The Chairman, South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, has declared that no amount of blackmail from detractors would make South East leaders support any engagement likely to lead to another Civil War.
Umahi made the declaration on Thursday during the inauguration of the Ebonyi State Community Policing Committee and the State Community Policing Advisory Committee in Abakaliki, the state capital.
The Governor was obviously reacting to recent bashing of the leaders from the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The IPOB leadership had allegedly taunted the Igbo political leaders for being lackadaisical in handling security issues affecting the zone, maintaining that the leaders had failed the people.
Umahi, in his address at the event, noted that the South East Governors and other well meaning leaders cannot be pushed under any circumstance to engage in senseless battle, which would endanger the life and general well-being of the Igbo people..
He maintained that rather than sponsor any engagement likely to result to another war, the leaders would channel the available resources towards bettering the lots of the people economically and otherwise, which, according to him, was the essence of leadership.
Umahi’ said: “Some people posted their regional security outfit, where they did a very beautiful outfit and wore.
“And somebody from South East posted to us that this is where leadership is working, that there are no leaders in South East.
“Let me assure our people that there is no amount of blackmail or social media war against the leadership of South East that will ginger us to go to senseless war.
“Some of those who fought the Civil War are still alive.
“And when they talk, they talk differently.
“We have no reason to engage differently.
“So, it is for the South East to come together and use the little resources that have and do charity begins at home.”
The Governor commended the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for accepting the community policing initiative, which, he noted, was an already existing customary means of crime control in the zone.
He described the initiative as the civilians affair, adding that the incorporation of security agencies in the committee was for them to play supervisory roles.
According to him, the Advisory Committee was to be Co-chaired by the State Chairman of the Traditional rulers Council, Eze Charles Mkpuma, and the State Commissioner of Police, Phillip Maku, while that of the Community Policing Committee was to be chaired by the Council Chairman in all the Council areas.
The Governor directed that the Advisory Committees should be inaugurated by the Commissioner of Police in all the 13 local government areas of the State to be chaired by the community traditional rulers.
Umahi noted that efforts would be made to incorporate the community vigilante into the regional security law to make it stronger.
He added that where the community policing operation contradicts the cultural heritage of the people, the leaders would apply to the IG for review.
Umahi explained: “I want to commend the IG for this idea of community policing.
“It wasn’t easy, especially in the South East, for this to come by and for our people to buy into community policing.
“But let me assure our people that despite the number of security agents in the committees, it is still the affairs of civilians in the various communities.
“The idea of community policing for us in the South East is still the same policing of our communities.
“If you go to villages, you will see village heads and the leaders of the villages using kinds of iron bars and blocking the roads at certain times of the night.
“In most communities, they settle civil matters out of police involvement and it is working.
“That is the idea of community policing.”
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of ICT, Celestine Okoye, who represented the Inspector-General at the event, described the inauguration as a dream come true.
Okoye advised the handlers in the State and the various communities to ensure that only people of unquestionable characters were recruited into the initiative, adding that its composition would either make or mar the communities.
Laying the background for the event, the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha, said the inauguration was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative on community policing.
Emegha noted that community policing would complement the efforts of security agencies, leading to significant improvement in the overall security of the State.
The Community policing advisory committee was made up of 15 members, while those of the Community policing committee were 11 in number, drawn from among the traditional rulers council, police, army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Correctional Services, other security agencies as well as the Civil Society Organisations, Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs.
Those inaugurated included the initial personnel of 50 persons selected from each of the local government areas of the State.
They would be paid a remuneration of N30,000 per month, according to the Governor.