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ISSUES ABATOIR: Isiama Community And St. Valentine Season’s Gift, 11 Years After: The Police Failure And Path To Peace

loveAway from Politics:

Times and events like the current flows speedily but its effects and impacts actually remain in the sand and annals of history of a people. Truth is said has an acrid taste but if it is not said or revealed, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that says “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. John 8:32.

In season like this, “Valentine”, When many over the world celebrate certain achievements, reaffirm their love with loved ones, sharing pleasantries, exchanging gifts, the elders, men, women, youths and entire people of Mbota Royal House of Isiama Community in the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State hardly smiles, rather recount their loss, lives, properties, shame and dent of their hard earned firm bequeathed by their ancestors to them.

It was like the Angola experience of February 2002 when immediately after the death of one of its leaders of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), Jonas Savimbi where an estimated 1.7million people were forced to flee their homes. Many found themselves living for years in places like Campo Malanje, and more than a million Angolans died out of a population estimated at 13 million in the late 1990s.

The people of Mbota Royal House like the Angolans were sent on compulsory exile after a purported fracas broke out on 14th February when a police constable was allegedly abducted against the innocent people of Mbota, desecrated Mbota compound, forced them out of their fathers land, and above all set their landed properties ablaze.

For a reasonable number of years, the people lived among relations, well wishers, sympathizers and friends outside Isiama. While some were rescued on the mangrove forest, others were found dead in the nearby forest and creeks. Indeed a lot of unholy activities happened during the St. Valentine season of 2004 that kept Andoni on a standstill.

Frankly, that nasty experience of Isiama 2004 had never occur in the history of intra and inter communal fracas witnessed in Andoni, though deaths were recorded but no government official such as the “Police” were abducted, kidnapped or killed irrespective of the degree of such problem.

In the case of Isiama, there was no physical browl between the two main houses, Mbota and Isiokop, yet members of Mbota Royal House were lynched by mob of their opponent, arrested and tortured by the police and while in detention their living homes were set on fire by their opponents who also accused the police for such action, yet denied, averted and obstructed legal prosection of the matter till date; what an injustice!

It is on record that in Andoni ethnic nationality such condemnable violent acts of inter and intra communal war, leading to destructions of properties and ofcourse lives were perpetrated and after interventions the affected groups would reunite, but Isiama without war (fighting) had an ugly scenario of an abducted police constable, burning of over 40 living houses, deaths and forceful desertion of homes. What kind of unity is expected in such environment without genuine reconciliation?

Who could guess how a deserted environment looks like or posit the living standard of the people. Refugees, would quickly runs down the mind of many, but fellow compatriots, the lives of the Mbota people was worst than that.

About three (3) years ago the people managed to return in bits to pick up pieces of their broken bones even with renewed threats to their existence.

That section of the likely poverty ravished Community, Isiama, had no roof over the returnees’ refugees to their father’s land; worst still no roads because bushes had taken over the compound and the burnt but standing structures that falls at will. The Mbota citizens of Isiama were better witnessed than read on pages of newspapers. Ofcourse that was the gift of St. Valentine for them that year.

Between 2004 and early 2011 the people of Mbota extraction in Isiama were struggling to pick pieces of their broken lives amidst intimidation who would come to their aid?

This episode of Issues Abattoir seeks to not only recount, rethink or make flashback on events that made the Mbota Royal people slaves in their fathers house rather remind the law enforcement agents, other security services and the Nigerian Police Force in particular on the silence over the prosecution of culprits and identified arsonists as the investigations into the crime were concluded even by zone 6 headquarters Calabar.

It is on record that arrests were made following alarms and petitions by the oppressed Mbota people through their lawyers, investigations were conducted and concluded at zone 6 and files sent down to Rivers State for onward prosecution of identified or suspected culprits and arsonists, yet uptil date the Rivers State Command of the Police Force is not contemplating taking such court action. What is the face of common and oppressed man?

It is now eleven (11) years at 2015 St. Valentine Season and the Mbota people are denied justice. Does it mean that the Mbota case file with the Police is also burnt? Does it signify undermining the patience of oppressed Mbota people? Does it also implies that the Police had forgetting such file and if so by what means, voodoo or what?

Many crimes are going on in the society: the 2015, St. Valentine ‘s Day celebration equally parted sad gifts to citizens of Rivers as same loss their lives in Port Harcourt.

Yes, the Police are not and cannot be everywhere but must be assisted by the citizenry in providing information as well as other populace for instance, the situation in Isiama Community where information were promptly given to the Police and after their routine investigations, no action was taken and seen by the oppressed.

Could these 11 years of delay, denial, suppression and oppressions be regarded as calls for revenge or lack of will on the part of the law enforcement agents to carryout their legitimate functions? Could it be posited that the matter was swept under the carpet on corruption or gratification?

Could the Police silence over such heinous crime restore the needed peace to a society so antagonized like the Mbota Royal House and others in general?

That, community seems to be exchanging greetings or pleasantries with each other but with frowned faces because the expected peace was not instituted rather haphazardly, not according to traditional norms of instituting peace in areas where such crimes were committed, especially against innocent people.

Sadly, in about the Christmas eve or precisely, 24th December, 1974 similar crime was meted against the same people of Mbota Royal House where their two men HRH, Gilbert Ogbuluikan Mbota and his cousin Sunday were murdered in cold blood by yet to be identified assailants in a creek leading to Bonny LGA, and have not been legally brought to book till date. This is 41 years.

Issues Abattoir seeks to know and ascertain whether the Mbota family should continue in their patience, resign their faith and fate to God as ever or demand for justice?

God knows those involved, in 1974 it was cold blood murder, by whoever; in 1992/93 it was incessant Police arrest premised on lies; In 2004 it was forceful eviction of members of the Royal House from their abode via case of suppression, injustices and display of financial wealth and power by suspected rascals, assailants and arsonists.

Certainly, one things was sure, and that is the end to the Mbota suppression, antagonism, intimidation and suffering because of a truth, it must not and such sad and regrettable occurrence would no longer be mentioned, heard or witnessed against the Mbotas as well as other Nigerians as the police and other security services moves into action to restore the hope of the common man.

While the police is reminded to do what is right especially in the arson case file of 2004, it is expected that St. Valentine Day be conducted in conformity with its original settings.

The sure way to peaceful co-existence in that blood ravished Community, where hatred, heresy, oppression and suppression seemingly takes the centre stage, is the prosecution and punishment of the assailants and arsonists to serve as deterrent to perhaps subsequent plots by either same people or others in other paths of the Country.

Again, if prosecution is to be humanly averted by probably the accused and perpetrators of the 2004 mayhem or those whose conscience have condemned on such act, the other option available for them without pride is to gather the who is who in Obolo Land in consonant with the traditions of the people for a peaceful apology to the men, women, elders, youths and entire members of Mbota Royal House in Isiama.

Should such be contemplated, it must be done in an open atmosphere, not in secrecy rather where all the affected people could feel sigh of relieve and at least reverse whatever words they have uttered during the cruel exercise.

Without mincing words, unwanted deaths that would attract unpleasant reactions may occur in Isiama, occasion on bitter and unpleasant utterances voiced out by many who were oppressed, forced to desert their lands, and properties set ablaze, leaving no future hope for them. And today, the both parties seemingly come together, drink, eat and interact among others. There is palpable fears.

To avert these ugly tendencies of unwanted deaths, it is the duty of the both parties, houses or families who now see themselves as dinning, winning and meeting together to device urgent means of proper reconciliation in accordance to the scriptures, and or to appease the gods of Isiama land that abhors blood.

By this, normalcy could fully return to that community, if only they would be sincere in whatever measure to be adopted.

Issues Abattoir is a messenger and has deliver the message, and to those whom the message is meant for, it is expected they heed as posterity would certainly demands or recall February 2004.

A stitch in time saves nine. ###


With James Mgboineme


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