By Ugochimereze Chinedu Asuzu
As a prefatory point, let it be noted that all known laws continue to tilts towards the utmost presumption of the innocence of persons accused of crimes. This assertion is doubly so, as regards persons who are not even charged for any offence known to law. Offering credence to this universal law is the most celebrated dictum of François-Marie Arouet, known by his sobriquet “Voltaire”, a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher; whose most famous works included the fictitious Lettres philosophiques (1734) and the satirical novel Candide (1759), when he rightly said that:
“It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.
On the premise of justice, and in utmost fidelity to the sanctity of human life, the dictum
“it is better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn the innocent” has not only gained worldwide acceptance but also observance.
Human life is sacred and the sanctity of this sacredness is ours to nurture, respect, protect and ultimately preserve; the aforementioned quotes lays credence to the assertion that no human life should be carelessly terminated, that rather than kill one innocent person in the pursuit of ten guilty persons, the ten guilty persons should be let free if unavoidably one innocent life would suffer casualty of death in the process.
Imo, seems to be in disagreement with all that the world hold dear as just, right and sacred
Admittedly, mistakes, misrepresentation and misinformation are aspects of our daily living which can never be wished away, nevertheless, when such ‘mistakes’ become so rampant and lavish in terms of taking innocent people’s lives at random, then it transcends outside the arena of mistakes but would rightly be deemed, when lives are lost, as wilful murder. Suffice it to know, as Christians and most faiths believe, that all human lives are created by God and is therefore precious. Men and Women are created in the image of God and as a result are holy unto Him. It’s therefore repugnant to natural laws and even tenets of religious beliefs to take human life whimsically.
Some will argue that it’s in the area of securing lives and properties that the security agents embarks on such mission; then I’ll simply state that the essence of training in military or paramilitary formations is to avoid casualties of such magnitude, hence there is what is called intelligence unit of all the military and paramilitary formations, which boils down on professionalism.
Human life in Nigeria seems not to matter at all to people in government, the more reason we seem not to attach any modicum of importance to how the security agencies of government kill, maim and destroy human beings like their lives don’t matter.
Imo state as a case study, since the inception of the Hope Uzodimma government, the scale of killings galloped to an all time high; even more threats of killings daily resonates from the governor and his handlers, such that one begins to wonder if there’s more to this than meets the eyes; and if someone has deliberately made himself tools in the hands of the enemies to decimate the population of our youths and young adults, because no day passes without the sordid tale of one form of gruesome murder or the other taking place in the state, either from unknown state actors or unknown gunmen.
The circumstances surrounding the massacre and wounding of 14 Marriage Reception Returnees from Otulu Community in Oru West Local Government Area in Imo State yesterday, shot at close range and massacred or wounded at the ISHIEKE Junction in neighboring Awomama in Oru East Local Government Area of the State should be investigated. This is one out of so many of such gruesome murder ongoing in Imo state in the guise of fighting terrorism.
The corollary effects of this madness and orgies of killings in imo state sure boils down to the ineffective leadership, a leadership that’s foisted on the people without their mandate surely cannot resonate or situate well with the people as mandate given freely and that usurped cannot be equated, but then the tendency to murder hapless citizens of the state to portray seriousness in crime or terrorism control is neither here nor there. We’re not against fight against crime, criminality or terrorism; but downing innocent lives in the process is certainly not novel, hence the government at the centre is called upon now to seriously investigate these killings in Imo to ascertain the reason for such brazen rascality, for human lives matters and not a thing to be toyed with for fun as it seems in the Imo of today under the supervision of the governor.
Ugochimereze Chinedu Asuzu, a socio-political analyst, human rights crusader and life coach writes from Owerri, Imo State.