Sabotage: Ebonyi gov’t to investigate warlords’ release in Effium
By Ruth Oginyi
The government of Ebonyi state Thursday frowned at the alleged release of about 55 arrested hired war warlords in the Effium community and set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the matter.
The state government said it has become important to unravel those behind what it described as “the unauthorized release” of the suspects as it intensified effort to ensure that peace returned to the area.
In a joint press briefing on the outcome of the state executive council meeting, secretary to the state government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, and the commissioner for internal security, Stanley Okoro, maintained that, with the gradual return of peace in the Effium community, the government would not tolerate such act of sabotage.
It could be recalled that about 66 suspected war warlords were said to have been arrested by joint security operations in connection with the Ezza-Effium and Effium communal crisis recently, but 55 of them reportedly went missing due to their unauthorised release by the state police command, followed by claims and counterclaims from the public, government and the police.
Ugbala, during the briefing, in Abakaliki, pointed out that the state government had frowned at the actions of the police and set up a committee to investigate and report back to it on the missing suspects towards rebuilding public trust in the system and returning normalcy in the area.
“The council frowned at the unauthorised release of some people that were arrested last two weeks, in connection with Effium crisis and directed that a committee to be headed by internal security commissioner should investigate such unauthorised release because we heard that there are some people that were arrested and subsequently some of them were unauthorised released.
Council was disturbed about the release and set up a committee, to be headed by the commissioner for internal security, to investigate and report back to the council, in our next security meeting.
“Last week a lot of press people confronted us, on the issue of those that were arrested and suddenly disappeared, and we were not ready to dive into a matter that was already before the security agencies as a government. This is because we know the security agencies will carry out the investigation on whatever happened and report back to the government.
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“But, today, the government requested this investigation because there are similar questions to know the level of investigation concerning the issue, and the report we are getting is not in line with our expectations; that was why the government frowned at it, and since we are not getting the required results concerning that action by the security agencies, the council set up the committee to look into it and report to us.
“It’s still a matter under investigation, the government is highly interested in the matter, because if we do not ask and know, then it may sabotage the peace process.”
Ugbala warned against spreading unverified information on social media and said that the council had also directed the arrest and prosecution of such suspects, using the medium to disclose that the Southeast security outfit, Ebube-Agu, will not stop the mobilisation of 1000 vigilante members to guard the rural parts of Ebonyi state against herdsmen and bandits.