By Odimegwu Onwumere
The approach the explosion in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, on 17th May 2012, was reported by citizen journalists online before trained newsmen corrected it, could make some of us moved towards the nearby boarder before now. Many of us were sick and tired of the news.
Truly, this shows that we are living in an atmosphere of fear. The news was immediately launched on the Internet and was said that the causative was bomb.
Straight away, there were accusing fingers on terrorists not until the governor of the state, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi announced in a TV transmission that the bomb was from a gang of four armed robbers setting-up to rob a bank but met their bad-omen as a result explosion from dynamites within the car; while occupants were smoking, main time, two of the surviving suspects have been seized and currently in hospital.
What this means is that if the governor didn’t clear the air surrounding the explosion as quick as possible, some persons have navigated their accusing compass to Boko Haram, forgetting that we have had militants in the Niger Delta blew-up pipelines and sundry areas.
Nigerians are now benefiting from propagating ethnic bias and everybody seems to be dancing in this euphoria of blood thirst by some uncouth and unscrupulous constituents. If not, how could anybody ever think that Boko Haram would bomb Port Harcourt? We are now suffering from regional sentiments, forgetting that the fraud surrounding fuel subsidy is the height of explosion on its own.
With the way and manner we have allowed fear to take over our sub-consciousness, even a tyre burst becomes bomb explosion. If the perpetrators of the explosion in Port Harcourt were not caught and Amaechi did not come on air to clear the high spirits, in some quarters people were thinking that Boko Haram has carried out its promise of bombing some parts of the South and many were looking up to some big names in the North to be the brain behind the explosion.
Bad as it may, Rivers State should now grouse about security. Let innocent people be. If the explosion was carried out by the terrorists, so it would have been, because those that were recorded before had no better investigation especially at the federal level. It is time we did not allow innocent people to continue to die in avoidable butchery by any group be they terrorists or armed robbers. We have to make our environment saner and not to be left to be languishing in jail of fears of the unknown.
Again, the state government should be sure of what it said about the perpetrators of the explosion being armed robbers, because rumours are in the mill that the bus in question lined-up with other buses loading Eleme junction/oil mill passengers. The rumours also suggest that people are yet to know the truth of the matter because armed robbers that want to "rob a bank" can't be loading passengers
However, we have heard cases where armed robbers use different tricks, but we are much concerned of the souls of the people killed in the explosion. May their souls rest in peace.
We wish Amaechi the best.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Cordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV)