…Tell Buhari to declare herdsmen terrorist group, Chukwuma tells IGP
…Police, army extorting Ndigbo at checkpoints—Ohanaeze
…S’East govs endorse NPF community policing model
By Anayo Okoli, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Ugochukwu Alaribe & Chinedu Adonu
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday, warned that it should not be provoked into carrying arms by the Federal Government and its armed forces by firing gun shots in Afaraukwu Umuahia, tomorrow, during the burial of the parents of their leader, Eze Israel Okwu Kanu and his wife, Sally Mmeme.
This came as South-East governors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders, yesterday, arose from a security summit in Enugu with the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Diocese, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, asking the Inspector General of Police to tell President Muhammadu Buhari to declare herdsmen as terrorists, saying they are dangerous.
Warning the army against pushing it to armed struggle, IPOB said it had remained peaceful in the face of attacks by the Nigerian Army and the Police, but has been receiving daily threats from the Nigerian Army and Police, on their planned massacre of innocent mourners on Friday February 14, 2020.
It said: “We are, therefore, placing the world on notice that the floodgates of hell will be opened should the Army or Police appear anywhere around Afaraukwu on the day of the burial. We noticed that Nigerian government is hell-bent on provoking us into armed struggle that will inevitably start the violent disintegration of Nigeria.
“We equally discovered a grand plan by some politicians and socio cultural leaders, offering financial support to soldiers in Obinze, Imo State; Ohafia and Asa, Abia State; Abakiliki and Onitsha in Ebonyi and Anambra States, respectively in readiness for their deadly deployment to Umuahia.
“We are, however, not worried about the plan, because the era of Nigerian Army and Police shooting innocent mourners in Biafraland has come to an end, and if they try it again, they will see the sterner stuff IPOB is made of.
“Were are aware that the Nigerian Army and Police have perfected plans to disrupt the burial of Eze Kanu and his wife, but if they go ahead to carry out any disruptive activity at that burial, it will set-off a chain reaction from IPOB, that Nigeria will never recover from.”
In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the pro Biafra group said the presence of Army and Police, and what they have been doing in Afaraukwu Umuahia, Abia State, since the announcement of the date for the burial of the parents of their leader is provocative, and capable of pushing them into carrying arms.
IPOB warned that “simple arrest of any mourner on Friday, February 14, 2020, is capable of inciting a disproportionate reaction from angry mourners.”
Declare herdsmen terrorists
Speaking at the South-East Security Summit, Archbishop Chukwuma said President Buhari had been pampering herdsmen despite atrocities they have been committing across the country.
Chukwuma spoke on a day the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, lamented the level of extortion police and army carry out on the people of South-East at the numerous check points mounted across Igboland.
Nwodo also asked the Inspector General of Police why no commissioner of police of Igbo extraction would not be posted in any of the South-East states and called on him to re-examine his postings in the zone.
Both Chukwuma and Nwodo spoke in Enugu at the South-East Security Summit organised by the Inspector General of Police towards commencing community policing, which the IGP said was the best way to tackles the nation’s security challenges.
The summit was earlier threatened when Chukwuma protested how the monarchs and other Igbo leaders and stakeholders invited to the summit were abandoned at the venue for over four hours while the governors and the Inspector General of Police were holding meeting at the Enugu State Government House without anybody informing them of what was going on.
The protest made Nwodo to lead many of the dignitaries, including the monarchs to walk out of the summit. However, words got to the governors about the situation at the venue and they quickly rounded off and came to the venue, apologised and called backed the aggrieved leaders.
Addressing the summit, shortly after the IGP had made his speech, Bishop Chukwuma who was flanked by other religious leaders, told the Inspector General of Police and the gathering: “Please, help us tell Mr. President to declare the herdsmen terrorists in this country. He has pampered them enough. They are dangerous. Our people cannot go to farm again.
“We are religious leaders and we are saying that what is happening in our country today is very much devastating. Before now, internal security was in the hands of police and external for the soldiers.
“Before, you don’t see soldiers on the street but because security has gone out of hand and police was becoming inefficient and inadequate, soldiers are coming in to help.
“The worst of it now is that today, Rev Fathers are being kidnapped; religious leaders are in danger and church premises are now in trouble, we begin to ask ourselves: why is it so?
“If this should continue this way and we pray and God sends his angels down, Nigeria will be in confusion. So we want to appeal to you to help us in this strategic effort for peace to reign in our community.
“Because of the inadequacy of the situation, I wish that the community policing will address the issues. Again, this issue of a rich man having 20 policemen in his home because he is rich should stop; it is making them inadequate to provide security for the masses.
“The number of roadblocks in the South-East is alarming. From Enugu to Awka, you will meet over 17 checkpoints with police and soldiers and you cannot find such in other zones. Why is our own different from others?
“We are ready to partner with you but you must recognise the traditional rulers and religious leaders to help you out and make your strategy a successful one and stop people from being violent.
“Tell the herdsmen to stop harassing and kidnapping our leaders. We don’t have money but the grace of God. I want to make it clear, if the so-called herdsmen continue this way, we are not going to take it lightly with them, we will take our own measure and deal with them spiritually and physically.”
Police, army extorting Ndigbo at checkpoints—Ohanaeze
In his remarks, the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, also lamented the number of checkpoints in the zone, which he said exist for the sole purpose of extorting the people.
“We welcome you to your home, South-East, where you were once a commissioner of police. I must commend you that during your tenure, some aspects of intellectuality have come back to police because in the time past, no one had given it a thought.
“We are not happy with how you kept us for over four hours without hearing from any of you concerning the security summit. Our traditional rulers and other stakeholders have been here waiting. I know it is not in your character but unfortunately your protocol treated us this way.
“I think what you are planning to do is good but your assumption may not work. In this zone, our people have little or no confidence in the police. Because I once travelled from Enugu to Onitsha and recorded 17 checkpoints with soldiers and police.
“The former GOC dismantled one at Oji River axis. In all these checkpoints, they are using children at the ages of 14,16,17 to collect money from the motorists while they are there playing draft. Why is our own like this? There is another one at Ozalla in Igbo Etiti Local Government Area.”
“Our farmers are devastated and the herders carry AK-47 openly without being persecuted by police. The one that happened at Benue Catholic Church was done openly. They danced with the heads of those they killed and was recorded, transmitted to all the social media with everything to recognise them but nothing was done.
“Our people believe that there is one law for us and another law for the others. If there is anything you can do for us, it is to give instruction that any one you get exploiting people, collecting bribe from them, that you will expel him/her.
“The restiveness of our youths has reached its limit. The situation now is that Igbo peopole are conquered people. There is a limit you will push a man to the wall and he will retaliate. There is not one commissioner of police in the South-East that is Igbo man. How can you talk about community policing while the people you want to use to work with our people do not know the language or know the terrain.
“We have many officers in the Nigeria police, army, civil defence or what have you. Why is our place targeted for posting of non indigenes to head every security agency?
“I want to plead with you, re-examine the posting you make here. All our leaders are finding it difficult to stop the anger of our people. I am happy that when you were mentioning our problems, you made mention of restiveness of our youths. Our children have reached their limit. Our governors are the chief security officers of their states because Section 14 of the constitution gives them right to protect the lives and property of their people.
“When you start sharing the heads of security with commanders, controllers and whatever, and you do not include the governors, heads of communities, religious leaders; the exercise is dead on arrival. These commanders and controllers are coming to dilute our local security.”
S’East govs endorse NPF community policing model
Meanwhile, Governors of the South-East, yesterday, endorsed the new community policing model of Nigeria Police Force, NPF, for effective security in the zone.
Rising from the South East Geo-Political Security Summit, initiated by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, the governors in a communiqué read by the Governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi, said contents of the new community policing strategies of the police were not different from their security measures already in place in the zone.
Umahi disclosed that South East governors, before the summit, had a closed-door meeting with the Inspector General of Police, at the Government House, Enugu, where the police chief explained to them extensively the concept and effectiveness of the community policing in addressing security challenges in the zone.
Other governors at the event include the host governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and the governor of Imo State, represented by his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku.
Speaking further, Umahi added that all security concerns raised by the traditional and religious leaders in the South East zone, including those presented by the Imeobi of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, at the last meeting of the South-East Governors’ Forum, have been addressed in the community policing strategy of the Nigeria Police Force.
The governor, who maintained that the people of the zone would begin to see a lot of positive changes as fallout of the summit, said the governors had agreed to invest in social intervention programmes for teeming youths.
According to him, “The community policing was proper and explained to us in full details and it is not different from our Neighbourhood Watch and the Vigilante operation, the Forest Guard, the gate keepers, the herdsmen and farmers conflict committees and others.
“And so we saw that this is totally in tandem with what we pray. We decided as your governors to embrace this initiative of community policing, which is an official endorsement in line with what the police and what we are doing to safeguard the lives and property of our people”.
In his address, IGP Adamu Abubakar, who described the South East summit as the best in the country, noted that the event was “convened within the framework of our community policing initiative and as part of the strategies of Nigerian Police to employ all inclusive strategy towards helping us in the achievement of our internal security management, particularly in the South Eastern states”.
The IGP disclosed that the community policing approach was necessitated by the increasing complexity of crime and the challenges of policing the vast and diverse country such as Nigeria, stressing that “this requires that the Nigerian police should continually engage the citizens in seeking their input and soliciting their support”.
He appreciated the governors of the South East, the traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders across the states of the zone for their active participation in the event which he said was “the 6th and the best of the security summits” across the six geo-political zones of the country.
“All the summits ended in a very successful outcome and I am delighted to confirm that the strategies jointly developed as well as the partnership we built at the meetings that were so far held, have been effective in addressing the security tricks that are peculiar to each of the geo-political zones.”
Earlier in his address, Gov. Ugwuanyi who welcomed the Inspector General of Police to Enugu State, on behalf of his colleagues, expressed optimism that the summit’s outcome will facilitate rejigging and re-tooling of the security architecture in the South East Geo-political zone and bring it up to speed with emerging dimensions of insecurity and criminality.
While noting that the summit was “both timely and most compelling”, Gov. Ugwuanyi congratulated the Inspector General of Police and his team for the great initiative, maintaining that his administration has not rested on its oars in providing a safe and secure environment for residents to live, work and enjoy their leisure.
According to him, “We have strengthened our Neighbourhood Watch Associations, blazed the trail in enthronement of Forest Guards which is a novel initiative of the South East Governors Forum and have continued to support the security agencies in our state with security patrol vehicles, communication gadgets, etc.
“We have institutionalized the needed collaboration between our Neighbourhood Watch groups, Forest Guards and security agencies especially in the area of intelligence sharing. Enugu State Security Trust Fund law is in place to ensure sustainable support for security agencies in the state while the State Forest Guards law is before our State House of Assembly.
“We are also on the threshold of deploying our Automated Drone Surveillance Solution to give the needed impetus to our security surveillance.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who stressed his administration’s commitment to security and welfare of the people as enshrined in the country’s constitution, expressed hope that the outcome of the interactions will chart the course for improved security of the South East zone “as a significant co-factor in our economic development”.
Other speakers at the event were the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Njoku, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu, the Guest Speaker, Prof. Felix Asogwa, who presented the Keynote Address.