Northerners’ deportation by Imo state

Earlier this week, it was reported by one of the national newspapers that Imo State government had deported 84 people of Northern origin back to their homes purportedly for fear that they might be members of Boko Haram.
Further investigation revealed that those people, most of them youths, had been in the state for just eight days undergoing skill acquisition training at one Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS).
According to the report, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state raised the alarm that they might be Boko Haram insurgents; so the government was left with no option but to send them packing ‘safely’ back home.
Now, this reminds me of the Lagos State deportation saga that happened last year with the ‘deportation’ of some Igbo ‘destitute’ back to their home -Anambra State-which all well-meaning Nigerians condemned in the strongest terms. A lot of people (including many Igbo) commented on the issue, then. I wonder why it would be any different now. Or is it only Igbo that can live freely anywhere in Nigeria?
Constitutionally, every Nigerian has the right to live freely and without intimidation anywhere in the country.  I wonder why a state government which should have known better would ‘deport’ students because of their ethnic origin as Northerners.
I found the government’s reason for the deportation that it was afraid that people could descend on the innocent students even more laughable. A reasonable government is supposed to be strong enough to protect and provide enough security to citizens and I see no reason why it could be any different in this case.
Given what we know of the sect’s ideology, students can never be Boko Haram members because clearly, the two are opposite to each other; the name literary means ‘Western education is forbidden’ and the sect has proven that by its numerous attacks on students and in schools.
But for the sake of argument, let’s all agree that those students are actually Boko Haram members. What was the government to do? Was it to deport them back home or detain them and hand them over to the security agencies? A terrorist living anywhere in the world is a threat to everybody. Except if Imo State government is now telling the world that any armed robber or prostitute or any criminal for that matter of Imo State origin arrested anywhere should be deported to Imo.
Well-meaning Nigerians should condemn this barbaric act by the Imo state government which of cause is posing a greater threat to the unity of our dear nation that the activities of the people the government so unjustly deported.

Mustapha Saddiq,
Batagarawa, Katsina state

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