Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, has revealed that the regional security outfit currently being operated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – the Eastern Security Network (ESN) – was a brainchild of the Southeast governors, but was hijacked by the group.
Uzodimma who disclosed this at the weekend while interacting with members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Owerri noted that they abandoned the plan of using the name for the Southeast regional security outfit after it was bastardised by IPOB.
The governor also disclosed that the Southeast governors have plans to hold a summit in Owerri to fashion out modalities for the setting up of another security outfit for the region.
The summit, the governor said, would take a holistic assessment of the security situation in the region in order to determine the best solution to tackle it.
Uzodimma who admitted that pressure was being mounted on them to launch a strong security outfit for the zone, however, promised that the security outfit would be different from others when introduced.
His words: “In the next couple of weeks, governors of the Southeast will hold a security summit in Owerri with a view to fashioning out modalities for setting up a security outfit for our region. We will hold an elaborate discussion with a view to finding a lasting solution and to complement the work of security agents in the country.
“It’s necessary for every zone to be vigilant and have a security outfit, especially with the present situation we have in this country. We cannot lose faith with the management of security in our region and at the same time, we must be careful in the way we go about it.
“Southeast governors tried to set up the Eastern Security Network by working with Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The Attorneys-General of the five Southeastern states have already anchored a report on it and before we know it, IPOB hijacked the name and started using it to commit crime.
“That arrangement has not stopped. We are trying to take a review. We will come up with an outfit that will be lasting. We don’t want to do things because others have done it or be copycats. There are permutations and we must defend our people and ensure that there is no external aggression.
“It’s not failure of government because the primary responsibility of government is to protect the lives and property of the people.”
Speaking on property looted by previous administrations, Uzodimma expressed confidence that justice would be done and all looted property recovered.
He dismissed the claim by former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha that recovering property allegedly looted by his administration was a witch-hunt, stressing that the panel of recovery of public property did a diligent job by investigating widely.
He added that Eastern Palm University has been gazetted while government would soon gazette its finding on the report of the commission of inquiry on lands and related matters.