By Emmanuel Goodhead
The federal government’s coordinated war against terrorism and other acts of criminality witnessed a major boost recently with the arrest and detention of a kidnap kingpin, Kelvin Oniarah, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind kidnap cases in the South East and South South regions.
Without any doubt, Oniarah’s arrest by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the oil city of Port Hacourt brings to an end the dark days of increasing kidnap cases in the Niger Delta region. I am a Niger Deltan and we should all have reasons to celebrate over this huge achievement. It is gratifying to affirm that even members of the international community are indeed pleased with the successes Nigeria has so far recorded against terrorism.
Nigerians equally woke up within the same period to be greeted with wild claims by the Boko Haram group that its former leader who was believed to have been felled by JTF’s bullets sometime in July is still alive! Discerning Nigerians, especially those who have come to understand the game plan of the Boko Haram sect and its apologists and local collaborators, have since discovered that the video clip released by the group was to divert attention from celebrating the arrest of kidnap kingpin, Oniarah by the DSS. Nigerians are too advanced and knowledgeable a people to fall for dummies as presently bandied around by the terror group.
Forget about what President Goodluck Jonathan said about him not knowing whether the man was alive or dead. I believe he was only playing the usual security trick of diverting attention from key events so as not to compromise other efforts of the security agencies. Nigerians have since realized the obvious fact that the Boko Haram sect and other terror groups are their common enemies. These groups have indeed visited mindless terror on Nigerians of different faiths, tribes and ethnicity.
We cannot afford to fall so cheap for this grand plan to divert attention from rejoicing over the arrest of Oniarah. Believe you me, the capture of Oniarah and Shekau’s concocted video clip should be seen for what they are- a planned coincidence by the terror group to divert attention. This incident further revealed the extent to which these bloodthirsty elements could go in their resolve to make the country ungovernable. Unfortunately for them, the orchestrated plan has fallen flat on its face. Nigerians have discovered that these terror groups and kidnappers are birds of same feather whose past time is to instill fear in people.
There appears to be between them a coordinated network through which they communicate and share ideas on ways to perpetrate evil. Long before now, while suicide bombers visited terror on innocent Nigerians living in the North Eastern part of the country, kidnap groups made life meaningless and miserable for Nigerians in the South South and South East regions. These twin issues gave government at various levels, especially the Federal government, cause for concern. Government, obviously was not pleased with the wanton destruction of lives by suicide bombers in the north and rising kidnap cases in the South.
A government insider recently said that as a responsible and responsive government, the Federal Government never considered the inglorious option of abandoning Nigerians in the aforementioned regions to their fate. It stood beside them all through these perilous times. It vowed never to allow criminal elements lay claim to any part of the country. To achieve this feat, it deployed troops to the troubled states as well as declared partial state of emergencies in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
These wise moves no doubt produced immense results.
The arrest of Kelvin also known as Ibruvwe calls for celebration and commendation for the DSS .It was gathered that Oniarah was apprehended by a combined team of SSS officials from Abuja and Delta State Command in collaboration with the troops of the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shields. This kidnap kingpin is said to be the mastermind of several high profile kidnap cases in different parts of the country. Report says he was responsible for the recent kidnap of a senior lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, in Edo State, during which four policemen were killed. We are also told of how he was said to have maintained operational bases and detention camps in Warri and Kokori communities in Delta State and Ugbokolo community in Benue State.
A highly elated Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Adaba, who confirmed his arrest to newsmen, described the development as a great achievement in the war against kidnapping and other vices. Government had earlier declared the kingpin wanted over his involvement in deadly escapades, especially armed banditry and kidnapping in which over 100 persons have been killed in different parts of the Niger Delta. Also on his list of atrocities were the attacks on some high profile personalities in that region. He is also linked to a bloody operation in Warri Federal Prisons, where he allegedly freed some members of his gang, after killing prison wardens.
With the barrage of terror acts perpetrated by Oniarah and his gang, especially in the Niger Delta region and the lives and material possessions lost to their attacks, Nigerians, indeed have every reason to celebrate his eventual arrest. While it will be rather too premature to roll out the drums for celebration, it’s not out of place to congratulate security agencies on this great feat.
With the wide jubilation that greeted the news of the arrest of Kelvin across Nigeria, I am further convinced that Nigerians are more than ever before united against terrorism. Terrorists and kidnappers don’t carry out their nefarious acts based on ethnic, religious or political considerations. In fact, these elements tend to be more united in visiting terror on Nigerians.
The million dollar question is, why did Kelvin Oniarah’s arrest by the DSS coincide with Shekau’s claims of being alive? I smell conspiracy in this act.
How come Shekau and his collaborators have remained silent for months only to resurface that day? Answers to these questions are not far-fetched. In fact, we can find the answers in the questions. It should be seen simply as an orchestrated attempt to divert attention from the arrest of Kelvin.
•Emmanuel Goodhead wrote from Asaba, Delta State firstname.lastname@example.org