Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State Nigeria on the 30th of July came to an economis standstill as residents in the community protested the alleged relocation of 47 Boko Haram prisoners to the federal prison in the area. And, I believe they are right to have protested and to keep resisting such a move for several reasons.
One of them being the fact that the prison is already congested. According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. James Eze, the prison in question was designed to house only 84 inmates and there are already 133 inmates in there. Where exactly does the Federal government plan to fit these 47 individuals into, an underground cellar?
Secondly, Ekwulobia Prisons according to sources does not have the capacity nor facility to house such high-risk inmates. It is not a maximum security prison. Relaying the governors message Mr. Eze goes on to state that globally terrorists and terror suspects are mostly kept in strongly fortified and isolated places. He cited the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in the US as an example: a military facility, located away from the people. (Please note neither the treatment of inmates nor the management of the prison is under consideration in this article, only its design, location and security are considered).
Another factor worth considering is the possible radicalisation of inmates or worse still a rescue attempt by other members, capturing hostages and laying siege to the town all activities which we have seen in the past without any response from the government. Considering the economic climate and populace of Ekwulobia my heart sickens at the potential catastrophe that would materialise should the second scenario becomes a reality.
I have searched high and low for the Federal governments reason behind this decision and only one keeps coming up; the location was chosen to ensure the convicted sect members do not have access to an environment where they can be re-indoctrinated or escape. Really?! What exactly has the government done to ensure this does not happen.
Given the hesitation of easterners to vote Mr. President into office, I expected his first mandate with regard to the east would be to promote its stability, to set up infrastructures to aid economic growth and not rash, ill-thought decisions which does nothing to improve the fragile unity of our country or the credibility of his government as an ethically non- biased government.