By Myke Uzendu
The Enugu Journalists Forum (EJF), an umbrella body of journalists of Enugu state extraction practicing in Abuja, has called on the governors and stakeholders in the South-East, to work together towards establishing an efficient regional security outfit in the region.
The forum in a statement at the weekend, noted with concern, the discordant tone between the South-East governors and the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, on the nomenclature of the proposed regional security outfit.
EJF noted that “while Ohaneze Ndigbo and religious leaders in the zone want the establishment of ‘Operation Ogbunigwe,’ the governors prefer the adoption of the Federal Government’s Community Policing programme.
“This disagreement is what our zone cannot afford this time given the grim security situation in the country, which is steadily crippling into the zone.
“It most unfortunate that while other regions are working harmoniously towards the security of their people, our leaders are working at cross purposes. This can further exacerbate the cry of ‘marginalisation’ in future by our people.”
The statement, which was signed by the protem President, Malachy Uzendu, and the Publicity Secretary, Onyekachi Eze, called for synergy among the two groups, insisting that the issue should not be politicised.
It warned of future consequences of the disagreement, adding, that the people of the South-East have suffered enough marginalisation from the Nigerian state and cannot afford self-inflicted problems.
“While we are not averse to community policing, we are not unaware of the infamous role played by police officers from other regions posted to South-East.
“We also know that since independence, only for a brief period of less than two years was an Igbo man allowed to lead the Nigeria Police Force. This we want those advocating for Community Policing to put into consideration.
“What is in vogue now among the geo-political zones of the country is regional security outfit, and South-East cannot afford to be left out.
“Since the Forest Guard came into operation in Enugu State, kidnapping, rapping, as well as mindless killings by Fulani herdsmen have reduced.
“This is what the Nigeria Police and other security agencies could not achieve all these years.
“South-East region needs a well-programmed security outfit that can understand the sentiments of the people; a security outfit that understands the culture and environment in which it operates, and not a rapacious lot who sees the zone as a minefield to be plundered and raped,” the group stressed.