Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, says the South East has relatively recorded the lowest incidence of security challenges compared to other regions in the country.
Umahi stated this Monday when he highlighted the steps being taken by governors in the region to ensure the security of lives and properties of people in the South East.
But reacting to Umahi’s claim, Chief Mbazilike Amaechi, elder statesman, disagreed with him, saying that in Nigeria today no place can be said to be secured.
Meanwhile, the governor has called on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Buratai to ensure the downsizing of the number of roadblocks within the South-East geopolitical zone of the country.
According to him, the downsizing will give comfort to the people of the region.
Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, spoke during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme – Sunrise Daily.
“I tell you that relatively in the whole country, South East is still better secured than any other region, and I give kudos to our governors who work day and night to ensure that this happens,” he said.
The governor decried the general security situation in the country, including the challenges of Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, and cultism among others.
He, therefore, proposed state police as the way forward to tackle the problems of security in the nation.
Governor Umahi stressed that leaders in the country must act fast to address the security challenges the nation was grappling with.
He also asked them, especially the lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly and other legislative houses to put the interest of the people ahead of personal interests.
The governor said, “We as a nation cannot continue to go like this, we cannot fold our hands and continue to see the lives of our people being wasted.
“This is very important; state police should be advocated for and what our leaders should know is that you don’t make a law to suit you.”
The Solution And Its Problems
He, therefore, challenged the lawmakers to take advantage of the process to review the nation’s Constitution and push for state police.
According to the governor, this will give confidence to the people because insecurity in various communities is peculiar to those communities.
He, however, explained that governors in the south-east region were being careful with the issue of state police in order not to be misunderstood.
Umahi noted that the governors were doing quite a lot but some people, including the Ohanaeze, still find it difficult to understand them.
He insisted that state police was the way to go, although it has its own problems.
The governor said, “I have not seen any governor that comes to speak about state police, every solution creates its own problems.
“You cannot totally say that state police is going to be the answer to all our insecurity, it has its own problems, but I think that is what our people need.”
We need roadblocks downsized in Southeast
The governor made case for downsizing roadblocks in the southeast while being received by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Buratai at Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
Umahi presented three number of requests for consideration to the Army to include downsizing the number of roadblocks, creation of Army Unit and legitimate acquisition of a land at Amasiri, in Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi State.
“To give comfort to our people, we need road Blocks downsized. It will be difficult to say dismantle all the roadblocks in southeast but the Governors’ of southeast are in support that the road Blocks be downsized.
“I came for three things, you have a land in Amasiri in Afikpo North LGA in Ebonyi State that is designated to be yours but that is by the words of mouth. The indigents took us to court and we came to find out that the land was not properly acquired.
“If you love that land so much, then we can start the process of acquisition or we can acquire a brand new place formerly.
“We are requesting to have an army unit inform of Forwarding Operation Base in the Southeast, this is to strengthen the security of the zone, we promise as a government to build the infrastructure even though we have the infrastructure that they can start with even if they come tomorrow while we take time to build a very good place for them.
“Finally, the compo ration is being launched in Abakaliki in the Barrack, the MOU has been signed, it is a very laudable venture of the Army and security agencies. So, I plead that we look into it, maybe we can take a tour of the barrack so that you can commission the road network I built for the Army at Abakaliki and we can use the opportunity to see if we can revive that partnership as Ebonyi State Government is willing”, he submitted.
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Buratai thanked the Governor for his visit and assured him of the Army’s commitment towards peace and order in the region.
Immediately after the meeting with Chief of Army Staff, the Governor proceeded for a meeting with IGP, Mohammed Adamu where he requested the creation of additional mobile Squadron in Ebonyi State.
Nowhere secured in Nigeria –Mbazulike Amaechi
But reacting to Umahi’s claim, elder statesman, Chief Mbazilike Amaechi disagreed with him, saying that in Nigeria today no place can be said to be secured.
According to Amaechi, the South East Governors cannot claim or boast that South East is secured because, “going by what is happening in Nigeria there is no place that is currently secured.
“How can anybody or any Governor, or Governors group in Nigeria claim to have secured any place in Nigeria, from what is happening in Nigeria, nobody can claim security of any party of Nigeria.
“If there is insecurity in Nigeria and no part of Nigeria is secured or nobody can guarantee the security of any part of Nigeria, South East is part of Nigeria, and therefore, South East cannot be said to be secured by anybody including the Governors”.
In his own reaction, a security expert and former President General of Onitsha Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, OMATA, Chief Pius Ozoh Anaekwe, said there is no security in South East.
“Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who incidentally is the Chairman of South East Governors Forum is being economical with the truth if he claims that South East is secured; he cannot tell anybody residing in South East such half-truth, it is only foreigners and strangers that are not in South East he will tell that.
“Governor Umahi is even hiding some of the security threats and insecurity that are happening in his own State, Ebonyi because he is close to Aso Rock and the Caliphate; he is not saying the truth, he is not in the better position to say that. It is the states that have security that will be saying that their states are secured not, Ebonyi State and not Umahi that should be saying that.
“Governor Umahi is a known friend of Aso Rock and the men at the helm of affairs there, he is very close to the Caliphate and he has always (allegedly) shielded the leaders of the herdsmen who have been attacking Ebonyi communities.
“Umahi dances the tunes of Aso Rock and the Caliphate, whoever they want him to protect even at the detriment of the lives of his people he protects, as far as Aso Rock and the Caliphate will be happy.
“Governor Umahi is not even working on a collaboration with Ohaneze Ndigbo, so he cannot speak about the security of South East, even as the Chairman of SEGF, because there is high-level insecurity in his state and he is shielding the perpetrators of the insecurity in that
state, who are the Fulani herdsmen and their leaders who boldly claim responsibility whenever their herdsmen kill people.
“However, if anybody is in doubt about the insecurity of lives and property in Ebonyi State, the person should visit the state and ask people questions. Umahi should not be taken serious if he says that South East is secured, his state is not secured and so South East cannot be secured,” Anaekwe said.