The state exco member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who pleaded for anonymity told journalists in Onitsha yesterday that he has been praying for the news to be a mere ruse. He reasoned that if it turns out to be true, then the lives of all members and their families, of the party in the state, in particular, and the entire South East zone would be in serious danger.
According to him, "this cannot be the type of change we asked for; it cannot be the type of life transforming changes in our contemplation when we went to canvass and fought for the party in this zone. I wish it is not true...” he stressed rhetorically.
Again, an industrialist, publisher and philanthropist, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, expressed doubts about the directives and said that such action was capable of causing national chaos and social disharmony.
In his views, such directives was not in tandem with social reformation and peaceful co-existence as such mix up would pollute their mind set of those in prison who have committee civil offence and are awaiting trial either for sentences or discharge.
He feared that mixing such religious hardliners with minor offense suspects or convicts would only indoctrinate and radicalize simple minds among the inmates who were expected to be reformed to better citizens.
The widely traveled business executive noted that overseas such identified terrorists or radical minds were normally placed in a special cell and decision was taken on them. He therefore called on the Federal government to have a rethink on the plan as it will breed bad blood in the minds of the Igbo’s. That it has potentials of sparking off civil unrest nationwide of unimaginable proportion.
Another respondent, Mr Ayo Ojutalayo who posted his reaction via email and was in doubt of the report said thus, "I understand but a story that is this extremely unusual needs to be taken with a pinch of salt until the authenticity can be verified. We cannot put anything past those who spread lies to cause unrest in the society".
Also a United States-based Nigerian, Mr Dan Iloani posted thus: "Why is the federal government of President Buhari doing everything they can to heat up the system in Nigeria? Why shipping the Boko Haram prisoners to South Eastern States? Have the President forgotten all the Igbo the Boko Haram massacred in the North? Well, Ndi Igbo have not forgotten and we must never forget so why send these criminals where they are certain to face and meet "Death sentences" even among their fellow inmates, thereby causing unnecessary tension and commotion within the fragile union".
According to him, "The North has their Boko Haram, the West has their Oodua Group, the East has their MASSOB and the South South has their MEND or what are they called. That being the case, why complicate issues that are already complex to address? Who is even advising our president?"
Mrs Theresa Obalokwu, an Nnewi house wife saw the thought of such move as "reprehensible, inciting, evil and a slap on the faces of the thousand families of the South East that lost their loved ones, children, husbands, and or wives in the hands of these mindless people."
She admitted to have lost an in-law from Adazi-Enu in the Mubi massacre. More so, that it was clear that both the federal and relevant state governments in the northern part of the country had consistently angered the bereaved families with their uncaring attitude. She revealed that no form of help or compensation had ever come to the surviving widows, children or families of the victims whose lives were mindlessly cut short, properties, houses and other properties destroyed for no reason.
Instead, the FG, according to her, sends relief materials, assistance and compensation to those states governments who either steal them or simply distribute them to their indigenes as part of political patronage. As a result, she added, any plan to ship the prisoners down to our communities would simply mean that the FG has written and is already acting out a script on confusion and disintegration of the country, and should take absolute responsibility.
From Chuks Collins, Awka