By: Ruth Oginyi
The All Progressive Congress(APC) in Ebonyi state has described the recent motion by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) National Assembly Lawmakers from the state against the Ebubeagu Security outfit as mischievous.
The party said that about 7 Ebubeagu security operatives have been killed recently by gunmen in various parts of the state while there were carrying out their duty.
Bar, Eni Uduma Chima, a chieftain of APC and chairman Afikpo south local government, Edda made this known on Friday.
In a statement titled ‘only the guilty are afraid of Ebubeagu’, Eni alleged that the lawmakers who raised concern over insecurity, extra-judicial, and illegal operations in the state in the state during the national assembly session on Thursday lied in their presentation.
The motion was moved by Hon. Idu Igariwey representing (Afikpo North/South) and supported by four Lawmakers from the state, Livinus Makwe(Ohaozara, Ivo, Onicha), Sylvester Ogbaga(Abakaliki/Izzi), Chukwuma Nwazunku(Ebonyi/Ohaukwu), and Edwin Nwonu(Ezza North/Ishielu).
The Lawmakers also claimed that the security outfit is being used to hunt, terrorize and even eliminate opposition party members in the state.
They noted that the group is being used to hunt one Linus Okorie, a former member of the House down in the state.
But Eni, in his reaction, debunked the allegations.
And said: “I have observed the biased basis of the baseless motion by some dormant members of the House of Representatives on alleged insecurity in Ebonyi State.
He said the motion moved by the five PDP Lawmakers from the state is informed by destructive opposition politicking.
“This infamous quintet has never sponsored any meaningful bill or participated in any worthwhile debate on the floor of the House, only to wake up from their inactivity to attempt setting fire on the security infrastructure of Ebonyi State in a bid to play the script authored in Lagos to sabotage the political standing of Engr. Dr. David Umahi.
“Unfortunately, the PDP National Assembly members of Ebonyi State extraction have chosen to play politics with the efforts of the State Government to curb insecurity bordering on communal clashes, farmers/herdsmen clashes, kidnapping and other violent crimes in Ebonyi State, by criticizing ‘Ebubeagu’, the State Vigilante Outfit.
“Ebubeagu is a creation of an existing law duly passed by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly and its mandate of complementing the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies in securing lives and properties are well spelled out in the enabling law”, he said.
Eni argued that the Lawmakers lied by alleging that operatives of Ebubeagu are not professionally trained and wield AK 47 and AK 49 rifles alongside other dangerous weapons.
“The truth is that the vigilante group underwent diligent training in the use of arms which in all cases are limited to duly authorized pump action rifles.
“The group does not have any detention facility as it hands over any person suspected of committing an offense to the nearest policeman or police station for investigation”, he added.
Adding that Ebubeagu is an answer to the insecurity question in the South East and neither indulges in torture nor other illegal activities as alleged by the Lawmakers.
“If there is any substance in the litany of allegations cataloged by Igariwey and his fellow misrepresentations, one would expect them to make formal complaints to the police or even to the DSS against the suspects involved, rather than pushing for the proscription of a group which is part of the solution to the rife insecurity in different parts of Nigeria”.
He further noted that on the contrary, the security outfit has been under attack by hoodlums supported by opposing political elements leading to the loss of lives of at least seven Ebubeagu operatives in recent times.
“Why did Iduma not mention it in the House? Why are they not complaining of lack of AK-47 and AK-49 licenses for Bandits, Anarchists and other Violent Criminals who are on the prowl”
“State vigilante has become a convention in Nigeria and discerning leaders have continued to support them to achieve their mandate of complementing police efforts in securing the people.
“We have ‘Amotekun’ in all the States of the South West Region and ‘Hisbah’ Police in the North and yet, resourceful National Assembly members from these States have never raised questions about the legitimacy, activities and modus operandi of these vigilante groups.
“Why are Igariwey and co against Ebubeagu? What are they hiding? They should come clean because only the guilty are afraid’, Eni said.
He comes to see the APC-led Leadership of the National Assembly for giving the PDP Lawmakers to make their submissions on the floor of the house.
“That these agent provocateurs were given ample time to fly their dummy kite on the floor of a House under APC leadership is a testament of the ruling party’s tradition of fair play.
“Yet, such privilege must not be abused striving after wind and wasting national parliamentary time castigating their State vigilante instead of discussing federal questions.
“Why not discuss insecurity on a national scale? Why did Iduma Igariwey not raise a motion of urgent public importance when gunmen attacked police stations and killed many including those in his immediate constituency?
“Anybody antagonizing Ebubeagu must have a skeleton in his cupboard because an Ebonyi State without Ebubeagu will be a dystopia where only gunmen and their sponsors will survive.
“It is laughable that Sylvester Ogbaga is hand in gloves with the same elements who betrayed him from becoming House of Representatives Minority Leader, despite being a ranking member with over sixteen idle years experience. How ridiculous could people be just to get at one man?
On the declaration of a former Rep Member, Linus Okorie wanted by the government, Eni said the former Lawmaker should answer a summons from security agencies and prove his innocence.
“I am aware that Linus Okorie has been serially disseminating seditious articles on Facebook and other social media. If he has been invited by any law enforcement agency to come and adopt his inciting lies, there is no point hiding.
“Making himself a fugitive and his co-conspirators reading resolutions in the Green Chamber cannot shield him from the provisions of the Cybercrime Act”, Eni said.
“The relevant authorities should investigate the people sponsoring the attack on Ebubeagu operatives and bring them to book.
“Criminals and their sponsors should get used to the fact that Ebubeagu has come to stay and will last for a very long time under the superintendence of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
“Hon. Iduma Igariwey Enwo and co should spare the nation their myopic views and malicious resolutions which though are like the proverbial tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing”, he concluded.
Ebubeagu security outfit was formed last year by governors of the southeast to help security agencies curtail the rising insecurity in the region.
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