GOVERNORS of the five states across the southeast geo-political zone have agreed to suspend plans to float their own regional security outfit that they had christened Operation Ogbunigwe after holding a meeting with the inspector-general of police.
Last month, the six governors of the southwest geo-political zone agreed to launch a regional body called Amotekun to combat the growing menace of banditry, kidnapping and insecurity in their states. Highly popular with Nigerians who have been living with chronic insecurity, Amotekun sparked off calls for the creation of similar regional structures nationwide.
In the southeast geo-political zone, the governors began moves to create a body that would be known as Operation Ogbunigwe, that would mirror Amotekun. However, yesterday, after a meeting with the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu in Enugu yesterday, the governors agreed to shelve these plans and instead opt for the federal government’s community policing programme.
Governor Dave Umahi, the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, said they had decided to charge local leaders of communities with the responsibility of recruiting personnel for the community policing initiative. It is not yet clear how this will work in practise as details of the plans are yet to be made public.
“Taking into cognisance the existing security initiatives instituted by the governors of the states in the southeast geopolitical zone at the various local levels, such as the vigilante groups, the neighbourhood watch, forest guards, farmers/herders committees, the homeland gate keeping, etc, which are in conformity with the community policing strategy, the state governors have accepted and adopted community policing as an effective tool in bringing policing to the grassroots. Two, community policing committees made up of traditional rulers, community leaders, town union leaders, religious leaders, etc, within the locality, will be charged with the responsibility of selecting and recruiting community policing officers that will work within the communities,” Governor Umahi added.
It is not yet clear if this southeastern programme will require the passing of laws in the state houses of assembly. Amotekun on the other hand will require the houses of assemblies of the six states of the southwest geo-political zones to pass bills legalising the body and this process is expected to be completed tomorrow with the governors signing the bills into law.