SEVERAL Igbo leaders including traditional monarchs and the president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo recently walked out of a meeting with the five state governors from across the southeast geo-political zone unhappy at the way they are being treated.
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, on Wednesday, after a meeting with the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu in Enugu, the governors agreed to shelve these plans and instead opt for the federal government’s community policing programme.
Several Igbo leaders, including the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers religious clerics, captains of industry and other stakeholders from the zone had arrived at the venue for the meeting as early as 9am. However, by 1pm, the governors and Mr Adamu had not arrived at the venue as the VIPs patiently waited, prompting many of them to leave.
Exasperated, Anglican Archbishop of Enugu, Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma, got up and said: “We are not here for music entertainment but for security issues. We have been here for hours waiting for these people and they are nowhere to be seen.
“This is how they toy with issues concerning Ndigbo. Why should they keep us waiting?”
Consequently, the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo stood up and left the venue and was followed by many of the traditional rulers. Despite the pleading of the chairman of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, other VIPs left too.
The governors and the inspector-general of police arrived about an hour later. Just as the inspector-general was giving his address, Chief Nwodo reappeared and Mr Adamu paused and acknowledged his arrival, thinking him for returning.
It now appears that the governors and the inspector-general of police held an initial meeting together earlier. During their meeting they agreed to scrap plans to float a regional security outfit along the same lines as Amotekun.
They 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.