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S-East govs, Reps, Army move against insecurity

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Thursday, August 10th, 2023
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The governors of the southeast, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee, and security agencies including the Chief of Army Staff, yesterday, met at Enugu and Abuja respectively over the biting insecurity in the southeast.

The Reps ad-hoc Committee in their meeting with the Chief of Army Staff complained that violent crimes by gunmen and other criminal elements linked to IPOB and ESN are threatening the existence of the South-East region.

Obi Agocha, the committee chair, stated this in Abuja while interfacing with security agencies to reduce banditry, assassination, kidnapping, and other crimes in Abia.

He said the interface aimed to address insecurity that had cast a shadow in Abia, adding that several occurrences of insecurity had threatened the region’s foundation.

According to Agocha, the ad-hoc committee understood that no single solution could quickly address the menace.

The legislator, however, said that such challenges required a collective approach, adding that security agencies and all stakeholders must be prepared to tackle this menace.

“We must collaborate to nip this crisis in the bud. We must work in synergy to create a stronger force against insecurity in the region.

He said Umunneochi, a community in Abia, the epicentre of the battle, shares boundaries with other states in the South-East.

The lawmaker alleged that most of the non-state actors, like IPOB and Eastern Security Network, often came to commit crimes in the area and disappear to neighbouring states.

The chair expressed displeasure over the absence of security agencies who failed to attend the hearing, adding that the lawmakers would not condone such an attitude.

The security agencies at the meeting were the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja promised that insecurity ranging from kidnapping, banditry, and other criminal activities currently ravaging the South East region especially Isiukwuato and Umunnochi local government areas of Abia State will soon end.

This is as he assured that all security agencies are working round the clock to address the insecurity in the region.

We’ll end kidnapping in S-East region soon —Army Chief

Lagbaja who was represented by the Deputy Director Operations, Army Headquarters, Brigadier General Gabriel Olufemi Esho, made the commitment during a meeting with the House of Representative Ad-Hoc committee investigating the killing and kidnapping in Umunochi Community in Abia State.

According to Lagbaja, the threat of kidnapping remains a potent security threat, especially in the two local government areas stating that, particularly in July this year, the region recorded cases of kidnapping and attacks by criminals suspected to be elements of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

He said that the security in these two local governments areas are also collaborating with the Army but due to certain challenges, the bulk usually lies with the Nigerian army.

He said ”The House of representative through its letter dated 3rd August 2023 requested that the Nigeria Army submit a memorandum to the ad-hoc committee to interface with relevant security agencies and stockholders in respect of incessant attacks of kidnappers, assassination and banditry and other criminal elements in and around these two local government areas, it is pertinent to state the incidence of kidnapping in southeast region particularly in the second quarter of this year.

“Recently efforts of the Nigerian army through its Division in conjunction with other security agencies have diminished the threat of kidnapping.”

He however assured the committee that all efforts will be made to bring the perpetrators to book and restore peace to the region.

Also speaking at the meeting, the assistant Commandant General of NSCDC, Philip Ayuba, who represented the Commandant General of NSCDC, Abubakar Audi said that part of the challenge the security agencies face in tackling the insecurity in the region is the lack of cooperation from members of the community where the acts are been carried out.

“I want to state that we are out in synergy with other security agencies and have been able to look around and found out that there is a very good number of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

“We found that in that environment almost everybody has a weapon and there is the willful disposition of many communities to purchase locally made arms and there is a lack of this cooperation by the community where we are trying to get information from when they go there for manhunting to volunteer information of who and who are involved in that criminal act.To approach them even within themselves, they are afraid of themselves.”

We’ll intensify fight against insecurity collectively, individually—S-East govs

Similarly, Governors of the South East have resolved to intensify war against the prevailing insecurity in the region collectively as well as separately.

They made the resolution in a meeting in Enugu Government House yesterday.

The five Governors of the region were all present in the meeting and were also joined by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Igalla; the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj Gen Aminu Chinade; and commissioners of Police.

The Governors in attendance included the Chairman of South East Governors Forum and Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State; Dr. Alex Otti of Abia State; Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State and the host Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah.

In a communique read by Governor Uzodimma, the south east Governors said that “The Forum firmly resolved to fight insecurity decisively in the region individually and collectively, in partnership with the federal government and other stakeholders.

“We commend the security agencies for their cooperation thus far and encourage them not to relent.

“We wish to state categorically that the perpetrators of the insecurity in our region and their sponsors 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 also resolved to hold the security and economic summit on a date to be announced soon.

Arsonists continue in Imo as Police move to arrest suspects

Meantime, the burning down of houses of politicians, traditional rulers, and residents has continued in Imo State, just as the Imo State Police command has vowed to arrest the suspects.

The promise to arrest the suspects was given by the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Henry Okoye, on Thursday while reacting to a series of reports of hoodlums burning houses of residents in Imo.
Okoye said: “Frantic investigating efforts are on top gear to arrest the arsonists and bring them to justice.”

The latest of such reports was that of a monarch, HRH, Eze Kanu in Ndianiche Arondizuogu in Ideato North council area of Imo State.

This came a day after the house belonging to a former member of the House of Representatives who represented the Orlu/ Orsu/ Oru East federal constituency of Imo State, Jerry Alagboso, was set ablaze by hoodlums at his hometown in Orsu council area of the state.

Also, the house of the traditional ruler of Okwuru, Orsu Ihitteukwa in Orsu council area of Imo State, Eze-Elect, Eze Ezekiel I. Nwokedi, was burnt down.

Many have been killed by hoodlums and abducted from their houses and taken to unknown destinations. Some villages have been reportedly taken over by hoodlums especially that of the Orsu council area, Okigwe axis of the state.

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