THREE out of the five states in the South-East failed to meet the December 31, 2021 deadline for the launching of Ebubeagu, a security outfit of the region that would be in the mould of Amotekun in the South-West.
Despite the insecurity in the South-East, only Ebonyi State has launched Ebubeagu, though the Abia State Government claimed it had inaugurated the security outfit.
South-East governors and other leaders had in October 2021 asked all the states in the zone to launch the security outfit before the end of the year.
The Igbo leaders stated this in the eight-point communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Enugu, the Enugu State capital, which the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, did not attend.
The meeting, which was also attended by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers, National Assembly members, the clergy and other prominent leaders, asked the governors and the people of the region to do everything within the law to ensure that there is no further sit-at-home in the South-East.
But a week after the expiration of the deadline, Anambra and Imo states have not inaugurated the security outfit, even as the Enugu State Government remained silent on the matter.
We’ve efficient vigilance group, says Anambra
Speaking on the matter, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, said the state was already with an efficient vigilance group.
He added that there were moves to change the name of the vigilance group to Ebubeagu.
He said, “For us, there is no big deal, we have an efficient Anambra Vigilante Group which we intend to restructure and change its name and uniform to Ebubeagu; that’s all. The delay in changing the name to Ebubeagu is a mere administrative thing; it’s as a result of the new security challenges we are facing and we are working on that, which is unusual.
“We have forwarded the processes to the state House of Assembly and when they are through, they are going to change the name and change the uniform. It requires some changes in the law establishing and governing it, as regards its operations, maybe we might make one or two adjustments. We are looking into the possibilities of making adjustments to their mode of operation.
“We already have existing personnel; we are only faced with extraordinary security challenges where we are being attacked by outside forces, people that are not indigenes. It is not a normal situation.
“So, we are going to redesign the system with a view to rejig it and give it a proper operational procedure. Once we are through with fine-tuning the modus operandi, we will announce it. The security challenge we are facing is only in Ihiala Local Government Area because it borders Imo State and it is where these people have their camp.
“By the time all the necessary formalities are done, we will just announce the change of name. I will not give you a specific timeline but it will be announced.”
Ebubeagu not launched, but operational in Imo – Commissioner
Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, said Ebubeagu had been operational in the state.
The commissioner said, “Ebubeagu in Imo has been operational since. For now, I don’t know when it would be launched officially, but all I know is that it is working in Imo State.
We’ve launched Ebubeagu, says Abia
The Abia State Commissioner for Information, Eze Chikamnayo, said the state had launched the Ebubeagu security outfit in line with the decision of South-East governors, without giving the date it was inaugurated.
Chikamnayo said, “The outfit has been institutionalised even at the local government areas. The state government has also fully equipped them.”
Enugu silent on security outfit despite surge in crime
However, efforts to get the Enugu State Government response on why the state failed to launch the security outfit within the set time were unsuccessful as the Special Adviser to the Governor, Mr Steve Oruruo, didn’t answer his calls as they rang out.
He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him.
A top government official also declined comment on the matter. He however referred one of our correspondents to the governor’s SA.
“Please reach out to SA to the governor who is now acting as the Commissioner for Information.”
Ohanaeze begs S’East govs to roll out security outfit
Lending its voice to the matter, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, appealed to state governors, who failed to meet the December 31, 2021 deadline to roll out thesecurity outfit in their states without further delay.
Meanwhile, since December 2021, some communities in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State, especially Eha-Amufu, had witnessed high level of kidnapping by suspected Fulani herdsmen who were taking advantage of the deplorable state of a section of Eha-Amufu – Ikem – Obollo-Afor Road to unleash mayhem.
Three members of the state Neighbourhood Watch were killed on January 2, 2022 in Eha-Amufu while trying to rescue a kidnapped wife and 11-year-old daughter of Dr Eugene Edeoga, younger brother of Enugu State Commissioner for Environment, Chijioke Edeoga.
Again, on Tuesday, January 4, herdsmen numbering about 50 reportedly sacked five village farm settlements in Mgbuji Eha-Amufu autonomous community, destroyed farm crops and killed five persons, mainly children and pregnant women.
But Ohanaeze spokesperson, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, wondered why the governors had were foot-dragging on rolling out the security outfit in their states to contain the increasing insecurity in their states.
Ogbonnia said, “Ohanaeze’s role is persuasive; we are not coercive. We don’t have the instrument of coercion. So, we are going to continue to persuade them and to let them know the dangers of not fortifying their various communities with relevant security machinery.
“So, I think Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, from our interaction with him, shows concern over the rate of kidnappings in Isi-Uzo LG, but to express it fully is to roll out Ebubeagu and Ohanaeze has been urging him to do so. It is also expected that Anambra and Abia States will follow suit.”