GOVERNORS of the five states in Nigeria’s southeast geo-political zone have decided to emulate their counterparts in the southwest of the country and establish a regional security outfit similar to Amotekun.
Last year, the South East Governors Forum scrapped plans to launch a regional security network to be known as Operation Ogbunigwe, that would have been similar to Operation Amotekun launched in the southwest geo-political zone. In February 2020, the six southwest governors 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, 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. 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.
However, with the federal government refusing to deliver of community policing and insecurity growing by the day, there are now plans to go back to the original initiative. At a security meeting in Owerri, Imo State capital, yesterday, the governors announced the establishment of Ebube Agu, which will have its headquarters in Enugu State.
Governor Umahi, said: “After exhaustive discussions on the current security challenges in the southeast and with valuable contributions from participants at the first southeast security summit in Owerri on this day Sunday April 11th 2021, it was resolved as follows: To strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the southeast.
“The meeting strongly condemns the burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centres with the unlawful release of inmates, and the killings including security personnel, natives/ farmers and headsmen. That the five southeast states are on the same page with the federal government on the issue of security challenges in the country.
“To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the southeast will stand resolutely with the federal government to fight terrorists and bandits to a finish. That the political leadership in the southeast has resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command, as one united zone, to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
“That the summit resolved that to achieve this, there is a need to galvanise all the relevant stakeholders in the south east, the political class, the business community, the bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five south east states to ensure total success in the fight against criminality in the zone. That the heads of all the security agencies in the south east have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that will help to checkmate crime in the zone.
“That to fast track crime-busting in the south east, the heads of security agencies have been mandated to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminality, for the immediate provision by the leadership of the southeast. That a committee made up of security personnel, government officials and relevant stakeholders be set up to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the south east joint security platform.
“To applaud the initiative of the southeast security summit and to make it a statutory summit that will convene every quarter while its hosting shall rotate among the five south east states. The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the southeast otherwise known as Ebube Agu.
“The meeting appreciated the formation of a southeast joint security outfit named Ebubeagu, headquartered in Enugu to coordinate our vigilantes in the southeast. Also, the South East Governors Forum requests the Acting inspector-general of police to stop the influx of monitory units but to allow police commissioners and state and zonal commands to handle their cases.
“Also, the meeting approves that the acting inspector-general of police and other security chiefs do invite the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Christian Association of Nigeria to find out the reasons for increasing insecurity in the southeast. Security formations were targeted in multiple attacks in Imo last week and a Catholic priest was also abducted in the early hours of Sunday, raising security concerns in the state.”