EBONYI State government has claimed that it came up with the original idea of establishing a regional security outfit that has now been implemented in southwest Nigeria under the codename Operation Amotekun at the South East Governors Forum.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across southwestern Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which means leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Within the last week, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. Under the arrangements drawn up, the governments of the six states will train vigilantes, hunters and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) to provide security to provide intelligence for the official security services like the police, military and civil defence corps.
However, the Ebonyi State government has claimed that the southwest region stole the security idea from it. Stanley Emegha, the Ebonyi State commissioner for internal security and border peace, said the southwest geo-political zone only borrowed a leap from its southeast counterpart in establishing Operation Amotekun. He added that the southeast governors had even appointed General Obi Umahi, to coordinate the security architecture of the region.
Mr Emegha said: “The launch of Amotekun in the southwest is what is already in vogue in Ebonyi State, in particular and the southeast, in general. This is so because traces of insecurity like kidnapping, car- snatching, armed robbery, etc are no longer found in Ebonyi State.
“The actual region the governor of Kano was talking about for this security initiative, is the southeast, not the southwest and what they have done is they have just copied what is already in existence in Ebonyi. This kind of security strategy is being put in place and has been made possible by the southeast security consultant, General Obi Umahi but we have been silent about it because we are waiting to launch at the right time.”
He added that by the end of January, the security efforts and plan of the region would have been made clearer. According to Mr Emegha, the creation of the ministry of homeland security, in Abia State, was one of the moves being made by stakeholders to reduce crime in the zone.
“Security is a technical endeavour and that was why many efforts of governors of the zone in this regard had not been made public. Security is a very serious thing as no dull person can be a criminal, those who go into criminality are smart and intelligent persons, so we downplay what we do because we don’t want those we are targeting or fighting to cash in on our strategies.
“This is why we don’t disclose some of the things we put in place in order not to create room for the criminals to strike. Currently, all the happenings in virtual all the discos in Abakaliki metropolis, are monitored in our server room and nobody knew when we mounted those cameras and CCTVs,” Mr Emegha added.