By Sam Egburonu, Associate Editor
All is set for the Southeast governors to harmonise the various states’ security models and resolve disagreements that have delayed the take-off of its regional security outfit.
The Nation gathered that security, especially the resolution of grey areas in the operation of an acceptable regional security outfit, will top the agenda of today’s meeting of the Southeast Governors Forum in Enugu.
A source close to one of the state governors confided on Saturday that “if not for disagreements on the modalities of operation of the regional outfit, Southeast would have probably launched its outfit before Southwest’s Amotekun.”
The source confided that state governors in the region “will tomorrow attempt a resolution of all the differences so that the outfit will take off.
Following the Southwest’s example, it seems a more culturally acceptable name may be adopted tomorrow since other prominent Igbo leaders are expected at the meeting,” the source said.
It would be recalled that Southeast governors in July last year resolved to tackle increasing security challenges in the region by setting up what it described as “a Security Committee” and a “Centre for South East Integrated Security Monitoring/Intelligence Gathering” to be centrally located in Enugu.
In a meeting held then at Government House, Enugu, and attended by the Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, the host Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke and the then Deputy Governor of Imo State, Hon. Gerald Irona, the forum resolved to “key into the federal government’s Community Policing Programme by setting up ‘Forest Guards” which they said “would be established in each state.”
Ebonyi State’s Commissioner for Internal Security, Stanley Emegha, had disclosed then that the governors and leaders of Southeast zone had appointed Obi Umahi, a retired Army General, to coordinate the security architecture of the region.
But not much was heard of the planned Southeast security outfit until Enugu State governor, Ugwuanyi, launched his states ‘Forest Guard.’ He recruited 100 locals in each of the 17 local government councils to work as Forest Guards even as he rolled out patrol vehicles to assist their operation.
Considering that all the Southeast governors have since after last year’s agreement on a united regional security outfit maintained different local policing models, the outcome of today’s meeting is of special interest.
Commenting on local policing arrangements in the Southeast so far, Evang Elliot Uko, the founder of Igbo Youth Movement and Secretary of Eastern Consultative Assembly on Saturday praised Enugu Forest Guards, describing the concept as “commendable.”