By Kenneth Ehigiator
LAGOS—The World Igbo Congress, WIC, has urged the federal government to extend from six months to one year the duration of military presence in the South East zone of the country to ensure that security of the area was well consolidated.
Government drafted the military Joint Task Force, JTF, to the zone about three weeks ago in the wake of the violent crimes, including kidnapping and armed robbery, that endangered lives, property and investment climate.
Rising from its congress recently, the WIC in a communique signed by Mr. Joe Nze Eto and three others, noted that normalcy appeared to have returned to Aba and other South East cities taken over by kidnappers and armed robbers, but expressed worries about the fact that the military intervention was for only six months.
“WIC urges the Federal Government to extend the current deterrent military presence in Aba and other Southeast cities from the current 6-month tenure to a minimum of one year to degrade and eliminate the kidnappers and their operational infrastructure,” the congress said.
It also tasked governors of the five South East states to persuade the federal government to require Wireless Telecommunications Carriers in the country to adopt a WIC-sponsored proposal to use of location-based technology to track and apprehend kidnap culprits, stressing that its consultants on this technology were ready to lead implementation strategy to ensure smooth execution.
“In doing so, WIC and its consultants would work with the National Communications Commission and the Federal Ministry of Information,” said the WIC in the communique.
The WIC, which noted that these measures be taken immediately to completely stave off the problem of insecurity in the zone, also said it would seek audience with Ohaneze Ndi Igbo for the purpose of coordinating information gathering and sharing at the town levels, as well as foster synergy to build capacity for implementing WIC programmes for quick return of safe and secure communities in the South East.
The congress, in the communique, also spoke of its desires to identify bank chief executives, bankers’ associations and trade associations in Aba in particular, and Abia State State, generally, for purposes of sharing and reviewing security plans, with a view to building capacity for sustainable security network in the area.
It charged governors of states in the zone to effectively deploy their security votes to ensure that incidences of kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent were wiped off the face of the zone, adding that this was necessary to create enabling investment environment in the zone.
On long term basis, the WIC said it would up Diaspora Volunteer Force, DVF, to operate in the mold of medical missions to address moral and behavioral issues identified as part of the root cause of the decay and malaise in our society.
According to WIC, the DVF will counsel and retrain derailed youths in the zone who are mainly the brains behind the problem of kidnapping and armed robbery.
The WIC also spoke of plans to use public media, churches and school systems to, amongst others, disseminate information and create awareness to ensure re-education of the people on traditional Igbo family values of respect for life, elders and morals.
Participants at the conference included numerous reputable Igbo professionals and business people who live across the major metropolises of the US, London in the UK and Nigeria.