April 14, 2021

S’East govs, IPOB on collision course over Ebube Agu

S’East govs, IPOB on collision course over Ebube Agu

…IPOB rejects new security network, says anyone joining EbubeAgu to spy on ESN should prepare to meet his ancestors

…EbubeAgu’ll be backed by law – Ikpeazu

…ESN is social media outfit, only south-east govs can set up a security group

…CSOs back regional security outfits as cover for defenceless Nigerians

…Caution govs over abuse of operations

By Anayo Okoli, Regional Editor, South-East, Gabriel Ewepu, Peter Okutu, Chinonso Alozie & Steve Oko

South-East governors and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, may be on collision course, as the latter has rejected the formation of the new security network, code-named EbubeAgu, by the former.

IPOB’s rejection of EbubeAgu came as Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, said yesterday that the new security outfit will be backed by law, saying the houses of assembly in the region are working to give it legal teeth.

But IPOB warned Igbo youths to keep their distance from EbubeAgu if its motive is to spy on pro-Biafra groups.

This is even as Ralph Uwazuruike, founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday threw his weight behind EbubeAgu, saying the Eastern Security Network, ESN, launched by IPOB, remains a “social media network” that has no form of recognition.”

Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, also yesterday backed the establishment of regional security networks across the country to provide cover for defenceless Nigerians but cautioned governors against using them to intimidate perceived enemies.

It will be recalled that South-East governors had on Sunday announced the formation of EbubeAgu, saying the regional security network which will be an amalgam of all the vigilante groups in the region, would be headquartered in Enugu.

IPOB rejects Ebube Agu

But reacting to EbubeAgu’s formation in a statement yesterday, IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, rejected the outfit, saying the establishment of another security outfit in the zone is unnecessary.

IPOB said the Eastern Security, Network ESN, set up in December 2020 by its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is enough and already living up to expectations.

According to IPOB, the action of the governors is rather belated and suspicious.

The statement read: “How can you launch a security outfit without first assembling the personnel and equipping them?

“When Amotekun was formed, it was not abstract, the personnel and their equipment were handy. When our leader floated the gallant Eastern Security Network, ESN, the men were on ground.

“How then did South-East governors announce a security outfit without any personnel or were they under any pressure to hurriedly make the announcement after years of foot-draging and deceit?

“However, whether or not they were under any influence, we want to remind them that there is no need for them to form another security outfit in our land since we have our formidable ESN. They woke up from their slumber rather too late. We have gone beyond that stage unless they are on a mission to sabotage ESN.

“Any other security outfit formed in South-East will crash because ESN is already on ground and living up to expectations.

“ESN was floated based on the clamour by our people, and they have since thrown their support behind the outfit. Forming another regional security outfit is suspicious, and a needless waste.

“The governors failed our people when they needed their protection. It’s already late! Biafrans will not be deceived by this purported EbubeAgu security outfit which is a huge joke.

“South-East governors set up the outfit probably to fulfil all righteousness or to spy on ESN to curry favour from their slave masters.”

The statement warned of bitter consequences for anyone joining EbubeAgu with the intention to spy on ESN.

“We, therefore,   warn our youths to have nothing to do with the so-called EbubeAgu security outfit which was ostensibly formed to sabotage IPOB and ESN.

“Anyone who neglects this warning and thinks he can hide under the cloak of EbubeAgu to spy on ESN should be prepared to join his ancestors. The protection of all Biafrans is our priority and we are prepared to sacrifice anything to achieve this.’’

It will be backed by law — Ikpeazu

In a similar development, Governor Okizie Ikpeazu has said the new security outfit, EbubeAgu, will be backed by law to give it legal teeth in its operations.

Governor Ikpeazu, who spoke in an interview on Arise Television yesterday, said some state Houses of Assembly in the South-East had already done the needful with regards to giving the new security outfit the required legal backing, adding that those that had not done so are in the process of doing same.

“This is the right time to do the needful to protect our people. We won’t allow non-state actors to continue to terrorise the people. The security of the people is the priority of South-East governors.  Therefore, no effort will be spared to protect them, and also to make the South-East safe for investment,” the governor said.

Governor Ikpeazu, who refused to be drawn into how much his government is investing in the security project, said it is a security matter that shouldn’t be for public consumption.

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Nnamdi Kanu

On the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, he noted that there is no denying the fact that there is much injustice in the country, which the group is reacting to but disagreed with the method it had adopted to respond to it.

He urged the Federal Government to urgently address the injustices driving IPOB’s secessionist’s agitation.

“I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB because I’m yet to see the tunnel from where I am standing,” the governor said.

It will also be recalled that the South-East governors were accused of embarking on a mere talk shop at the meeting to announce the formation of the outfit, saying the new outfit had no legal backing.

Uwazuruike backs EbubeAgu

Similarly, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, also yesterday, threw his weights behind EbubeAgu, saying the Eastern Security Network, ESN, launched by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, remains a “social media network” that does not have any form of recognition.

Speaking when he featured on ‘Your View’, a programme on Television Continental, TVC, Uwazuruike said only South-East governors have powers to establish a security outfit for the region.

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The MASSOB leader said ESN is an internet outfit that has no legal backing for its establishment, adding that no individual has the right to establish a security outfit for the region.

He said: “There is nothing like Eastern Security Network. Nobody believes in ESN; that was just an internet affair — social media network. They did that on social media. Nobody recognises ESN. I do not recognise ESN, personally; because nobody has the right to provide security for me when it is not legal; when it is not with the force of the law.”

“You do not have more security than Ralph Uwazuruike as an individual in the South-East. I’m willing to donate 5,000 men and women to the South-East governors to work with them without interference.”

Uwazuruike said EbubeAgu is the recognised security outfit for the region because it was established by the South-East governors.

“No individual, no matter what you are, without consultation should establish a security outfit for the South-East region. It doesn’t happen. It is only EbubeAgu, established by the South-East governors that is recognised as a security outfit for the region. It is only the South-East governors that have the authority to establish a security outfit for the South-East. No individual has the right to establish any security outfit for the region,” he said.

CSOs back regional security outfits

Meanwhile, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, yesterday backed the establishment of regional security networks across Nigeria to provide cover for defenceless Nigerians.

They, however, cautioned governors not to use regional security corps to oppress perceived enemies and gag the voice of citizens that will lead to abuse in operations but should allow them to operate within the scope of the Act establishing them for professionalism and effective service to the people.

The Founder of One Love Foundation, OLF, and social crusader, Patriot Patrick Eholor, said what is happening in the country in terms of security is failure of the Federal Government to holistically tackle insecurity and politicization of the machinery and architecture of the military.

He said:  “Of course, you were in this country when a retired general and minister of defence told the world on National TV that a certain tribe is playing god and has politicized the military.

“The creation of these outfits is as a result of this failure and loss of trust and confidence at the centre. It is unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this state of helplessness and division. Security is local. The people can easily defend their territory when fully supported and trained.”

Also,  Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC,  Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said though the South-East was coming a bit late into the era of regional security outfits, it was better late than never.

“I hope the South-East governors have learned some bitter lessons that you do not do political correctness with the security and welfare of the people, which is the primary duty of government.”

Also yesterday,  convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, said the creation of the South-West and South-East security networks is an indictment on the Federal Government because Nigeria runs a federal system, comprising the government at the centre and federating units.

He said: “So, there has been a debate for true federalism over the years with the centre refusing or resisting these calls, and we can see that the centre is failing, and it is run in such a way that there is Boko Haram operating in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, terrorist gangs operating in North-Central and there are fringes of insecurity all over the southern zones.

‘’The government at the centre is overwhelmed and that is why the states that are federating units are beginning to tactically restructure themselves.”

In his submission,  Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said rising insecurity in the country is worrisome, adding this necessitated the proliferation of non-state security actors to fill the gaps in security delivery where the state has not provided (security) or operated with low strength.

“For Nigeria, it is mostly driven by the weak state syndrome and governance failure. The failure continues to affect the performance and management of state security institutions.

“The continuous growth of ungoverned spaces, mostly rural areas and township slums, has led state governments, street associations, local and rural communities, individuals, and others to establish and fund their own security,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria