‘Mortuary management and related businesses are now the order of the day as people die like flies every, while children are nolonger afraid of corpses’
By Valentine Amanze
The South East Governors’ Forum of Thursday August 10, 2023 in Enugu ended with little or no solution to serious security challenges in the region in my own assesment.
Aside the recent end of the sit-at-home order of the “Unknown gunmen”, which was not even included in the agenda of the forum, insecurity stll lingers in the South East.
No day passes without news om killings and kidnappings in the region.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has exornerated itself from the killings and kidnapping, urging the police to look beyond its presence in the region, while pointing acussing fingers on the Fulani herdsmen in the region.
This means that the governors, as chief security officers in the zone, are not doing much though they have no control of the Army and the Police.
Their non-challant attitude to security has crippled the economic and social activities in the zone.
Today, South East youths are fleeing to major cities and sometimes, overseas.
Mortuary management and related businesses are now the order of the day as people die like flies every, while children are nolonger afraid of corpses.
A tribe without heavy youth population is bound to extinct quick.
That is why I feel concerned about the security situation in the zone and the decision reached on it by the South East governors.
The oommunique after the meeting attended by all the South East governors – Sen. Hope Uzodimma of Imo State (Chairman of the Forum), Dr. Alex Otti (Abia), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo (Anambra), Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi) and Dr. Peter Mba of Enugu, as the host – had stated that the governors, in collaboration with the federal government, were set to end insecurity, insisting that the perpetrators and their sponsors were criminals.
The communiqué read by Governor Uzodimma, the forum’s chairman, stated: “The forum firmly resolved to fight insecurity decisively in the region, individually and collectively, in partnership with the federal government of Nigeria and other stakeholders.
“We commend the security agencies for their cooperation and achievements thus far and encourage them not to relent.
“We wish to categorically state that the perpetrators of the insecurity and their sponsors in our region are criminals and should not be seen as legitimate agitators.
“Therefore, upon arrest, they should be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.
“The Forum resolved to hold the security and economic summit for the South East region on a date to be announced soon.”
While one would not fail to commend the genuine efforts of some the governors to bring sanity to the lawlessness in their states, it is very important to examine the history and causes of the rising insecurity before proffering solution to the menace; since it is said, “No smoke without fire.”
The governors appeared to have only treated symtoms instead of the real ailment.
The South Easterners are asking for a conducive environment to do business and the release of their son and IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, unjustly detained by the federal government and nothing more.
In April 11, 2021 at the Government House, Owerri, the South East Governors’ forum, then led by the former governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, announced the formation of a vigilante group, Ebubeagu, with headquarters in Enugu.
The motive was to assist the police and other government security agencies in protecting the region.
But the good idea, which succeeded in the South West as Amo te kun, failed beyond espectation as a result inadequate planning plus recruitment abuses.
In Ebonyi State, the former Governor Dave Umahi was forced to disband Ebubeagu vigilante on allegation of abuses and a tool of political vandatta.
The political abuse of Ebubeagu is one of the major reasons of insecurity in the region.
Some of the governors were alleged to have groomed them (Ebubeagu) to fight and intimidate their perceived political enermies.
I am happy the South East governors never discussed it at their Enugu meeting proberbly because of the Ebonyi State court ruling on its legality.
Also, on April 5, 2021, a total of 1,844 prisoners were freed when gunmen attacked a correctional facility in Owerri.
The same week gumen attacked almost all the Police stations in the 27 local government areas of state and freed the detained crime suspects, while the governors watched.
Till date no government official including prisons officials, had given an update on the number of prisoners rearrested and whether the looted guns were returned.
So long the guns remained in the hands of the fleeing criminals insecurity would continue to grow.
For peace to return, the politicians should stop using them as thugs; but collaborate with the state government to provide jobs for them via building of industries that would absorb them.
The governors don’t feel the heat because they live in Abuja. Again, the mindset of the security agencies in the South East must change. Extorting money from road users and motorists is not part of their assignment in the region; but to provide security.