The Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has expressed unhappiness over the pussy-footing exhibited by the governors of the South-East in the process of getting the Ebubeagu security outfit on board.
The socio-cultural body is also sad that the chairman of the South-East Security Committee resigned his appointment last week.
In an interview with our correspondent, the national publicity secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonna, recalled that the group had on several occasions asked the governors to roll out the Ebubeagu security outfit, which is for the interest and benefit of the people of the zone, but noted that each state in the zone had its own outfit.
“We are quite unhappy; and I tell you that nobody is happy about these developments,” he said.
Ogbonna, however, explained that the philosophy of the Ebubeagu security network “is to have a central coordination and uniformity to be able to know what is happening in Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra states, as the case may be.”
He noted that the legal or legislative angle of the law to back Ebubeagu was yet to be concluded or harmonised, adding that Ohanaeze would continue to persuade and advise the governors to ensure that the security outfit fully comes on board.
“If you ban open grazing without backing it with a law, it is as good as not doing anything,” he said.
‘Governors must not play politics with lives of citizens’
Meanwhile, a retired brigadier-general from one of the states in the zone, who preferred anonymity, described as “most unfortunate,” the fact that Ebubeagu is yet to be fully operational.
He noted that the governors’ attitude to the formation and harmonisation of the security “outfit simply shows the bad attitude of Igbo political leaders at the level of governorship”
The retired army officer, who spoke during a telephone chat with Daily Trust on Sunday, said, “Did you not see how our brothers in Yoruba land, despite their party affiliations, formed their Amotekun and it worked smoothly, baring all sorts of so-called oppositions from outside?
“That’s the kind of thing I expected from our governors, but they have fallen below expectations.”
He said it was quite sad that the “governors are not consulting those of us who are supposed to be consulted or contacted on security matters concerning the zone,” noting that “in this case, they will probably get certain things wrong.”
According to him, “If the governors could use a reasonable part of the security votes they collect monthly from Abuja, put them together to fund Ebubeagu, tell me why it won’t function well.”
“But they are busy doing it individually, thereby leaving a needless gap in the things that should join the security of the zone. The implication is that criminal elements, whether you call them armed herdsmen or unknown gunmen, will cash in on that gap to make life unsafe for the people in the zone.
“The governors know the right thing to do. Let them stop playing politics with the security of the citizens. Have they forgotten so soon that they took an official oath to protect the lives and property of the masses?”
Checks by our correspondents revealed that the bill for the establishment of the South East Security Network has not been presented in the State House of Assembly.
A senior aide to one of the Speakers in the region disclosed that the industrial action embarked upon by parliamentary workers affected the presentation of the bill.
“Don’t forget that the governors made the announcement in April. Shortly after, parliamentary workers went on strike which made it impossible to work on the bill.
“However, the bill will be presented in the Houses of Assembly in a matter of weeks now that the strike is over,” he said.