Juxtaposing S/East And The Need For Regional Integration

Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Deputy Governors of Imo and Anambra States, Chief Theodore Orji, Chief Martin Elechi, Mr. Sullivan Chime, Eze madumere and Mr. Nkem Okeke, shortly after the South East Governors meeting at the Governors Lodge, Enugu
Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Deputy Governors of Imo and Anambra States, Chief Theodore Orji, Chief Martin Elechi, Mr. Sullivan Chime, Eze madumere and Mr. Nkem Okeke, shortly after the South East Governors meeting at the Governors Lodge, Enugu
Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Deputy Governors of Imo and Anambra States, Chief Theodore Orji, Chief Martin Elechi, Mr. Sullivan Chime, Eze madumere and Mr. Nkem Okeke, shortly after the South East Governors meeting at the Governors Lodge, Enugu

The ebbing fortune in socio-economic sphere of our lives is a conspicuous pointer that the fundamentals of governance is largely dysfunctional. In this report, FRANCIS IGATA, writes on the imperatives of establishing a formidable regional bloc in the face of worrisome security challenges plaguing the country.

From the days of yore, Nigeria’s regional identity were notable for its dominance in the economic scheme our national life. The then Western region were renowned for its Cocoa production which accrued colossal fund to the center.

The North prided itself with its groundnut pyramid which served dual purpose of injecting both economic and tourism potentials to the country while the Eastern part played a pivotal role in the economy of the country with its humongous production of Palm Oil that were exported to other countries of the world at the time.

Casting a glance back will reveal a healthy competition among the three dominant  different regions with each moving tenaciously to outdo the other in terms of stamping its economic relevance above the others.

Today, these lofty enterprise is what we now reminiscent with a tinge of nostalgia. What now applies is that the regional structures has been jettisoned in the altar of state structures.

The states has turned a blind eye on areas of comparative advantage simply because they are sure of receiving allocation from the center monthly.

The foregoing backdrop has made it increasingly pertinent ever than before, for the re-enactment of regional template in our national life.

Current security challenges bedeviling the country has again, made a deafening sound on the need to nurture and foster regional integration.

The North-East region of the country where the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko-Haram is having a field day, serves a rude reminder of the missing element among the sister states in that geo-political zone.

What the states could have rose in unison to defy, is now their albatross, which, if not checked will leave the region in perpetual ruins, carcass and tatters.

Recently in the South-East, incidents of bomb scare, evacuation of Improvised Explosive Device,IED, planted at Winners Chapel, Owerri,Imo State, arrest of 486 suspected Boko-Haram members in Aba, Abia State and apprehension of 21 suspected Boko-Haram members in Amala, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State are causes of serious concern which sent chills down the spines of the people in the region.

Although investigation into the incidents are still ongoing, there is a dire and compelling need ever than before, for the Governors from the region, to put on their thinking cap, work as a team to wade-off any of such tales from the region which has hitherto, been alien to the people.

Panic had gripped Enugu state on Wednesday,25th June, when 21 suspects believed to be members of Boko Haram traveling to Kano with several military uniform concealed inside a luxurious bus were intercepted by the National Task Force (NATFORCE) at Amala in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu.

It was gathered that the suspects left Aba, Abia state around 2pm for Kaduna and were intercepted at the wee hour of Wednesday morning at a boarder community in Enugu state leading to the northern parts of the country.

Investigations revealed that an army sergeant on special duty at Xerox Construction Company in Ohaofia,Abia State procured the military uniforms and employed the services of the suspects for onward delivery of the consignments to an army corporal in Kano for an undisclosed mission.

The army sergeant whose identity was not ascertained as at the time of going to press was said to have been on the illegal business for quite a while before luck ran out on them.

A competent police source while speaking with our correspondent said the luxurious bus which they were traveling with which belong to the Young Shall Grow Company was not fully loaded at Aba but stopped over in Enugu to pick other passengers who unknowingly mixed up with the dreaded Islamic sects to Kaduna.

The arrest of the 21 suspects at Obollo-Afor has reportedly sent shivers to residents of the area and the entire South-East that were still grappling with the insecurity in the nation.

But the Commissioner of Police, Adamu Abubakar while reacting to the arrest of the alleged arrest Boko Haram suspects said that full scale investigations will be carried out to authenticate the true mission of the 21 suspects.

“ I wouldn’t tell you we arrested people with arms or whatever but all that I know is that we have arrested some people and we did not say they are Boko Haram because people can speculate. For us we don’t speculate until we investigate and after the investigation, we come up with the facts. We have arrested some people from Obolloafor and the matter has just been transferred to us from Obolloafor, but we have not yet gone into the facts of the case, the moment we get details, we will call you back or do a press release. People should know what is happening”, he said

At about 11.30 am Wednesday, the suspects whose ages ranged between 20 and 35 years were brought to the state police headquarters by the luxury bus accompanied by full military and police security escorts.

Moments after they alighted from the luxury bus, they were led into the premises of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), apparently for questioning.

It would be recalled that few weeks ago, the NATFORCE had intercepted about 486 persons suspected to be members of the Boko Haram at Abia state, traveling in 33 buses.

It was followed shortly by the discovery of bombs planted at the premises of the Living Faith Church in Owerri, Imo state.

Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police has assured that his command would not rest on its oars in the fight against crime and criminality in the state.

He made this known to news men Wednesday at the conference room of the state police Headquarters Enugu while fielding questions on the recent arrest of car stealing, snatching and receiving syndicate arrested in Aba Abia state through the joint effort of the operatives of  Uwani and Ogui Divisions of the Enugu state police command.

According to an elated Abubakar, his command was partnering with genuine car dealers  to discourage the sell of snatched/stolen and refurbished cars, stressing that there cannot be buyers without those stealing or snatching and called for the assistance of the members of the public through the giving of timely and useful information to the police.

He gave the names of those arrested as Ndubuisi Umebulue and Onyebuchi Okoye, Chukwudolu John and Uzoma Ebenezar saying that their arrest led to the discovery of a painting workshop and ware house where they allegedly turn around stolen and snatched vehicles.

Governors of the South-East geo-political zone should embrace one another in one accord to fight the vices of poverty and unemployment which makes the idea of taking to crime alluring.

Jointly, they should without hesitation, institute a mechanism that will reactivate ailing joint companies and set up new once owned by the states in the region to engage the people in such a manner that the zone will be impregnable of vices especially that of insurgency.



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