By Nwabueze Okonkwo & Peter Okutu
ONITSHA—Anambra State chairman of Vigilante Supervisory Committee/Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Vigilante Matters, Chief Ikechukwu Aduba, a retired Commissioner of Police, has warned that if Miyetti Allah goes ahead to establish a vigilante operation in the state and, by extension, in any part of South-East zone, they would apply legal means to stop them.
This came as a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ebonyi State, Chief Linus Okorie, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to rescind its decision to establish Ruga settlements across the country.
Aduba, who spoke yesterday in Onitsha during the funeral ceremony of Chief Anthony Iwenjiora, father-in-law to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, said they would not resort to violence or fire-for-fire approach, but use legal means to stop them because of the volatile nature of the issue.
According to Aduba, “Miyetti Allah should go to their own home to set up vigilantes because we can’t allow that here in Igbo land. They can also go to other African countries like Senegal, Togo, Benin Republic, Ghana, among others to establish it.
“Here in Anambra State, we are capable of protecting ourselves and that is why Anambra is the current safest state in the country. We have programmed it in such a way that it will remain the safest from now and in the future.”
He disclosed that they have embarked on training and retraining of vigilante operatives in the state, in the areas of unarmed combat, physical exercise and use of arms to meet up with the challenges ahead, adding that communities in the state should volunteer to sponsor the training to enable the exercise go round.
Aduba, who led members of Egbenu Oba Society of Onitsha to the funeral, described the late Iwenjiora, who was one of their patrons, as a refined gentleman and a thoroughbred Onitsha high chief, adding that they would miss him so much. He urged the bereaved and his son-in-law, Atiku Abubakar, to bear the loss with fortitude.
He identified Atiku as one of the patrons of the Egbenu Oba Society of Onitsha, adding that the role of the society dated back to many centuries ago when the Egbenu Oba people were used as warriors of the Obi of Onitsha in fighting and defeating the perceived enemies of Onitsha, particularly land speculators.
He explained that apart from using them as hunters, they were equally used to fight inter-communal wars between Onitsha and Ogidi, Obosi and other neighbouring communities.
…against RUGA in S-East
Speaking against RUGA in the southeast, Okorie, the immediate past chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions maintained that the RUGA scheme if implemented, would escalate rather than address the security challenges across the states.
Okorie, who represented Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State between 2011 and 2019, opined that what the Federal Government should do is effect a comprehensive reform of the nomadic culture.
He specifically recommended the repackaging of the ranching model as against RUGA.
The ex-lawmaker, in a statement in Abakaliki yesterday, stated that ranching was the best solution to the herders and farmers clashes across the country.
The statement by his media aide, Prince Chijioke Agwu, said there were many successful ranching models to copy from and called on the government to package an appropriate ranching stimulus and economics to drive the goldmine.
He further advised the South-East governors not to allow the implementation of RUGA scheme in the zone if government fails to drop the scheme.