From Magnus Eze, Enugu
The Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), yesterday, dismissed the recently formed regional security outfit by the governors in the zone, Ebubeagu; saying it might not serve the interest of the people.
ASETU said the current security arrangement whereby the governors handpicked their loyalists to constitute it might end up becoming counterproductive.
The town unions rather opted for the local vigilantes, which according to them, naturally belonged to the people.
A communiqué by ASETU’s National President, Chief Emeka Diwe and National Secretary, Gideon Adikwuru, urged that local vigilantes should be reorganized, revamped and given the incentives to secure Igbo land.
The group condemned the overrunning of Igbo land by bandits parading as unknown gunmen who had embarked on killing and arson spree.
It also decried what it called the ultra-militaristic handling of the unfolding phenomenon, noting that it had not helped matters, as innocent, unarmed and vulnerable citizens had severally lost their lives in the process.
ASETU therefore, restated its earlier position that there must be involvement and full participation of the Town Unions across all the layers of the formation of any security outfit meant for the region.
“This is what our people want, and this is the only arrangement that can guarantee full security of lives and property in our land.”
The group further stated that the structure and operational modalities of Ebubeagu clearly ran foul of the expectations of the people, and did not conform to the character of indigenous security architecture of the Igbo society.
“Over the years, Igbo communities have evolved ways of protecting themselves. They have done so through vigilante groups, which are also known as neighbourhood watch groups in some places.
“These are the creations of the people themselves, administered by the town unions, and which reflect the peculiarities of each locality. They are rooted in their various areas of operations, and their tentacles span every space within their communities. The people trust them, and their access to intelligence is limitless.
“And today, the town unions have evolved and coalesced into local government, zonal, state and national bodies. All that is required now is to energize these already-existing security structures, facilitate their capacity up-skilling by training and retraining their field operatives and providing them equipment necessary to confront the situation of the day. This is what Ebubeagu should look like in order to be effective and retain the trust of the people,” ASETU stated.