Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
In the aftermath of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) security summit, the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has disclosed his intention to establish a full-fledged ministry of homeland security for more effective protection of the state.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor. Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, said the governor made his intention known while speaking on the sidelines of the security summit.
The Ikpeazu was among the Nigerian delegation that accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari to the ECOWAS security summit on terrorism held at Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso.
Giving reasons for the planned Abia State Ministry of Homeland Security, the governor stated that “the need has arisen for the state government to tie up all loose ends in terms of securing our people.”
According to Ikpeazu, the planned ministry would have as its main focus the mainstreaming of activities of Fulani herdsmen and other violent crimes with a view to safeguarding the people and the environment.
He further explained that the whole idea was to ensure that no part of Abia territory would remain ‘unpoliced’, adding that field personnel of the ministry will be trained under a collaborative arrangement with the Nigeria police.
Ikpeazu said the new ministry would emerge after the approval of his list of commissioner nominees by the state legislature, adding that the name of the pioneer commissioner for the ministry of homeland security was included in the list.
Meanwhile, the governor has advocated for more international synergy in the war against terrorism, saying global leaders should find a common ground for collaborative action to tackle the menace.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the ECOWAS security summit, he stated the growing threats of terrorism can only be squarely tackled when leaders at all levels in the world come together to fashion out a common strategy.
Describing terrorism as a scourge and potent threat to global peace, Ikpeazu called for a shift from core geographic approach to a ‘geostrategic approach’ in the war against terror.
He said the international community should synergise and adopt measures like intelligence gathering and sharing; joint operations, good governance, and a structured educational system for young persons as potent weapons in the efforts to eradicate global terror.
The governor identified terrorism as a real and present threat to peace, democracy and socioeconomic development across the globe, hence the urgent need to identify and block all sources of funding for terrorists which constitute “the oxygen upon which terrorism thrives.”
He stated that he shared the same sentiments expressed by participants at the summit on the need for the propagation of ‘tolerant Islam’ as one of the potent ways of fighting terrorism on a global scale.