GOVERNOR David Umahi of Ebonyi State has revealed that the reason why the South East Governors Forum refused to launch a regional security network similar to Amotekun was because creating such a body ran contrary to the dictates of Nigeria’s constitution.
Across southwestern Nigeria, the governors of the six states decided to form a regional security network called Amotekun to combat the menace. This led to calls for the creation of a similar body in the southeast and at one stage the South East Governors Forum considered launching an identical outfit called Operation Ogbunigwe but after a recent meeting with the inspector-general of police they abandoned the idea.
According to Governor Umahi, who is the chairman of the South East Governor Forum, they have decided instead to opt for community policing. He added that the southeast governors are resolute in their adoption of community policing as prescribed by the inspector-general of Police Adamu Mohammed, stressing that the model fits into the local security architecture in the area.
Pointing out that he and his colleagues would not subscribe to a regional security outfit because it runs contrary to the Nigerian constitution, Governor Umahi said the geo-political zone was being careful because it could be easily misconstrued. He, however, said he wants state police to be considered in the ongoing constitutional amendment by the National Assembly.
Governor Umahi said the governors had explained the issue of community policing to pan-Igbo body Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other leaders in the zone. He added that there were no more grey areas, pointing out that the governors were awaiting the template from Mr Adamu on community policing.
“We have our laws since 2015 backing our various security outfits and nobody has come to tell us you’ve broken the law. We were already doing that until the inspector-general of police came with a new idea saying you can integrate community policing into what you’re doing and I know very well that what you’re doing without bearing arms is also giving comfort to our people.
“So, our people are looking for what will give them comfort and assurances that their lives and property are secured. That’s why the southeast people will support state policing as the only alternative that’ll assure them that their lives and property are protected,” Governor Umahi added.
He stressed that good roads are basic in fighting poverty and accused desperate politicians of promoting insecurity by arming defenceless youths during elections. According to the governor, these youths then turn around and use the arms to help themselves when their expectations were not being met.