From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Mixed reactions, yesterday, trailed the proclamation of regional security outfit, codenamed ‘Ebubeagu’ by the South East governors.
Those who spoke to Daily Sun were not satisfied with the processes leading to the establishment of the security outfit, particularly as there was yet to be any laws backing it.
The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) described the setting up of Ebubeagu as a good idea though belated; but said it cannot be believed until they saw their seriousness.
ADF noted that it was the same way the governors had promised to set up a regional security outfit in February 2020, after an Imeobi Ohanaeze resolution at Nike Lake, Enugu but nothing happened one year down the line.
The group’s spokesman, Abia Onyike, said: “We can’t take them serious until they start doing something concrete. For now, they are merely playing to the gallery.”
Onyike added that it was not just enough to pronounce on the regional security outfit without a law banning open grazing.
“There should be a law banning open grazing of cattle in the South East. The law should be passed in the five states’ Houses of Assembly. To orally make an announcement banning open grazing shows lack of commitment on the part of the governors. They are being smart.
“Again, we will like to know their logistic preparations. Where are their vehicles and other operational facilities and equipment like in the case of Amotekun in Yoruba land?
“Let the South East governors go and use the draft bill prepared by ADF in 2017 to make binding laws against open grazing. If they fail to do that, then it exposes them further as unserious people.”
Respondents also said the greatest challenge is how to manage the Ebubeagu and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), already operating in the region.
They expressed concern that having parallel security outfits for the zone was a frightful idea, especially as the ESN had taken shape and also gained street credibility.
For such people, the Ebubeagu of the governors was a mere pacification move.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Ozioma Izuora, argued that there was nothing like Ebubeagu until the states’ Houses of Assembly legislated the security outfit into being.
“It does not exist at the moment. This was not how Amotekun was established. There has to be enabling laws first.”
She also advised the governors to invite the leadership of ESN; noting that the IPOB had shown leadership in establishing the ESN.
“Governors should eat the humble pie and acknowledge that and draw them in so they can merge, in fact, leadership of ESN should be expanded with appointees of the governors; while Ebubeagu should embark on training so that they rise above mere vigilante groups,” Izuora said.
Regardless, former Nigerian envoy to Singapore, Nonye Rajis-Okpara, hailed the governors for the establishment of Ebubeagu.
Rajis-Okpara, in a statement, said the establishment of Ebubeagu was a welcome development.
“Their bold decision/resolve to work as a team, and in unity is a welcome development
“Nothing, and no one can stop a vision that its time has come. The people of South East have long desired to see this action and unity of purpose among our governors. It’s in unity that God commands his blessings,” he said.
He said the formation of Ebubeagu, though long over due, was an action in the right direction, seeing that terrorism and banditry have become the order of the day in Nigeria.
“Their recent activities in the South East is very worrisome. This new development has made our people excited, hopeful and grateful to our governors for putting aside their political differences for the common good of the people.
“However, to achieve their vision, the South East governors will need the support/cooperation of relevant stakeholders to ensure the fight against terrorism and banditry in the region is successful.
“I will, therefore, like to use this opportunity to plead with everyone, especially our political leaders, and the Federal Government to give them necessary support and encouragement to enable them succeed in their mission. This is not the time for fault finding, criticising of leadership or doubting their intentions,” Rajis-Opara said.
In the same manner, former Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi dismissed the decision of the governors as feeble both in the quality of thinking and political will displayed by their communiqué.
He said there was so much hesitation, hedging and prevarication on the part of the governors, yet, they had no law backing the outfit and body to implement the anti-open grazing they mouthed.
“Sadly, everyday, these governors prove Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) right to say ESN is our only hope. I don’t want ESN.
“I wanted a state regulated but effective security outfit and structure that will make it impossible for communities to be attacked like in Ebonyi.”