Insecurity: Ebubeagu to the rescue?




At last, leaders of the South-east geo-political region has woken up to the security challenge bedevilling the region. CHUKS NWEZE reports on what a new security outfit just set up can achieve. 
Insecurity is one of the factors that has given Nigerians sleepless nights apart from the appalling state of the economy.It has become so paramount that regions, states and communities in Nigeria have jettisoned every other thing in order to find solutions to the nagging insecurity situation.

Investigation shows that there is no state in the country that is security-free presently because of the activities of hoodlums in the  form of armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and armed herdsmen. The activities of freedom fighters like IPOB, the Niger Delta militants and the OPC have combined to add to the insecurity scare in the country. It is as a result of this mounting insecurity that regions, states and communities decided to establish their own security outfits other than the federal government conventional security agencies.


Similar outfits in the past


Not too long ago, governments and elders in the South-west region decided to float their own security outfit known as Amotekun. In spite of the hues and cries that followed the move, the region stuck to its guns that the security outfit has come to stay with the state governments providing the needed logistics.
Just recently, Onitsha in Anambra state floated its own security outfit and has provided the outfit with the needed logistics to check the rising crimew within the vicinity and adjoining communities.


Recently, the bill seeking to rectify the establishment of Hunters Group of Nigeria, has gone through Second Reading in the National Assembly just as Peace Corps of Nigeria is waiting in the wings to be given a legal backing to become a government security agency.
Before now, there was no need for the proliferation of security outfits, but because of the activities of armed herdsmen who go about destroying farmlands, killing, raping and kidnapping for ransom, people saw the need to set up various security outfits other than conventional security agencies.In recent times, a group has been carrying out mayhem in the northern part of the country in the form of banditry. Their activities made it difficult for people to travel by roads or for children to go to schools as these elements invade schools and abduct students and pupils for ransoms. As a way of explaining it away, the idea of granting them amnesty like the Niger Delta militants who took up arms because of the environmental degradation caused by oil pollution in their enclave was tinkered with.


Faced with these security challenges that seemed to have overwhelmed the conventional security agencies, vigilante and the neighbourhood watch groups,  the need for the establishment of more security outfits to check the rising crimes and criminalities are on the front burner.


When the South-west leaders established Amotekun, it was expected that leaders in the South-east would follow immediately, rather they decided to hide behind the police arrangement of community policing that has since shown that without a more concerted efforts, it would not achieve the needed results. Therefore, when the outlawed pro-Biafra group (IPOB) saw the security lapses and that armed herdsmen are out to destroy farms and kill farmers and even sack an entire community, they decided to form a security outfit known as Eastern Security Network (ESN) with the sole aim to flush armed criminal elements masquerading as herdsmen from the South-east forests. 


When IPOB formed ESN, many did not take it kindly because IPOB is an alleged outlawed group, hence not qualified to float a security outfit since the federal government had blacklisted it as one organisation out to divide the country.


 Ebubeaguas as a necessity
Therefore to be seen as caring about the security of their people, South East Governors and Igbo leaders on Sunday, April 11 2021 decided to set up a joint security outfit similar to  Amotekun to be known as Ebubeagu which when translated means the glory of a tiger.
Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Dave Umahi, who announced the birth of Ebubeagu after Sunday, April 11, 2021, summit held Owerri, Imo state, read a communique stating why and how the Ebubeagu would be run.He said, “After exhaustive discussions on the current security challenges in the South-east and with valuable contributions from participants at the first South-East Security Summit in Owerri on this day Sunday, April 11th 2021, it was resolved as follows:”To strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the South-east. The meeting strongly condemns the burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centres with the unlawful release of inmates and the killings including security personnel, natives/farmers and headsmen.
“That the five South-east states are on the same page with the federal government on the issue of security challenges in the country. To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the South-east would stand resolutely with the federal government to fight terrorists and bandits to finish.


“That the political leadership in the South-east has resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command as one united zone to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
“That the summit resolved that to achieve this, there is a need to galvanise all the relevant stakeholders in the South-east, the political class, the business community,  bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five South-east states to ensure total success in the fight against criminalities in the zone.”That heads of all the security agencies in the South-east have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that would help to checkmate crimes in the zone.
“That to fast track crime-busting in the South-east, the heads of security agencies have been mandated to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminalities for the immediate provision by the leadership of the South-east.”That a committee made up of security personnel, government officials and relevant stakeholders are set up to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the South-east joint security platform.”Following the establishment of Ebubeagu which would be situated in Enugu as its headquarters, many have commended the move.


Applauses


The acting Zonal Commander, Hunters Group of Nigeria, Austin Nwagu, commended the governors of the region for the outfit which he believes would  stamp out hoodlums from the geopolitical zone.
Nwagu lamented that herdsmen were still killing people in Ebonyi state, saying that Ebubeagu is a welcome development to curb crimes.
 “We say kudos to the South East Governors. With the security outfit, we can sleep with our eyes closed,” he said and opined that the governors should equally equip them to join in the fight.
Speaking on the merits of Ebubeagu, the International President, Dominus Vobisum International Centre for Conflict Resolution (DVICCR) Fidelis Ogili, commended the governors over Ebubeagu saying that it was because the government security agencies, police and army seem to have been failed in their primary dutied of ensuring security that the need for establishing more security outfits arose.


Many thought Ebebuagu is somehow belated because it would have been established earlier especially at a time when kidnapping by the herdsmen was so high such that men of God were not spared. For instance, in the last three years, more than three Roman Catholic reverend fathers were kidnapped and killed by the herdsmen apart from other clergymen of other Christian denominations.
The killing of many villagers in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state in 2016 as well as the recent massacre of indigenes of Egedegede community in Ebonyi state are instances that made many to conclude that the governors were slow in taking a leap to check insecurity.


A 75-year-old Oganiru Igwe, resident in Enugu said, “It is okay that our governors have set up a joint security outfit at last but I must tell you that they wasted a lot of time. They should have set up a joint security network all these while that our farmers dreaded to go to their farms  for fear of armed herdsmen.
“When a widow was killed in broad daylight at Nchatancha Emene, Enugu a year ago, I thought that would have motivated our governors to do something but instead they set up Forest Guards that stay in towns and villages rather than going into the forests to dislodge the hoodlums.  Anyway, since they have risen, let’s watch and see.”

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