Dialogue with ESN, Imeobi Igbo Forum tells S’East Govs

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. says Ebubeagu alone may not contain the activities of killer herdsmen, bandits 

By CHUKS EKE

The Imeobi Igbo Forum, a Grassroots Pan Igbo Socio-cultural organization has advised South East Governors to avoid fatal confrontations with the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s Eastern Security Network, ESN as obtained in other zones of the country saying that it would go a long way to bringing synergy in the fight against insecurity.

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The Forum said rather than engaging IPoB’s ESN in such a fatal confrontation, they should engage them in a wider consultation to achieve a positive result towards ensuring security of lives and properties of Nigerian citizens and even that of foreign nationals.

In a press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, the Forum recalled that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State had said that Ebubeagu gathers information for use by the army and police with which they are affiliated. 

Imeobi Igbo decried that while that was going on, attacks had continued unabated urging the need for more possible assistance  in checkmating the activities of killer herdsmen in the region before it gets out of hand. 

According to the press statement jointly signed by the Forum’s National Chairman, Dr. Michael Ikegulu and National Secretary, Barr. Chibuike Nwabueze, they maintained that community policing now baptized ‘Ebubeagu’ which the Governors have adopted seems like the model currently in operation, adding that It does not yield the required benefits regarding the new menace and impunity of the militia herdsmen and other security issues.

“Barely a year ago, Imeobi Igbo Forum advised the South East Governors of Nigeria to set up a Vigilante group akin to the Amotekun of the South Western States but it fell on deaf ears. Even that cannot stand up to the magnitude of security challenges witnessed nowadays. They have now opted for an anomalous security arrangement without regards to the reality on ground. Slaughter of villagers in their houses and farmlands is on the rise. Traditional rulers are on the run, their subjects are afraid to go to their various communities or farms”.

“Based on the delay in moving from Ogbunigwe to Ebubeagu, some non state actors have filled the security void. The security outfit on ground is composed of  the same young men that would be involved with whatever the governors are working on”.

“Imeobi Igbo Forum advices that a wider consultation be embarked upon with all indigenous stakeholders including IPOB that has assumed those security duties. We should emulate leaders in other parts of the country by engaging those non state actors in dialogue. Since they are already doing the security duties rightly or wrongly in a wider consultation. Information available show that communities where they operate seem to be satisfied with their security operations in the absence of any other help”.

“State Governments routinely engage bandits and Boko haram terrorists in other parts of the country in dialogue, showing that such engagement is possible and necessary. ‘Dialogue is the most effective way of resolving conflicts’ said Tenzin Gyatso 14th Dalai Lama. And ‘In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change’ said by Naht Hanh”.

“Let us not pitch against each other and spill our blood while the enemy creeps in from behind. Launching a rival security outfit or seeking to fight the existing security of non state actors without extensive consultations, would pitch our youths against each other. It could give the killer herdsmen space to consolidate their exploits. Let us not turn our neighborhood into a war zone”.

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