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Dialogue with ESN, alongside Ebubeagu – Igbo Forum to SE govs

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By Chukwudum Ebele

The Imeobi Igbo Forum, a grassroots pan-Igbo sociocultural organisation, has pointed at the benefit for governors of the South East zone to consult with the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s Eastern Security Network in the drive to secure the zone.

They recalled that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state said that Ebubeagu gathers information for use by the army and police to which they are affiliated. 

According to the forum, while such information gathering was ongoing, attacks had continued unabated. They opined that more assistance could be necessary in checkmating the activities of killer herdsmen in the region. 

According to a press release co-signed by the forum’s national chairman, Chief Dr. Michael Ikegulu and national secretary, Barr. Chibuike Nwabueze, community policing, now baptised and adopted as Ebubeagu, seems like the model currently in operation. They added that it, however, did not yield the required benefits regarding the new menace and impunity of the militia herdsmen and other security issues.

“Barely a year ago, Imeobi Igbo Forum advised the SE Governors of Nigeria to set up a vigilante group akin to the Amotekun of the South Western states but it fell on deaf ears. Even that cannot stand up to the magnitude of security challenges witnessed nowadays. They have now opted for an anomalous security arrangement without regard to the reality on ground. Slaughter of villagers in their houses and farmlands is on the rise. Traditional rulers are on the run; subjects are afraid to go to their various communities and farms.

“Based on the delay in moving from Ogbunigwe to Ebubeagu, some non-state actors have filled the security void. The security outfit on ground is composed of the same young men that would be involved with whatever the governors are working on.”

“Imeobi Igbo Forum advises that a wider consultation be embarked upon with all indigenous stakeholders, including IPOB, that has assumed those security duties. We should emulate leaders in other parts of the country by engaging those non-state actors in dialogue. They are already doing the security duties, rightly or wrongly, in a wider consultation. Information available show that communities where they operate seem to be satisfied with their security operations in the absence of any other help.”

“State governments routinely engage bandits and Boko Haram terrorists in other parts of the country in dialogue, showing that such engagement is possible and necessary.

“Let us not pitch against each other and spill our blood while the enemy creeps in from behind. Launching a rival security outfit or seeking to fight the existing security of non-state actors without extensive consultations, would pitch our youths against each other. It could give the killer herdsmen space to consolidate their exploits. Let us not turn our neighbourhood into a war zone.”

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