Nigeria’s Southeast governors on Monday unfolded a plan to give legal backing to the formation of the region’s security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu.
Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Uchenna Orji, told newsmen in Abakaliki that each of the five states in the zone would promulgate a law to establish the outfit in its area of jurisdiction, explaining that the law would be similar.
This comes as a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Mr. Parry Osayande, has attributed the formation of regional security outfits in the country to injustice and the neglect of the Nigeria Police Force.
Orji, whose state Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, chairs the South-east Governors’ Forum, said though the law would be similar, each state governor would still be in charge of the operatives in his state.
The South-east governors, in a communiqué issued on Sunday after a meeting in Owerri, had announced the setting up of the regional security outfit to battle insecurity.
“There will be commonality and similarity of law across the states but it would still be manned by the state governors individually. Ebonyi State will also join other states to enact a law to legalise the operation of the outfit in the state,” he said.
However, Osayande expressed concern about the clamour for regional security outfits, which he attributed to the neglect of the police by the federal government.
He accused the federal government of destroying the police with the creation of other organisations out of it, notably the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said the situation had left the populace at the mercy of criminal elements hence the formation of regional security groups for self-defence.
He said: “They created EFCC, DSS, road safety, NSCDC out of it.
“They are funding them with what should have been funding for the police so the police are dead and the people are exposed.
“So, if the regionalists decide to defend themselves, what do you have against them? They are going to suffer it eventually. So you have four other forces competing with the Nigerian police. They are underdeveloped, under-trained.
“We need to bring people that can rule the country properly, those who have the interest of Nigerians at heart.”
He wondered why a police officer will be paid N30, 000 a month while a senator is earning N30 million a month.
The former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) lamented the lack of commitment in resolving governance issues by those saddled with such responsibility.
Speaking in a separate interview with THISDAY, a former Director of the DSS, Mr. Mike Ejiofor, said South-east governors must address the issues of injustice and perceived marginalisation for such an outfit to be effective.
He said leaders of the South-east should convene a larger meeting of all the stakeholders rather than an idea borne by politicians with larger implications for the future.
Ejiofor said: “Setting up Ebube Agu security outfit is not the priority of the South-east. What they have done is misplaced. They are talking of setting up security outfit to address security challenges and open grazing. What is the legal framework for it? Where did they have the law setting up Ebube Agu? You don’t just do things because other people are doing it.
“What I expected them to do is to look at the immediate and remote causes. Why are the youth in the South-east agitating? Is it not because of perceived marginalisation and injustice? Where there is no justice, there will never be peace.”
Ejiofor said there was no law backing the security outfit.
“I am not happy with the governors. I do not know why they should gather and set up such an outfit without a legal framework.
“In the South-west, they backed theirs up with laws, provided offices and operational vehicles.
“You just come together and proclaim Ebube Agu. What they have done is not different from Eastern Security Network. They just made a pronouncement just like the IPOB did. No legal framework,” he added.