by Kenechukwu Ofomah
Ebube Agu Security Outfit is the only recognized security outfit in the Southeast region and no other has the mandate to speak for the region.
The clarification was made by the Chairman, Southeast Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr Dave Umahi on Friday after a closed door Southeast Security Council Meeting, held at Enugu.
The Federal Government delegation led by the Minister for Defence, Retired Major-General Bashir Magashi, also included Heads of the various security agencies, including the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Farouk Yahaya.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting which lasted for hours, Governor Umahi, condemned exchange of inflammatory comments, killing of innocent citizens, attacks on security operatives, as well as destruction of public infrastructures in the Southeast region.
He restated the ban on open grazing in the region, which is fueling insecurity across the nation, including the Southeast region.
“In resolving any conflict, the nature and causes of the conflict must be identified and discussed. This meeting discussed the issues of insecurity and I must commend the Federal Government delegation for the commitment they have shown. Our stakeholders are excited and satisfied with such sincere commitment which I believe, is a new dawn not only in the Southeast but the entire Nigeria. We discussed issue of ban on open grazing and the delegation has agreed on our position on the ban,” he said.
Umahi revealed that the meeting also agreed that the Southeast governors articulate the grievances of Ndigbo as identified by Ohaneze Ndigbo, especially as it affects marginalization of the region.
He expressed belief that if the numerous agitations are addressed, it will go a long way to douse the tension in the region and encourage the people to continue to believe in the Nigerian project.
“Ndigbo are committed to one united Nigeria, where fairness, equity and justice thrive. There is need for the various zones to advise leaders of this country to mind their utterances so as not to speak the country into violence. Those who dish out hate speeches, or threats of succession do not speak for Southeast. Southeast people are not for secession and we condemn the wanton killing of security agents and attacks on security formations. This is not what we are known for,” the Southeast governors’ Chairman posited.
He made it clear that Ebubeagu is the only local security outfit recognized in the region, adding that the position of the region, which is in line with that of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, will be articulated at a meeting scheduled for the 19th of June.
Responding, the leader of the Federal Government delegation, Retired Major-General Bashir Magashi, said the Buhari-led administration is committed to addressing instability and other forms of criminality bedeviling the nation and the region in particular, and thanked SouthEast leaders for efforts in that regard.
The Minister, who promised to bring the issue of marginalisation reechoed in the meeting to the attention of the President, enjoined stakeholders in the region to encourage Community Policing as the Southwest did with the Amotekun regional security outfit.
“We have listened to the government, the traditional institution, and the religious leaders and we agreed to commit ourselves to addressing the issue of insecurity in the country. We have seen the commitment of the Southeast governors to the unity and stability of the country and I am giving them the assurance that the commitment will be raised to the President.
“We have discussed the Herders complaint, marginalization of the zone, issue of community policing among other things and we believe we can work together to bring back peace and stability in the region and the entire country,” he said (The Chronicle)