REGIONAL security outfit Ebubeagu recently announced by the South East Governors Forum was finally unveiled yesterday when uniformed members of the vigilante group were shown to the media in the Ebonyi State capital Abakaliki.
On April 11, the South East Governors Forum announced plans to launch Ebubeagu, modelled similarly to the Amotekun Corps in southwest Nigeria to provide security in the region. At a security meeting in Owerri, Imo State capital, the five southeast governors announced the establishment of the body which will have its headquarters in Enugu, to help provide security.
However, the launch of Ebubeagu has been dogged by controversy as secessionist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has dismissed it as a federal government ruse to hoodwink Igbo people. Ipob, which has its own armed wing called the Eastern Security Network (ESN), enjoined youths and other people across the southeast geo-political zone to distance themselves from Ebubeagu.
Other groups such as the World Igbo Congress have also dismissed Ebubeagu, saying they have not seen any evidence to show that the governors are serious about launching the body. In response to such criticism, the governors unveiled a team of armed men in Owerri yesterday, dressed in grey uniforms.
A group, made up of about 15 young men were shown in front of Government House, Abakaliki on the uniforms which had an emblem of a tiger on its sleeve. Ipob has made it clear that it will not work with the new body, saying asking the ESN to collaborate with Ebubeagu is like asking Lucifer to midwife birth of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, s showdown is impending as the South East Governors Forum has accused ESN of being a criminal organisation, accusing it of being responsible for the recent violence in the region. Within a space of two months, over six police stations have been burnt down and some security personnel have been killed in Imo State, with Governor Hope Uzodinma holding Ipob and ESN responsible.
Last week, Governor Uzodinma’s house was torched, while the palace of a traditional ruler in Anambra State was also attacked by gunmen allegedly said to be ESN members. However, ESN has since denied being responsible for the attacks.