Former Ebonyi State Senator, Julius Ucha, yesterday said the South East Security Network, codenamed ‘Ebubeagu’ has reduced incessant killings, armed robbery, kidnapping and banditry in the region.
Briefing journalists in Abakaliki, the pioneer Speaker of the state House of Assembly noted that since the establishment of the security outfit, the zone has witnessed relative peace and stability.
He added that the outfit was legally established with the federal government and security chiefs properly consulted before the establishment.
Ucha, who represented Ebonyi Central at the Senate between 2003 and 2011, dismissed the claim by People Democratic Party (PDP) National Assembly members from Ebonyi State that it was being used by the state Governor, Dave Umahi, against his political opponents.
“Ebubeagu is a security outfit initiated by the five states in the South-East geopolitical zone. Introduction of Ebubeagu was presented by the five South-East governors to the Minister of Defence; Chief of Defence Staff and Minister of Interior, as well as other security chiefs, including the police, who gave their consents at Enugu State Government House when they visited the region to access the horrible security situation in the zone when police stations and headquarters were attacked, burnt, and several policemen killed.
“It got to a point that Ebubeagu security outfit were said to be protecting police formations in the zone. Since the introduction of the security outfit and other vigilance groups in the zone, banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping have reasonably reduced. It is also not known in Ebonyi State that Ebubeagu security outfit has been used to harass, intimidate, molest or embarrass any member of the opposition group. It is common knowledge that there is no human endeavour that has ever been perfect but it is not impossible that some mischief makers may infiltrate a well-intended initiative to derail it.
“However, an illogical generalisation that every member of Ebubeagu security outfit is evil cannot suffix in the instant case. It is important to note that every security outfit in the country has its own challenges, and such outfits also work hard to rid themselves of bad eggs. Therefore, if anybody in the state has identified the bad eggs or any bad egg in Ebubeagu security outfit, the person is free to report such person or operative to the relevant security authorities so that such operative will face the full wrath of the law, instead of throwing the child away with the bath water.
“It is important to mention that business and human activities have been moving on smoothly on daily basis in the state. Therefore, I strongly believe that the fear by some politicians that Ebubeagu security outfit are willing political tools during election is imaginary. With greatest respect to our people in the House of Representatives, I believe that if the governor was still to be in the same party with them, their position in this matter would have been different.
“On this note, I call on those who are expressing such fears to engage the state government on the operational modalities and rules of engagement of Ebubeagu as provided in the law that established it,” he stated.