By Chesa Chesa
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has explained why the security outfit, ‘Ebube Agu’, recently conceived by Southeast Governors to tackle persistent insecurity in the region, is yet to launch in the State.
Speaking to some journalists on the platform of Abia Media Forum at the weekend, Ikpeazu admitted that the security situation in the State was a “dynamic and knotty problem”, which is why all the Southeast States had in place their respective internal security outfits with different names even before the decision to form ‘Ebube Agu’ was taken.
A first batch of 500 young men and women had been recruited in Abia for its Homeland Security outfit, and they were trained by the Police and Department of State Security (DSS).
He disclosed however, that more consultations are going on with other Southeast States to optimise the intelligence gathering synergy needed to make ‘Ebube Agu’ more efficient and effective.
Also, the Attorneys General of the five Southeastern States have been meeting to harmonise the legal instruments to back up the security outfit.
Besides, the Abia State Government has empanelled a group of senior retired security officers from the State to assist the Abia State government assess the template for the security outfit, and come up with a report by the end of this week, Ikpeazu revealed.
With these measures, the Governor assured the people of the State that ‘Ebube Agu’ would surely take off as planned to curb the spiralling insecurity in Abia and region.
His words: “The background to ‘Ebube Agu’ is that all the Southeast States have always had their respective security outfits. In Abia, we call it Homeland Security in Abia, and we even have Ministry for that. Uniforms and vehicles were procured for them.
“Enugu State has similar thing they call Forest Guards. What was lacking was a unified template to share intelligence. Abia has seven borders, some with other South-South states. There was need to create a central intelligence platform that will be controlled from the regional headquarters in Enugu; so that a criminal in Abia will be recognised as a criminal in other States and vice-versa.
“We needed to set up ‘Ebube Agu’ to enable us a procure some modern equipment to help with digital surveillance on our borders and to share same among the Southeast States.
“The various Southeast Attorneys General have converged several times to get the legal template that will guide the outfit and ease cooperation among the affected States.
“In Abia, my intention is to deepen ‘Ebube Agu’ as an intelligence outfit. We are recruiting at community and ward levels to get people who can get into the forests and give us intelligence, because the best form of security is to gather intelligence first when you are fighting an asymmetric battle; then you can advise the “biting arm” – be it Homeland Security, police, or military – precisely on who is doing what and where.
“So, there is no point playing to the gallery and coming up with cocoyam that is not ready for the table. It is better to spend a few more days and plan properly.
“By next week, we are converging stakeholders in the security sub-sector – retired police DSS, military officers – about 35 of them, to spend a day or two to criticise the template we have and come up with our unique response to the security situation in our zone.”