By Stephen Ubanna
Dave Umahi, the All Progressive Congress, APC, governor of Eboyi state, have raised alarm that Bandits, known to be operating in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina, home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, have found their way to the south eastern Geo-political region and were Committing Crimes in the guise of the Eastern security Network, ESN, to drag the region to war with other parts of Nigeria.
Umahi may have cried out because of what is happening in his home state and Imo state. The Bandits who may have penetrated the ranks of the Fulani Herdsmen may have exported their sophisticated weapons to the region which have fallen into wrong hands. Recall that Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired army General and former Head of state, who had midwifed the fourth Republic had said that there about six million illegal weapons in circulation in the country which may have fallen into the wrong hands. The Bandits may have sent a signal to the south east governors that they have berthed in the region when they initially attacked Umuhuali, Nkalaha, Obeagu and Amazu Communities in Ishielu, Local government government Area of Eboyi state an killed fifteen people.
The dust raised with the attack of the four Eboyi states Communities is yet to settle than the Bandits struck IN Umuogudu Akpo-Ngbo Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area, on Monday, April 5, 2021, killng an undisclosed number of people. Stanley Okoro Emegha, the state Commissioner For Internal Security and Border peace and Garba Aliyu, the Commissioner of Police had confirmed the attack which did not show any difference from Communities attacked by the Bandits in Zamfara or Kaduna states.
On the most recent attack at Umuogudu Akpo-Ngbo Community,in Eboyi state, Umahi had blamed it on the age-long crisis between the Community and their Agila Neighbours in Benue state. He may have said that to avoid putting his 2023 Presidential ambition on the ticket of the APC, in trouble. The veil in his eyes may have cleared that he could see the reality on ground that the Bandits who have penetrated the south eastern states from the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a former military President, were Committing crimes in the region in the guise of the ESN.
Appearing on Chanels Television, Umahi, who is the Chairman of the South East governors Forum, who could not hide his feelings had said that the Bandits and their sponsors are out to incite war in the region and step aside’’. What is currently happening in Imo state, where the people appear to be killing themselves speaks volume.
Signs that there would be trouble in the state emerged on Monday, April 5, 2021, after an attack by gunmen carrying explosives , rocket –propelled grrnades, machine guns and Sun-Machine guns on the Oerri Custodial centre and state Police Command. The Katsina bon Nigerian President and Mohammed Adamu, the immediate past Inspector General of Police, IGP, had said that the proscribed Independent People of Biafra, IPOD, were behind the attacks.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Tensions have increased in the north east in the south east in the recent time in the wake of the allegations that the paramilitary wing of IPOD, believed have been penetrated by the north west based Bandits and north east based Islamic State of West African Province, iswap, which Camp in Lake Chad region bordering between the three West African Countries of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon. Recall that Bashir Sali Magashi, a retired Major General and minister of Defence ad said that the ISWAP insurgents have been involved in clashes with the military and attacking military bases in Borno state
. The mode of the operations of the gunmen in the south east states of Eboyi and Imo, are not different from the north west Bandits and the ISWAP, insurgents . this is evident going by what is happening in Imo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, home state where its allege that ESN, , have been involved in clashes with the military, which many had described as an undeclared war in the region.
IPOD officials had repeatedly told those that cares including granting Interviews to Reuters to deny any involvement in any attack in any Community in any south east state. The Eboyi state governor may have read the handwriting on the wall to know to know that ‘’there are grand plans by people who have no interest in the south eat o incite them into war’’, noting that the region that’’ the region is wiser than that’’. He may have alluded to the events of 196, where the south east went to war with rest of Nigeria stressing that the people of the region will not be deceived again.
He has made it clear to the security in the release of over y Chiefs that Ebub agu, code named after the animal, Lion , king of the forest , regional security outfit is the only recognized security outfit in the region, an indication that IPOD OR esn, are illegal. The regional security outfit, which will be rural- based, and intelligence driven and has its Headquarters in the Coal city of Enugu, the old south eastern region Headquarters, may have been established because of the recent attacks by gunmen on resident , police formations, Custodial centre in the Owerri , resulting in the release over 1,800 inmates.
Umahi may have hit the nail on the head when he said that the south east governors Launched the regional security outfit to implement the efforts of the security agencies in the fight against Criminality in the region.
An aggrieved Eboyi state governor has warned that governors of the region will not ‘’allow any form of illegality to rign in the region as obtained in the north east , north west or the north central Geo-political region.