Southeast governors yesterday launched a regional security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu (the glory of a tiger) to battle rising insecurity.
They restated that open grazing remained banned and urged security agencies to enforce it.
The governors met in Owerri, the Imo State capital, with heads of security agencies in the region.
Acting Inspector-General Usman Baba sent a delegation comprising a Deputy Inspector-General and an Assistant Inspector-General.
The meeting was to evaluate the security situation and to strategise on how to tackle it.
Last Monday, gunmen attacked the police headquarters and the correctional centre in Owerri, setting 38 vehicles ablaze and freeing 1,844 inmates.
Police stations have come under attack in the five Southeast states, with many officers killed.
At the meeting were governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Imo State Hope Uzodimma, who was the host.
The governors condemned the attacks on police stations, correctional facility, and the unlawful release of inmates.
They said a committee made up of security personnel, government officials and relevant stakeholders will be set up to coordinate and monitor the implementation of Ebube Agu, with headquarters in Enugu.
The governors urged the IG to invite the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) “to find out the reason for increasing insecurity in the Southeast”.
They resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
They promised to back security agencies with all they need to make the onslaught against criminals successful.
Umahi, flanked by his brother — governors and the security chiefs, read a 15 – point communique of their resolution.
They resolved “to strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the Southeast.
“The meeting strongly condemns the burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centres with the unlawful release of inmates, and the killings, including security personnel, natives/ farmers and headsmen.
“The five Southeast states are on the same page with the Federal Government on the issue of security challenges in the country.
“To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the Southeast will stand resolutely with the Federal Government to fight terrorists and bandits to a finish.
“The political leadership in the Southeast has resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command, as one united zone, to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
“To achieve this, there is a need to galvanise all the relevant stakeholders in the Southeast, the political class, the business community, the bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five Southeast states to ensure total success in the fight against criminality in the zone.
“The heads of all the security agencies in the Southeast have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that will help to checkmate crime in the zone.”
To fast track crime-busting in the region, the governors mandated the heads of security agencies “to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminality for the immediate provision by the leadership of the Southeast”.
The communique adds: “The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the Southeast, otherwise known as Ebube Agu…to coordinate our vigilante in the Southeast.”
The governors requested the Acting IG to stop the influx of IG monitoring units but to allow commissioners of police and state and zonal commands to handle their cases.
“Meeting approves that the acting IG and other security chiefs do invite the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and CAN to find out the reason for increasing insecurity of the SouthEast.
“The meeting agreed that military policing in the Southeast should be adequately funded and become effective.
“The meeting agreed that open grazing has been banned and security agencies should implement the ban.
“The meeting encouraged a peaceful coexistence of farmers and herders to allow governors to succeed in the fight against criminality.”
The Nation News…