Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State believes insecurity in the South East is politically-motivated but ruled out foreigners as the masterminds.
The governor’s comment came on the heels of rising insecurity in the region with an Anambra lawmaker Okechukwu Okoye being one of the latest casualties.
“In my state, there was a time that the insecurity was highly politically-motivated and the targets were Imo State, APC, and Ebonyi State the moment I defected,” he told Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “We did not have this large scale of insecurity until I defected.”
But for how President Muhammadu Buhari handled the challenge, he said the spate of insecurity could have been worse in Nigeria and the South East specifically.
“Well, you see, the security situation in the country, as I have always told people, that if we did not have the kind of President that is very humane and not vindictive, nobody knows where Nigeria would have been by now,” the APC presidential aspirant said. “So, he [Buhari] has helped us tremendously in the security of the South East.”
“What I call bandits are people that are engaged in violence and our people, South East people; the youths, some of them are also in this category,” Umahi added.
“When people tend to say the insecurity in the southeast is imported, I don’t buy that because I am a governor and get security reports. We have arrested a number of these people and it should be about five or ten percent of the people outside the South East.
“So, you cannot say when you have up to 90 percent of our youths that are engaged in this thing and you say we are being infiltrated by others.”
The governor also linked the security challenges to comments by politicians as he urged them to be mindful of what they say.
“There are certain statements that we make as leaders that tend to elevate this insecurity,” Umahi maintained.
He argued that one of the ways to tackle insecurity in Nigeria is for the government to create jobs as well as provide infrastructure. His administration, he said, has done excellently in that line.
“Everywhere you go in my state, jobs are going on. Even as I am talking to you, there is no local government in my state that projects are not going on,” he said.
In what he termed the bottom-top approach, the governor said his administration engaged bandits in the state with a view to finding lasting solutions to the rising insecurity.
“We have rehabilitated a lot of them,” the APC chieftain stated.