Ebubeagu to Bear Arms?

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Against the back drop of the floating of a regional security outfit, EBUBEAGU, by the South East Governors, the issues of its operational modalities have occupied public discourse. 

A security expert, David Okuro has advocated for bearing of arms by the group(s) to ensure effectiveness. Speaking on the proliferation of various non-state-security groups, he opined that it would amount to sheer suicide to ask them to confront the criminal elements empty handed. 

According to him, the proliferation is a resultant effect of existing gap in the system. “whether you call them vigilante, whether Ebubeagu, or  whether Amotekun, they’ll be facing violent criminals and you wouldn’t expect than to face violent criminal elements that are armed with sophisticated  equipment like AK 47 empty handed.” He said.

Mr. Okuro further posited that setting out such group as against heavily armed felons will amount to sending them to be murdered unless they have equipment to confront them, “it will make a lot of sense that a level of arms is provided for them with proper training in area of human rights.”

The security expert lamented the level of decay in the system which created room for the “self help” initiative, represented by the regional security outfits. 

He was of the opinion that the ideal thing would have been to revamp the police and make up where they are lacking; but in the absence of that, any stop gap measure is welcomed in the place of anarchy.

“The real thing is to go back and ensure that the police are properly reformed. In the mean time, we have to allow these groups that are being formed, one way or the other to bear arms.

He nevertheless questioned the operational modalities of the group and the legal imperatives, “apart from the mere media pronouncement of the foundation of EBUBEAGU.

“Are there other legal operational structure that are in place?

“There is no problem with setting up association or groups like this. Are these groups being set up, whether it is Amotekun, whether its Niger State Vigilante group, whether it’s Ebubeagu, whether ESN, these are non-state actors. It is an indication that something is wrong with our security system and it’s as a result of our political structure and government that is not adequately providing for the people. The governance is largely absent. And in the absence of proper political structure and governance, then you are going to have insecurity which we are having now.”

Mr. Okuro again noted that in the face of the foregoing, the policing system and other security agencies have become weak because over a period of time, they have not been properly taken care of. 

Citing the police as a victim of the present malady, he wondered how it can adequately live up to expectation in the present challenge facing the nation 

“The police are victims. Nobody is telling you the police story. Nobody is telling you the difficulties they face, nobody is telling you the fact they don’t have tools to work with. Nobody is telling you that there is no justice in the system. And I think we need to do something about it because, even If you have EBUBEAGU, it is supposed to be built on the foundation of internal security and any group that is going to be set up is supposed to be built on the police foundation, but right now that foundation is not there.

Cautioning against meting out the same fate on the new groups, he suggested on the long run for the police manpower to be beefed up with annual recruitment of 60,000 personnel per annum, beginning from this year.

And to provide more arms and training for the present crop of police and thirdly, listen to the police side of the story.

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