From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
An Igbo socio-cultural group, Igbo Bu Ofu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the South East governors to overhaul the entire security architecture in the South East to stem the tide of growing kidnapping and killings in the region.
The group said all heads of military and police command and formations should be transferred out of the zone.
Its leader, Ichie Agudiebube Ikemba, in a statement, said insecurity in the South East has risen to an all-time high and some communities in Enugu, Anambra and Imo states were leaving their places to avoid being slaughtered by perpetrators of the heinous crime.
“In Anambra State, some areas, especially in the southern and some parts of Central senatorial zones are no-go areas as kidnappers and criminals have taken over. However, some personnel of security outfits, especially the military and the police have been accused of being behind the insecurity in the South East as some of them are said to be working in concert with Fulani herdsmen and bandits in their kidnapping and killing spree.”
The group said victims of the Fulani herdsmen, especially the former prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, who was kidnapped at Isuochi, Abia State, Dan Shere and former secretary to the Enugu State government who was kidnapped at Ugwogo, Nike-Road, had also said Fulani herdsmen were working in concert with the military in their kidnapping activities in the zone.
It also accused the Federal Government and the security agencies of openly having soft spot for the bandits and killer herdsmen, alleging that the Federal Government recruited the so-called repentant Boko Haram members into security outfits, while the Nigerian army and other security personnel allegedly provided cover for the criminals.
The group said the Federal Government and security outfits described the killings and kidnapping of other Nigerians by the herdsmen as mere farmers/herders clash, focusing all their operations on Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The group equally blamed governors of the South East who allegedly sponsor insecurity in their respective states because of their selfish political ambition, saying if the security situation in the South East is not urgently addressed by stakeholders, a time will come when nobody would be spared.
The Igbo group listed poor governance which has resulted in gross unemployment, poverty and hunger as the cause of the proliferation of non-state actors in the insecurity in the South East.
They said both the federal and state governments should commence the payment of stipends up to about N50,000 to young but unemployed persons as a way out of the current travail.
Igbo Bu Ofu also said those criminals willing to drop their guns should be granted amnesty if they have genuine repentance, unlike the Boko Haram elements.
The group, however, suggested the introduction of the community identification number (CIN) to citizens as a way of checking increasing insecurity in the zone.