• As stakeholders weigh in on Governors’ response to insecurity
The Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has said the Southeast Governors decided to form a regional security outfit, codenamed Ebube Agu, to combat the security challenges in the region.
Speaking during an appearance on Channels Television on Sunday night, the governor said the headquarters and central command of the security outfit would be located in Enugu State.
According to the governor, Ebube Agu, which means the presence of a lion, connotes protection, territorial authority, strength and power
Ikpeazu said operatives of Ebube Agu would oversee and monitor the activities of vigilante groups in the Southeast.
Speaking on its modus operandi, Ikpeazu said that the new outfit would be rural-based, and is also going to be intelligence-based.
Ikpeazu, however, did not confirm or deny if the personnel of Ebube Agu would bear arms and wear uniforms.
According to Ikpeazu, what is of importance is that he and his colleagues from the other four states in the region would cooperate to ensure that operatives of the outfit would be properly equipped.
His words: “Ebube Agu would be a security outfit both in name, purpose, and action. They will be properly equipped. I want to assure you that all the states in the southeast already have various vigilante outfits.
“We want to call for a harmonised, synergised system of action to be able to compare notes, to be able to set up digital platforms that can respond to communication challenges.
“It means today we have come together to synergise and see how best we can protect lives and properties of citizens within this geopolitical zone.
“Security situation across Nigeria as it is today is dynamic. We are just trying to respond to our peculiar circumstances in the southeast. We are not copying from any geopolitical zone.”
Speaking further, Governor Ikpeazu said his state has not witnessed a single case of bank robbery since he became governor in 2015. While attributing the success of his administration in the area of security to the deployment of gatekeepers in various communities whose job is intelligence gathering, the governor described Abia as one of the safest states in the country.
He said part of the success the state has recorded in security is attributable to the support it has accorded the police, NSCDC, the military, and other security outfits.
The governor also hinted that the state’s Security Council has resolved to synergise with the security agencies to put in place a joint team of the military and parliamentary agencies to be on patrol across major cities in the state, particularly Aba, Umuahia, and Ohafia.
In a related development, some stakeholders from the South East Zone have aired their views on the formation of Ebubeagu security network by the governors from the member states after their security meeting in Owerri on Sunday.
With some commending the acting inspector general of police for being proactive in confronting the surging insecurity in the region, some respondents however urged governors of the region to equip the outfit for efficient operations.
Agadenyi Charles Nwodo, former national chairman of the Progressives Action Congress, said, “Let them implement the scheme very well. It is a welcome development and timely. We have been clamouring for state police, but the federal government said it would introduce an executive bill to bring it to fruition. People should not be in a state of apprehension all the time.
Communities have to rise, organise themselves and defend themselves to bring about good life within the environment. People cannot watch themselves lose the spirit of community because of insecurity; and allow criminality to be an everyday life. Ebubeagu is the only way out if well-conceptualised. As the Amotekun of Southwest has been established, the Southeast now has Ebubeagu security network. We expect same in Northcentral, Northeast, Northwest and Southsouth. It is another alternative to state police. It is assumed to be regional policing. We pray that the IGP along with other security agencies back them up for maximum results. It is the only way to keep Nigeria safe, united and progressive.”
Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie, a civil rights activist and governorship hopeful in Anambra State, said, “Our governors should tell us first who heads the Nigerian security outfits in the Southeast and how effective is their control as governors over them. We all know the chains of command.
“Also we need to know how many of our people head security outfits in other regions. They should rise up and know that no one secures you better than yourself, especially in this country with glaring cases of one tribe doing everything to dominate and control others. The fact remains that we have weak governors and representatives at both state and federal levels.”
For Nze Elvis Agukwe, former commissioner in Imo State, said, “First of all, the political meeting is a clear statement that the Igbo want the president. It has not happened before. Let other Nigerians know
that for there to be justice, presidency needs to be zoned to the East.
“On the new security scheme, I’m happy the politicians were able to make the statement. It is historical. The meeting is an answer to the security challenges in the Southeast. It is a welcome development if properly managed. It has the tendency to solving our security challenges.”
Author and public affairs analyst, Mr Osmond Onu, said, “The launch of Southeast security network is a welcome development, even though it was almost coming later than expected. Security is everyone’s business. And the most fundamental objective of any government is the security of lives and property of its citizens.
“If not for the skewed constitution we have in Nigeria, it’s unimaginable that one should be in Abuja and dish out instructions concerning security issues in Enugu. In fact, the 1999 Constitution is the worst legacy of the military administration to Nigeria. Unfortunately, since 1999, politicians, especially our lawmakers, because of their pecuniary gains and primordial sentiments, have refused to tinker the constitution to bring it to the reality of the day. But thank God that the Southeast governors have woken from their deep slumber because necessity they say is the mother of invention
“The security challenges in Southeast will be ameliorated. This is because criminal elements have been having a field day because there’s no superior firepower that can challenge them. The initiative needs support to avert it being counter-productive.”
Credits | TW