PAN-Igbo cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo has proposed the creation of a security outfit to be codenamed Operation Ogbunigwe for the southeast geo-political zone following the successful launch of a similar body called Operation Amotekun in the southwest.
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.
Happy with the launch of the regional security body, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the president of Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council, said it is time to create a similar one in the southeast. He also advocated the creation of a ministry of homeland security across southeast Nigeria to coordinate this new regional security outfit.
He added that the outfit will be unarmed and like Operation Amotekun will assist in intelligence gathering for the national security agencies. According to Mazi Isiguzoro, the proposed Operation Ogbunigwe will incorporate existing vigilante groups including Enugu Forest Guards, Ebonyi Neighbourhood Watch, Abia Homeland Security outfit and other local vigilant groups, hunters and community-based youth associations.
Mazi Isiguzoro said: “The essence of the regional security outfit are the limitations facing the state-owned security ones who are restricted to boundaries of their various states. We have observed that criminals and suspected herdsmen are exploiting the disadvantages and loopholes of a lack of a uniformed regional security outfit in the southeast to perpetuate heinous crimes against Igbos.
“Operation Ogbunigwe Regional Security outfit will be at the mercy of the South East Governors Forum and the state houses of assemblies. Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council will sponsor the bills in all state assemblies.
“We laud the creation of the Abia Ministry of Homeland Security and warn detractors to stop tagging themselves enemies of peace. We also urge Igbos to Support Operation Ogbunigwe as a southeast regional security outfit for intelligence-gathering.”