Waiting for Southeast’s Security Outfit

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Southeast governors pondering the security of their states

It’s about time the Southeast expedited action on its proposed security outfit, writes David-Chyddy Eleke

Not long ago, governors of the Southeast zone met in Enugu State and agreed to propose a law to create its own regional security outfit. The governors’ decision, it was gathered, came weeks after Southwest governors met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and agreed to pass similar laws to back up the Southwest security outfit, Amotekun.

At their meeting, which held on a Sunday, Southeast governors resolved to have their state assemblies pass laws to establish their own security outfit.

In a communiqué, details of the meeting of the governors read, “The governors of the South-east geo-political zone rose from a closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu, disclosing their plan to forward a bill to South East State Houses of Assembly to enact a law to back-up the Southeast Regional Security Programme.”

Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who briefed journalists, stated that the arrangement with the states Houses of Assembly would arrive at a name for the regional security outfit.

Umahi, who maintained that the Southeast governors had earlier formed their joint regional security on July 28, 2019, and consequently inaugurated the committee on August 31, added that the forum had written to the federal government concerning the security outfit.
“At an appropriate time, we shall be inviting the federal government to note the details of our Joint Security Programme. We have our State Vigilante and the Forest Guards in all the South East States, who work with the security agencies daily in our various communities for protection of lives and property.”

The move was however lauded by several individuals in the Southeast and beyond, as a commendable initiative that could help secure lives and property in the zone at a time, when all hope was already lost in terms of security in the country.

The duo of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have through their attacks in the country increased the spate of insecurity and bloodletting, giving cause for every well meaning leader to think up an alternative to protecting their subjects.

The formation of Amotekun, the Southwest’s regional security outfit was necessitated by the same reason, and climaxed after persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked and killed the daughter of a famous Yoruba leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

The killing, and the onslaught unleashed on travellers along the Lagos-Benin and Lagos-Ibadan expressway made the creation of the outfit very imperative. This was because for every attack registered, the state security organisations seemed to act with lackluster attitude, and always come up with a statement that exonerates the supposed actual perpetrators of the crime.

In the Southeast, from Enugu to Ebonyi, Anambra to Abia, there have been reports of killings by Fulani herdsmen, in clashes with Indigenous farmers or indigenes of a locality. Even though there have not been confirmations that that most of the killings were done by invading herdsmen, the Southeast based separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra has continued to insist that most of the attacks were by Fulani herdsmen.

During a recent orgy of bloodletting in a part of Ebonyi State, which was said to have been occasioned by land tussle between an Ebonyi community and a community in Benue State, IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu stated that even though there was a land tussle between the communities, the attack on the Ebonyi community, which cost them several lives was planned and executed by the herdsmen, with the land misunderstanding as a decoy.

All these made it imperative for the Southeast to take charge of their lives, leading to the proposition of a regional security outfit by the governors.

Mr Oseloka Obaze, a diplomat and governorship candidate of PDP in Anambra in the last Governorship election announced to journalists that the plan to float the outfit is being speedily worked on.

He disclosed that a committee was working round the clock to ensure that arrangements were put in place for the inauguration and commencement of the outfit. Presently, he said the committee is still shopping for a name for the outfit, and that soon, the Southeast governors would announce the name of the outfit.

A source that spoke to THISDAY revealed that several names were already on the table to be picked for the outfit, and that deliberations were ongoing. Some of the names given by the source that pleaded anonymity include Agu (Tiger), Odum (lion), Mkpakana (trap) and many others.

Asked why the committee is not going for a name like Ogbunigwe, the name for the locally manufactured machine gun used by Biafra forces during the civil war, the source said the name already had an origin that is deeply rooted in the secession bid of the Igbo, and using it may send the wrong signal.

“The creation of a regional security outfit, especially, among the zones in the South has become very imperative. It will give the people the power to secure their people without waiting for the police of military, who will always foot-drag after every incidence of insecurity in the zones,” the source stated.