Silence as S’East Govenrors ground Ebubeagu
Since April 11, 2021 when the Ebube Agu Security Network was established by Governors of the South-East after a meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the security outfit is yet to commence operations in almost all other states in the region.
Without any known operational structure, without any office and without operational vehicles and other logistics in most of the states, the Ebube Agu security outfit has effectively been put in the cooler by the governors of the South- East.
The situation was made worse by the recent resignation of Major General Obi Abel Umahi (rtd) as the Chairman of the South- East Security Committee, the body charged with the responsibility of proffering solutions to the security challenges of the region.
It was the committee that also midwifed the Ebube Agu initiative. Obi Umahi is the second member to have resigned from the security committee.
Prof. Uzodimma Nwala of Alaigbo Development Foundation had earlier resigned from the committee when the South-East Governors resolved to implement the Federal Government’s Community Policing programme.
Nwala had lamented that the blueprint for an indigenous security outfit for the region had long been provided by the security committee but the governors of the region foot-dragged until they eventually embraced a failed community policing programme. It is nearly two weeks since Umahi resigned from the South-East Security Committee and yet the governors of the region have all remained silent about the development.
For some reasons, however, the Ebube Agu Security Network is only known to be operational in Ebonyi State with an established command structure, operational bases, patrol vehicles and substantial funding. The state Governor, Chief Dave Umahi has equipped the outfit with all the necessary equipment including operational vehicles.
The vehicles were handed to the network by Umahi two months ago at the new Government House, Centenary city, Abakaliki, the state capital. Ebonyi also went a step further to give legislative backing to the outfit by passing into law, the bill establishing Ebube Agu in the state via the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.
Ebubeagu operatives have since been deployed and put to work across the state. The irony therefore is that more than two months after the South-East Governors resolved in Owerri to establish the outfit, only the Governor of Ebonyi State seems to have taken action in that regard, while other governors of the region seem to have shelved the idea entirely.
This was actually part of the reasons the former Chairman of the South- East Security Committee resigned. The committee had intended a joint roll-out of the outfit across the region. In Imo State there is no office, no operational vehicles, not even the recruitment of operatives have been initiated.
This is largely also the scenario in Abia, Enugu and Anambra states. And it is suggestive of a lack of cohesion among the governors of the South-East and amplifies the inherent disunity in the South-East Governors’ Forum.
Efforts to find out from the various state governments why Ebube Agu which was announced with great fanfare more than two months ago has remained in the cooler till date met with a wall of silence as relevant functionaries of government either declined comments or parried the question.
When contacted to react on why Ebube Agu has not taken off in Imo, the Special Adviser on Security to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, a retired Police Commissioner, Mr. Dan Okoro declined to comment on the issue saying it was beyond his purview.
He simply said: “I do not have the capacity to speak on that matter. I am just an adviser to the Governor on security matters. I cannot speak on an issue that falls within the ambit of the governor alone to address.”
In Abia, the ministry in charge of security – Ministry of Home Land Security – does not have a Commissioner despite the importance of the ministry at this critical time. Efforts to reach top officials of the ministry yielded no fruit as the entire leadership structure of the ministry appears amorphous.
Contacted however, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s Adviser on Security, Captain Awa Udensi (rtd) declined commenting today (Tuesday) citing his busy schedules while offering to speak on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Governor Ikpeazu had during a recent interactive session with journalists in Aba said that he would only roll out a security outfit in Aba, after he had studied the recommendations of the recently concluded Abia Security Summit.
The summit which was held between May 26 to 28 in Umuahia and attended by serving and retired police officers from the rank of Assistant Commissioner or its equivalent in other services, was chaired by Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd).
In Anambra State, Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Security matters Chief Chikodi Anarah also declined comments saying that: “He has not been directed to speak on the matter.”
Reacting to the development, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for the umpteenth time called on the South-East governors to immediately roll-out the Ebubeagu Security Network.
The apex Igbo group revealed that the former Coordinator of Ebube Agu (the greatness of a Lion), Gen Obi Abel Umahi (rtd), resigned his position in order to save his name as people were already beginning to blame him for the delay in rolling out the South-East security outfit.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with New Telegraph in Enugu, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia blamed the delay in the official launch of Ebubeagu on bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with passage of enabling laws by the South- East states.