NewsReel August 5, 2013 - Onitsha deportation, Lagos State government and their bundles of lies

 [ Masterweb Reports: Akusoba Christopher Chigozie  reports ] – Onitsha residents were saluted with sight of over 70 bizarre persons glitter the scene of upper iweka Head Bridge in the commercial city of Onitsha on 24th July, 2013. This elicited a state of pandemonium in the commercial city as people thought that ferocious Islamic sects have invaded the city. But close observation reveals something very striking. There was a forced removal and internal deportation and those strange faces are merely victims. The victims look very malnourished, pale and with visible signs of grotesque characters. There was a vehement protest among the residents of the city on the gross violation of human dignity. The masses outcry drew the attention of Anambra State government. Nigerian Red Cross society led by Dr.Peter Katcy was at the scene to identify the victim and ascertain the problem. On enquiry, it was discovered that they were arrested by officials of Lagos State Kick against Indiscipline.  Some of them revealed that they were arrested, detained and imprisoned as long as two years before their tortuous and nocturnal journey back to commercial city at 3.20 midnights. There are convincing evidences that some of those victims are not Anambrians because of non-Igbo lingual linkage. Some are from faraway Edo and River States.


An examination by Dr. Katchy, proves that most of the victims are not destitute as they have their legitimate means of livelihood to eke out a living. One victim by name Rosemary Nathaniel from Abia state reveals that she was neither a beggar nor hawker but working at a T-shirt weaving center in Lagos. She was whiskered away in commando style by officials of Lagos state government on her way to work and detained for seven months before her onward repatriation to the commercial city. The case is the same with another deportee named Osondu Mbuto, a pretty trade from Ebonyi state. He was abducted on his way to his shop and kept in prison for eight months before he was forcefully brought to Onitsha. One striking similarities among those deported Nigerians was that they look physically fragile, weak with some subtle signs of strange characters. This proves that they are grossly starved, humiliated, dehumanized, traumatized and subjected to a severe psychological torture before their deportation. Some family members of the victims have declared their loved ones dead and some missing because their phones are forcefully taken away from them which rendered them incommunicado. They are been fed once a day with very poor medical care which resulted in the death of many of them in prison.


Lagos state Government and its agents led by Mr. Joe Igbokwe have been making frantic effort to justify and rationalize their diabolic and nefarious action of desecration of human dignity.  Mr Joe Igbokwe in his forlorn attempt to justify their satanic action said most of the victims are mentally deranged, but as a sign of Lagos state magnanimity and benevolence, they decided to pick them up from the streets and rehabilitated them. Thereafter, those who are interested in staying were trained in skill acquisition centers while those who want to join their kits and kins in their states of origin were taken to a central place very close to their towns to find their way. I doubt if this statement actually emanated from Mr. Igbokwe but if it was, then I want to know why these deportees were smuggled into Onitsha in the midnight and also accompanied with full surveillance of armed military men if actually those deportees decided on the own to join their families in their various states of origin. This evidence has nullified his defense that those deportees have free choice to relocate.  The result reveals a state imposed forcefully removal which the Lagos state had meted out to innocent Nigerians thereby depriving them their constitutional right of freedom of movement. Close examination on the victims’ show that they are not rehabilitated or trained because there are signs that they are seriously disturbed mentally probably as a result of the psychological torture they went through in various Lagos jails. Another objection I have on Igbokwe defense is his proximity consideration in dumping his fellow Nigerians in Onitsha. I wonder how he came up with proximity consideration on their devilish action of man inhumanity while they dumped Edo state Indigenes in Onitsha. I don’t know how close Onitsha is to various Edo villages and Mr. Igbokwe failed to tell the world how much money he gave their deportees to continue their journey ongoing.


Mr. Joe Igbokwe went on to rationalize their evil action by saying that his Lagos state government informed Anambra state Government before their deportation plan and since no reply was receive from Anambra state, then they are forced to remove victims by force and dumped them into Onitsha. He went on to say that their Lagos state abhors a situation where people from other regions will become a security threat to the state.  Mr. Joe Igbokwe submission differs from one of his boss Gov. Fashola who said that he got a reply from Anambra state liaison office Lagos. Mr. Igbokwe should have clarified and reconcile facts with his boss before making public his defense, Nigerians expect coherent reasons for the action. I wonder what made Igbokwe to regard those Nigerians as a security risk that needed immediate and forceful removal. Nigerian constitution made provision for every punishment for every crime under the law. The essence of government is to cater for the needs of the all Nigerians, government have to be for the people and for the people irrespective of status and level in the society. I have never taken cognize of a law that recognized poverty of her citizens as a crime; you cannot criminalize someone because he is a beggar. Nigerians are living in penury because of corrupt attitudes of all the Governors and their agents, Gov. Fashola Inclusive. He lacks the power to punish his fellow Nigerians for the hardship they have collectively unleashed onto them. I would have preferred that Mr. Igbokwe had maintained absolute silence on this delicate issue because he is not from Lagos State. He works for government for monthly salary; his defense on this diabolic action of inhumanity against man is irrational and should be disregarded because it is of no substance. The world is in a fluid state, it is not constant; a day will come when Mr. Joe Igbokwe should be considered a nuisance in his Lagos state Eldorado and will be reminded of his place of origin and will be forced to head home. Then he will experience the feelings of the ordinary Nigerians.


Lagos state government has acted beyond its constitutional limit. Nigeria is a federal state and it confides her citizens the right to live in any part of her component parts without fear of harassment and molestation. The action of Lagos state is regrettable and highly condemnable because it has failed her people, deprived them of their human dignity, denies them the constitutional right of movement and dehumanized them by depriving them of their human dignity by the way of their forceful removal. Lagos state through her agents must come out to put the record straight. They must admit their error and formally apologize to these victimized Nigerians and possibly pay damages and compensation to them. Anything short of that is continuing playing to the gallery, which Nigerians and Ndigbo will never accept.

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