Nigeria’s Southeast leaders, comprising governors, religious leaders, traditional rulers and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, rose from a meeting Sunday in Enugu and asked the Commissioners for Justice and Attorneys-General of the states in the region to quickly fashion out the legal framework for the creation and operations of the regional security outfit, Ebube Agu.
They also committed themselves to work for the establishment of state police in order to effectively tackle insecurity even as they unveiled modalities for the take-off of the regional security outfit with headquarters in Enugu, which they said will work with the police and other security agencies in protecting lives and property in the Southeast.
The meeting came a day after gunmen, numbering about 15 and driving in a motorcade of three vehicles, accompanied by a tipper loaded with used tyres stormed the country home of Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, in Omuma Oru East Local Government Area and burnt down the property and appurtenances.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Sunday joined other groups and individuals to condemn the attack on Uzodimma’s country home, saying the attackers constituted a small league of persons trying to harm Nigeria’s corporate existence.
However, the incident has prompted the police and other security agencies to beef up security around the country homes of Uzodimma’s colleagues in the region.
The Southeast leaders agreed on the structure and operational modalities of Ebube Agu and to set up an advisory board for the security outfit.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, the leaders also directed the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. George Obiozor, to immediately form two committees, including the Southeast Peace and Reconciliation Committee to promote the peace and security of lives of the people and visitors; and a strategy and welfare committee to engage and protect the people, especially those who are being unfairly treated.
The meeting also condemned the attacks on the country home of Uzodimma, while calling on the federal government to fish out the perpetrators and ensure their prosecution.
“It restated their commitment to state laws banning open grazing in the South-east and urged security agencies and the local vigilantes to enforce the ban in all the states,” the leaders said.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Umahi said: “The forum re-stated their adoption of a common joint security outfit, Ebube Agu with regional headquarters in Enugu,” adding that they agreed to set up an advisory board for the outfit.
Umahi said the meeting also declared its support for restructuring, the setting up of state police and other national issues as discussed at the last National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.
He stated that a committee has been set up to work out the modalities and submit them to NEC at its next meeting.
Umahi said they also agreed on the implementation of various EndSARS youth empowerment programmes in the zone as soon as possible.
Chairman, Southeast zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Goddy Okafor, also said the leadership of the association was ready to support the governors in their establishment of the joint security outfit.
Chuks Okocha in Abuja, Christopher Isiguzo, Gideon Arinze in Enugu, Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia, David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka