South-EAST SECURITY OUTFIT: Tough times await rogue herdsmen in Igboland
As South-East governors move to set up the zone’s security outfit which they said would be community-based, some stakeholders have said the body would curb crimes, particularly the activities of rogue herdsmen.
A former head of Onitsha market security, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed this to Sunday Vanguard.
His words: “We will advise our leaders to ensure that our core rural areas where these rogue herdsmen terrorize, destroy farmlands, kill, rape and maim are well fortified.
“Already, some of the states, like Enugu, have put in place Forest Guards who patrol the forests and provide intelligence to security agencies. This group has to be fortified more and even their numbers increased and ensure that they also patrol farmlands.
“Again, one of the most important measures to be adopted is to ban herdsmen from having camps in the forests and bushes. This is one reason they have continued to commit all manner of atrocities in our zone. Like Delta State government is trying to do, herdsmen will no longer be allowed to live in forests in the South East, they should be made to hire, lease or purchase land, fence it and rear their animals.
“Our brothers doing business in the North do not live in the bush and do not get shops free. They pay for homes and shops, do their business and go home after the day’s work. These must apply to the herdsmen. They have to follow modern trends in animal rearing. Nobody will allow them to continue with the old ways which have been creating problems.’’
Also, a former boss of Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Chief Eni Chima, applauded the initiative.
According to him, the proposed security architecture would enhance the security, welfare and psychological well being of the people of the zone.
He said: “South East Community Policing will eliminate the siege mentality in some quarters, especially if it will stop the prevalent multiplicity of checkpoints understood by people of the zone as extortion points. By the participation of the people in their own security apparatus, confidence is built and efficiency achieved because peculiar security challenges are properly treated, even with homemade solutions.
“The security outfit will definitely synchronize variegated staccato of security action plans among the individual states towards attaining maximum and better quality outputs”.
Meanwhile, ex-Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Jerry Obasi, said for the outfit to be effective, there must be sincerity of purpose and non-politicisation of the programme.