The Ongoing Curfew In Ogoja And The Upcoming Ogoja/Yala Bye-election BY FIRST BABA ISA


When I heard that the Chairman of Ogoja Local Government had declared a curfew, ordering all residents to turn in by 10:00pm or face the wrath of the law, I was truly concerned where he got the powers to declare a curfew. But I didn’t say anything because Ogoja is my hometown and security is a delicate issue.

I didn’t want to start sounding legalistic if truly there is a security issue to be addressed. But now that the initial dust has settled, I can see clearly through the facts, the law, the present dangers and the coming dangers, especially in the light of the upcoming by-elections.

I was told by some residents that the curfew was ordered because a spate of ritual killings hit the town during the festive period. The police did not confirm this. I asked them. I was told by the police that the curfew was rather put in place to combat robbery. Two different stories, one curfew. But I didn’t mind. I just wanted security to be restored for our people.

But now, I do mind. I have some questions to ask.

Is the highest number of robbery and ritual killings in Nigeria taking place in Ogoja? Definitely not. Even in cities where these atrocities are hitting the roof daily, is it being tackled by declaring curfew? How effective has the curfew been? We have heard several complaints how the security men are arresting poor okada men, our brothers, and forcing them to pay N26, 000 to bail themselves and their bikes. The curfew has become a means of extorting from the poor masses.

I think it is time to call off this curfew. Apart from the fact that it is illegal, if it had any good purpose, it has definitely outlive this purpose. Citizens should be allowed to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of movement. They don’t need anyone’s permission to walk freely 24 hours a day. They should be allowed to go about their lawful businesses.

This curfew must be lifted immediately. If it is not, it will definitely become a veritable tool for political instability in the forthcoming by-elections. The police will be used, in the guise of enforcing an illegal curfew, to prevent the opposition politicians and supporters from moving freely while the ruling party politicians and supporters under the protection of the Governor and Chairman will move around freely. When the opposition finds out they are being prevented from moving freely while others are moving freely and holding the usual nocturnal political meetings, there is bound to be resistance and the real security crisis will happen.

We want this election to be peaceful. No one should be harassed or intimidated. I call on the Chairman to call off this curfew now before it is exploited to cause mayhem. I call on the security personnel to stop enforcing an illegal curfew.

If this call is not heeded, the blame for the likely security crisis that might fall out of this, especially during the elections, should be put on the Chairman of Ogoja Local Government and his enablers in Peregrino Hill.

– By Firsts Baba Isa (FBI)


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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