From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Disturbed by the growing onslaught of terrorists in the country especially their daring encroachment into Abuja, the nation’s capital, stakeholders in the South East have raised concerns over security of their homeland. The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Friday, raised the alarm that the South East zone was already vulnerable as far as security was concerned.
It alleged that efforts by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to create a regional security outfit was undermined and betrayed by the state governors whom it described as “self-appointed agents of the Caliphate in Igbo land.”
Acting General Secretary of ADF, Abia Onyike further alleged that the Ebubeagu Security Network, which was set up in Ebonyi and Imo States, was not serving the interest of the people of those states. He stated that the security outfits instead protect enemies of their people including Fulani herdsmen.
He said: “The leadership of the South East Governors’ Forum has been very vociferous in undermining the collective security programme of the zone. Igbo leaders have looked on helplessly. The Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi once stated that there is nothing like regional security.
“But now it has dawned on us. Even the Ebubeagu Security outfit put in place by the Ebonyi and Imo State governments only compromised the interests of our people. The Ebubeagu outfits now operate as the personal militia outfits of the two governors. They act as political enforcers for the governors. They do not go after enemies of the South East people such as the Fulani herdsmen. Instead they defend the herdsmen against Igbo citizens. The situation is one of complete sell-out. It is as bad as that.”
But the former military administrator of Delta State, Air Commodore Luke Ochulor (rtd) urged the governors of the South East to work in synergy irrespective of their political parties and strengthen the existing vigilance groups in various communities. He opined that with effective community policing, the South East could defence their homeland and everywhere will be safe.
To achieve this, the former military chief called for proper training, good welfare package and enough motivation for the vigilantes who he said should work in synergy with the police.
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has vowed to protect the eastern homeland, stating that its Eastern Security Network (ESN) was equal to the task. IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful in a release to Saturday Sun disclosed that the group was ready to work with the state governors to provide security for their people, stressing that this was the only way to keep the zone safe from terrorists’ invasion.
According to him, South East governors, religious leaders and Igbo elders should support and strengthen the ESN to fight any terrorists that would attempt to invade Igbo land. “Our leader, Nnamdi Kanu predicted this in his numerous Radio Biafra broadcasts that soon, nowhere would be safe again in Nigeria including Lagos State. Is it not happening?”, he asked.
Speaking further, he warned: “But we would not allow that to happen in South East. ESN is ready for them. This is the time for the governors of South East to wake up from their slumber and face the reality. Their Ebubeagu has failed them. ESN was formed to safeguard our people. We’re aware of the plot to blackmail us before the international community. But God will vindicate us.”