Editorial

The Ekeonunwa clash

So Eke Ukwu Owerri couldn’t be relocated without bloodshed? What a shame?
What the government is saying by that is if you resist and do not agree with us, we kill you; and the market occupants and Owerri people reply: we will die rather than obey your instruction to move. This is not how modern societies are run. It means we are still in the dark, primitive, olden times when might was right and violence decided issues. The market could have remained or moved provided no life was lost. That should have been everybody’s irrevocable approach.
Were all the avenues to peaceful settlement of the dispute exhausted? No. Why not? What we see there is impatience to exercise power by the party that initiated the application of force. There was undue haste to fight.  In a serious conflict like that, both sides were expected to have jaw-jawed a great deal, renounced violence and committed to a peaceful settlement.
That would have saved the innocent lives that were needlessly wasted, as well as the wanton destruction of property that took place. The collateral damages of the   incident are incalculable. More importantly the livelihood of many families went to blazes.
The decision to shoot indiscriminately in the open market is wrong, just as the blanket, uncompromising disobedience of government’s order that the traders move can be considered too audacious.
Now that we are in this mess, there is still the need for restraint and caution in tidying up the rest of the matter, because it is yet far from over with this first round of killing. More people could still die before the market is completely relocated and Ekeonunwa area reclaimed.
The market relocation has been mishandled, even if government feels justified to do what it has done. Government must do everything to avoid reprisals. There could be a lingering face-off and enmity with the market occupants and Owerri people. Government may help them financially to bear the losses – for lasting peace to reign. The use of iron-hand must stop and be replaced with the soft approach. This is what Christian Voice pleads. We don’t want the situation to grow worse, to shepherd the people from harms way. Enough is enough.

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