… AIG Holds Stakeholders’ Meeting
By Esther Nworie, Agnes Igwe and Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
Following the Tuesday night attack of the INEC office in Ebonyi, the State Executive Council has directed Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala to query Chairman of Ebonyi Local Government Area, Mrs. Chinyere Nwogba, her Ezza North counterpart, Dr. Nora Aloh, Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Matters and Rural Development, Chief Samuel Okoronkwo and Senior Special Assistant to Governor Dave Umahi on State and Local Government Affairs, Chief Enekwachi Akpa over the burning down of INEC offices in the two local governments by hoodlums.
This is coming even the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Mr Etim Okon visited Ebonyi State, South East of Nigeria to address the ongoing insecurity in the State.
The query issue was part of the outcome of last week’s Executive Council meeting held at the Old Government House, Abakaliki.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Uchenna Orji said the query followed the inability of the political office holders to nip the attack in the bud and urged security agencies to immediately fish out the perpetrators.
“Exco also did deliberate on the attack on INEC facilities in Ezza North and Ebonyi local government areas. So, the report was taken and it was noted that the INEC offices in Ezza North and Ebonyi local government areas were attacked by bandits.
“Exco did frown at the development and urged the security agencies to immediately wade in to fish out perpetrators.
“Exco did frown at the government functionaries that would have helped in nipping the issue in the bud; the Chairman of Ezza North, Chairman of Ebonyi local government, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Matters and Rural Development, and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on State and Local Government Affairs.
“Exco, therefore, directed that they be given query to explain why disciplinary actions will not be taken against them by the government for failing in their duties to take some proactive actions that would have nipped the situation in the bud.
“Exco did warn that every office holder must rise to his/her responsibilities, show diligence, show passion failing which disciplinary actions will also face such person”, Orji said.
The Commissioner who announced a minor cabinet reshuffle said the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Chief Clement Nweke was made Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development while Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Queendaline Agwu will replace Nweke
Addressing the visiting AIG, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi condemned the recent attack on INEC offices in the state and his filling station.
He said the irate youths in the South East emanated from their demands which have not been attended to.
Umahi said, “Let me condemn very seriously the killing of security agents. I have said it severally; burning of police stations would not solve our problems. Yesterday two INEC offices in Ezza North and Ebonyi Local Government were burnt. They even burnt a filling station that I own two days ago and attempted assassination of the Publicity Secretary of APC.
“Let me say AIG, that the nation Nigeria, played into the hands of our restive youths because there were several demands there were making. There were agitations about the way the South East is being treated at the national level and when those are repeated, then our people bought the impression that they are fighting for the welfare of our people. They are fighting for our security, especially when people are few from this site to be promoted at the national level and are not promoted rightly or wrongly when we are not given the opportunity at the security hierarchy of the nation.
“So, the impression here is that we are not welcome here in Nigeria. It has given the governors a very serious talk about this and I am sure security agencies know this because it seems several people, especially those who are aggrieved with the government are tactically supporting them.
“But we, the Governors in the South East believe in one Nigeria where fairness, equity, justice, and fair play do take place. We do not want to secede as a people, we want to be treated nicely just like other regions and this is a fact”.
Addressing stakeholders, during the stakeholders’ meeting organised by Nigeria Police in Ebonyi on the best way to police the people of the state, AIG Okon said Ebonyi was known as the most peaceful state in the whole Federation.
He decried the rate of insecurity in the State ranging from kidnapping, cultism, banditry among others.
“The most annoying part of the insecurity is the incessant killing of Police Officers, burning of their stations and making away with their arms and ammunition
“Stakeholders should call those responsible for the hideous crime to order because they are from your different Communities of the State,” Etim said.
He maintained that the insecurity might escalate more than this if nothing is done to contain it.
“Stakeholders, today the hoodlums are killing police and other security agents, by the time they finished killing security men, they will come after you,” he added.
He urged them to show the police the best way to secure lives and properties in the country.
The Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, Mr Aliyu Garba sought the collaboration of individuals to secure the country.
“No Police in the world had ever claimed to have achieved success security-wise without the collaboration of the entire society. You must contribute your quota to end insecurity in the State.” Garba said.
The State Chairman Nigeria Youth Council, Elder Sam Igwe said giving youths a sense of belonging and giving them their rights would go a long way to secure the nation.
“Police should see Youths as partners in progress, they should always be given a fair hearing at any particular point in time,” Igwe added.
The Chairman Local Government Advisory Committee, Hycinth Nwode said the best way to end insecurity in the Country is by providing employment to the teeming unemployed Youths.
Also, the representative of the Non-Governmental Organization known as Faith Community Counseling Organization (FACO), Miss Esther Nwite urged government to prioritise the welfare of the youths so as to keep them in a good position where they ought to be and stay away from crime.
She said if Nigeria Youths should be seen as Nigeria project, there would be no insecurity in Nigeria again.
Recall that suspected bandits on Tuesday night unleashed attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State and set the offices ablaze.
No life was lost but office documents were reportedly damaged by the fire.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer, INEC, Ebonyi State, Mr. Cornelius Sunday Ali said the Commission’s security men in the affected local government areas escaped unhurt.
Mr. Ali explained that the inferno razed the whole buildings, destroying electoral materials, generators, cubicles, and ballot boxes.
He also said that the commission had reported the matter to security agencies and the national office of the commission.
“Early this morning, we got a call from three of our electoral officers in three local government areas that the offices have been razed. The level of destruction is much. None of our security men was wounded.
“Our boss, that is the Resident Electoral Commissioner has already traveled to Abuja for a meeting. We have already communicated the incident to the appropriate quarters including the security agencies.