government could even make an official statement, the hired Media Team had already put up theirs asking “Why are everybody sympathizing with Ikenga, yet they could not do same when the Governor’s House was raised down?”

That was very petty and unfortunate.  And the Imo Government could not distance itself from such “Jankara” Media Statement. Government has a responsibility to protect all citizens, no matter political differences.

If Government can make such a selective statement, who then is safe in the State?

The safety of live and property of all Imo people is a collective responsibility of the Chief Security Officer, who is the Governor. That is  a first line charge  duty as directed by the constitution.

When a Government Media Man is asking Imo people why they did not condemn attack on the Governor’s house, and rose to condemn when it happened to another citizen, what would you think will be the inference by the logical reasoning of the citizens?

Security matter is a serious issue that concerns all the citizens, but the paraphelia of resources to combat it resides with the Chief Executive, while the defenseless masses do theirs, by staying away from trouble and acts that are inimical to peace.

Just a few days ago, one of the Hack Media Men of the Imo State Government labeled Trumpeta Newspaper a “Janjaweed Newspaper”.

The fellow who used TRUMPETA frequently when he worked for ISOPADEC under PDP Government, but now “Convener”  of Global Association of Concerned Imo Youths, said Trumpeta’s  sin  was publishing that Governor Uzodinma was yet to fullfil  his directive that Imo Workers be promoted, months after that promise.

This same  man who accused a Newspaper of publishing views of other people he  now calls “opposition” will never know that Governor Uzodinma also patronized Trumpeta when he was in “opposition”.

Then, Hon Mbadiwe Emelumba will call Trumpeta back to office, dead in the night, to help carry Uzodinma’s  story for the next day. No reasonable Newspaper will antagonize the Government in power, and it will be professionally criminal to deny others their right of freedom of expression.

However, while doing Business, Trumpeta sticks to the ethics of the job. Therefore the man who called Trumpeta “Janjaweed” should reexamine his conscience.

Some of these hired Hack writers, have no base, and move from one point to the other, provided there is daily bread. They have no ideologies, or Leaders, or Mentors.  Tomorrow they will redirect their Bores on Uzodinma. They can write anything or destroy anybody without questions.

Apart from Senior, Hon Mbadiwe Emelumba, Ochi War Ugochukwu and Chief Press Secretary, Oguike Nwachukwu, other Media Members writing in the name of Uzodinma Government were road side Journalists, who think the crux of Journalism is to destroy others, without even thinking of their tomorrow.

Yesterday, I reacted to a post made by one of the Imo Government Media Men, on Wasap. “My friend Bundus has gone hysterical. Something is bothering him”.

And he replied “Write a rejoinder, instead of pouring abuses upon our person nah!

Or have you forgotten we know you privately up to Ngor Okpala?”

I don’t know the connection with this threat and the statement I made. And this coming now that the State under inferno!

And as predicted, I have been getting threats on my life since then.

These are the kind of Media Men managing Imo Government image. Nobody is reining them in, which is the reason they are emboldened.

I was a Chief Press Secretary to a Governor of Imo State about Eleven years ago, and I never threatened anybody, much more a colleague.

The job of a Government Media Team is to make friends for the Principal and not to threaten the masses. But I have made the threats to my life known.