Geoffrey Anyanwu and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
The Federal Government, governors of South East states and Igbo leaders, yesterday, agreed on modalities to secure the South East region.
At a South East geo-political zone Security Summit in Enugu, Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, said the agreement with Federal Government, represented by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, accommodated all the concerns of security challenges in the zone.
The summit which was nearly marred by the late arrival of the IGP and the Governors (five hours behind schedule) as many led by Ohaneze Ndigbo President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo walked out in anger however, had in attendance a good number of first class monarchs, religious leaders and other Igbo personalities.
Umahi who read the communiqué assured the people of the zone that the meeting they held with the IG which was the cause of their lateness yielded dividend.
“Let me assure you that the Community Policing was properly and in full details explained to us and is not different from our neighbourhood watch, our vigilante, operation kpochapu, the forest guard, herdsmen farmers committee and others and so when we saw that this is totally in tandem with what we are doing, we decided as your governors to embrace the initiative of Community Policing which is an official endorsement in line with Police Act of what we are doing to safeguard the lives and property of our people.”
South East Governors had earlier announced their resolve to establish a regional security outfit to secure the region.
The communiqué read: in part: “Taking into cognizance the existing security initiative instituted by the governors of the states in the South East geo-political zone at the various local levels such as the Vigilante Groups, the Neighbourhood Watch, Forest Guards, Farmers, Herders Committees, the Homeland Gatekeepers etc, which are in conformity with the Community Policing strategy, the state Governors have accepted and adopted Community Policing as an effective tool in bringing policing to the grassroots.
“Community Policing Committees made up of traditional rulers, community leaders, town union leaders, religious leaders etc, within the locality will be charged with the responsibility of selecting and recruiting Community Policing officers that will work within the communities.
“The Governors of states within the geo-political zone to reinforce and provide improved capacity for the Police and other security agencies in their respective states in support of the Community Policing programme.
“Each state within the South East geo-political zone to individually and periodically undertake operations against crimes and criminality in synergy with the Police and other security agencies.”
In his address, the IGP, Adamu gave details of how the Community Policing would function and urged the people to cooperate with police to secure the region, noting that it was only when “we work in solidarity that we can overcome.”
Nwodo, who later returned to the venue expressed the displeasure of the entire people over the delay saying: “We are not happy with how you kept us for over four hours without hearing from any of you concerning the security we summit. Our traditional rulers and other stakeholders have been here waiting. I know it is not in your personality but unfortunate that your protocol treated us this way.”
Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma said: “We are religious leaders and we are saying that what is happening in our country today is very much devastating.