With regard to the already tense atmosphere of southwestern Nigeria and even more of Abia state, facing a major security threat right now – comes another red alert this January 2023.
In a recent development, the Nigerian Customs Service stated that it had seized 450 kilograms of calcium carbide (each weighing 106 kilograms) this past January. The consignment was making its way from Ijebu Ode to Aba in Abia State when it was intercepted. The entire duty-paid value of the goods is worth 24 million Naira. The report came from Hussein Ejibunu, the Customs Area Controller of Federal Operations Unit Zone A, while addressing newsmen recently.
Also according to Ejibunu, the owner claimed to have an End-User Certificate (EUC) covering his goods. He was therefore urged to present the EUC within 30 days of the seizure date, after which the said importer would face prosecution.
The consignment was promptly taken as a security alert in view of calcium carbide being an important ingredient in the manufacture of explosives (though not limited to that use alone). And the fact that it passed through the southwest en route the southeast became another issue of concern. Explosions suspected to be from detonated bombs have rocked certain places in southwest Nigeria in recent times. The Akure church incident of June 2022 (and some other cases) are unforgettable instances. Thankfully and hopefully, the security situation in the Yoruba states is still largely under check. But far more serious is the volatile, threatened peace of the southeast region, second only to the far North. In the face of kidnappings, rampant homicide by unidentified gunmen, life-threatening activities of the Eastern Security Network, and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for several months now, it becomes imperative to do everything to stop any impending violence. Particularly as the February 25 presidential elections approached.
In the month of January 2023 alone, fuel scarcity, shortage of circulation of the newly-released currency notes, and a new dimension of inflation besieged Nigerians. The controversy and hardship trailing the Naira redesign had already left people tense and in a sour mood. Loud rumors were in circulation of yet another possible rigging and discredit of the supposed approaching ‘democratic’ elections, as in times gone. The fear of thuggery and street violence was palpable; we have witnessed it before one too many.
What is going to be the state of our nation Nigeria this time, both pre- and post-election? Hoping for the best, and fingers crossed. Nevertheless, let everyone be alert. To be our brother’s keeper is in dire need at the moment in our so fragile federation