Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi has announced N2 million as a reward for anyone with useful information that will lead to the arrest of those brewing insecurity in the state.
The governor made the announcement on Friday during an inter-denominational prayer summit organised by the state government in Abakaliki, the state capital.
He called for the cooperation of all residents of the state in the fight against crime, noting that the killers can be identified as they reside both in houses and forests.
“It is time for us to rise up; we know these people. They are in houses [and] forests. Give us information and every information that will lead to the arrest of any killer will have a cash reward of not less than N2 million,” he said.
The governor also reiterated his faith in Nigeria, insisting that he doesn’t support calls for the disintegration of the country.
While commending the Wife of the President for initiating the summit for Nigeria to seek the face of God over the seemingly intractable security problems confronting the nation, Umahi said leaders would work with God and the people to enthrone peace in all parts of the country.
The Ebonyi leader also called for the disbandment of the Eastern Security Network to allow governors and other South-East leaders to pursue a political solution to the agitation against marginalisation.
On her part, the Ebonyi First Lady, Rachel Umahi, extolled the president’s wife for directing the prayer summit, which aimed at seeking the face of God to restore peace in the country.
“Our coming together is to seek the face of God over the security challenges and other problems facing the nation,” she added.
“Through our constant prayers, we can overcome the rising cases of killing, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes in our country.
“God has been so kind to Ebonyi and our state has been so peaceful but we cannot take this for granted.”
Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum David Umahi has decried the degeneration of what started as a cry against marginalisation into violence in the region.
Umahi, who is also the Governor of Ebonyi State, said this when he appeared on Channels TV’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
The governor was speaking about the security situation in the South-East, the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other issues, a day after governors of the region announced that a security outfit “Ebube Agu” will be established in the five states that make up the region before the end of the year.
“At the initial time, it was an issue of ‘look, we are being marginalised. A lot of people keyed into that,” Governor Umahi said of the initial agitations in the region.
“Then, along the line, it developed into violence. And then later, the same agitation has been hijacked by criminals, bandits and kidnappers.”
The Governor explained that the grievances of people in the region over the years had led to support for IPOB, which had said it was fighting against the marginalisation of the region.“A lot of people keyed in,” he said.
“If anybody had grievances with the centre (Federal Government), the person became a supporter of IPOB. If you sort anything at the federal level and you fail to get it, you become a supporter of IPOB.
Those in the diaspora that went for greener pastures and they failed to get such become very bitter with the Nigerian society. And so, followers kept growing.”
According to the governor, the situation worsened when the conflicts with herdsmen came up.
“They were a couple of killings in the South-East and the people were a bit helpless and felt the governors were not protecting them,” he said, adding that though the governors did a lot to ensure that there was peace between the herders and people, residents were not satisfied.
“You see, some uninformed elements felt that the only way to solve the problem between us and herdsmen was to ask them to leave the South-East.”
The preferred option for these elements, he explained, was not nationalistic because people from the South-East also live in the north.
“Then came the IPOB with ESN (Eastern Security Network), which is the militant aspect of IPOB, and they started to issue orders of threats,” the governor said.
So, along the line, the whole exercise has been hijacked. In the South-East, we no longer have kidnappers; everyone that commits one criminal act or the other claims to be IPOB.”
Governor Umahi accused some politicians, who he did not name, of capitalising on the situation.
These politicians, he said, “began to import killers from outside the South-East to advance their political interests”.
The governor, however, stressed that the people were beginning to understand the situation and support for IPOB is declining due to the actions of the group and the level of violence in the region.
He added that once the issues of leadership and development that led to cries of marginalisation were addressed to complement efforts being made by the governors to tackle the situation, security will improve in the region.
‘Biafra Is Madness’
According to the governor, it is the failure of the Federal Government to treat the region equally that has led to agitations and calls for secessionist state, Biafra.
“This idea of Biafra, Biafra is madness,” he said, adding that most elites in the south east do not want Biafra.
“We don’t want Biafra. We only want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria,” Governor Umahi stressed.
Speaking of the sit-at-home order, which he says is mostly issued by people in diaspora, the governor lamented that the south-east people are complying only out of fear and not because they want to be obedient.
“If we had a policeman to everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit at home,” he said.
He, therefore, promised that governors from the region will continue doing what they can to safeguard the people because “we cannot have Biafra by the way they are going about it”.
“I moved to close the gap between the center and the southeast, which our forefathers fought for, like Nnamdi Azikwe.
“So, for somebody to come and say that a whole chairman of the southeast governor’s forum, he was instrumental to that, it’s a bitter insult to my person and with all due respect, he has to withdraw the statement.
“He remains my friend and a good one for that matter, but he played no role in my movement and I’m sure he didn’t play no role in the movement of the rest of us,” Governor Umahi stressed.
The comments come on the same day that Mr Femi Fani-Kayode officially defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
The former PDP chieftain was introduced to President Muhammadu Buhari as the newest member of the ruling party during a visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He was led to the meeting with the President by the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as well as Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, says he will feel bad if the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not give the South-East a chance at the presidency.
Umahi said this when he made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday.
“The heartbeat of the people of the South-East is that they should be given a chance whether in the PDP or the APC for Presidency of this country for the reason of equity, fairness and justice,” he said.
“I took that position in the PDP and one of the reasons why I took that position is because the South-East people have supported the PDP all the way and they have never been given any opportunity to do that.
“If I follow APC for this length of time, and they don’t give the South-East an opportunity, I will feel bad.
“I will feel bad if I stay the same length of time as I did in the PDP and that happens. But I can’t say what I will do. It depends on what God places in my mind,” he added.
After years in the PDP, Governor Umahi defected to the APC in November 2020.
Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, on Monday said the chances of the South-East region producing the nation’s presidency in 2023 is in God’s hands.
With the President Muhammadu Buhari administration expected to elapse in about 17 months’ time from now, there has been uncertainty as to which zone would produce the presidency.
While the southern region has been agitating to have the presidential slot, none of the nation’s two dominant parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – has officially given the slot to the zone.
However, Umahi who decamped from the main opposition PDP to the ruling APC last year, said the chances of the South-East region producing Nigeria’s President under his party, would be determined by God.
Although the governor didn’t specify whether he is against the move or in support, he only said God directs the party’s affairs.
“It’s in the hands of God,” Governor Umahi said during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, in reaction to the bright chances the Igbos have to be Nigeria’s President under the APC platform.
On whether God is a party member, the governor replied in the affirmative saying: “He is. He directs our affairs. He gives breath to every man so power belongs to God. Whatever thing we wish will come through only through God. If God says yes, no one can say no.”
The Ebonyi governor also backed the APC’s caretaker arrangement, noting that the interim Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni is not being paid.
He explained that the committee was set up by the party to do a particular job.
Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, says his people have no land to give out for cattle ranching.
Governor Umahi stated this on Monday evening while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’.
Umahi said each state in the South-East already has laws banning open grazing and as such, it is way off as he is a servant to his people.
“This is not about the governors, it is about the people, so, whatever position the people take in this regard, that is what will happen. There is no land in this regard that is not owned by individuals, corporate bodies.
“So, this is beyond governors and that is the truth. People calling governors are making a very grievous mistake. Even if I say as a governor in South-East, I want people from this village, I want you to donate this land, the question is: will they allow it?
“I have heard about three communal crisis in my state, and it is all about land. There is a place that I am building a medical university and the people of that village, for a project that is almost completed, went and brought it down. They prefer to have their farms than a medical college. So, the land is a different ball game altogether,” Umahi stated when asked whether he would provide land for ranching as a governor.
Speaking further Umahi noted that his people have “said they have no land for ranching. They put me where I am. If I have one acre of land and I am talking about giving land for ranching, I should be talking about that particular land. I can’t be talking about somebody’s land. Yes, constitutionally, I have control over the land but you have to kill all the people to get the land.”
Earlier in the year, Southern Governors banned open grazing of cattle across states in the region and urged the President to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
The governors also called for the restructuring of the country to address increasing agitations in different parts of the nation, while restating their commitment to the unity of the country.
In reaction to the ban, the presidency said the governors failed to provide any solution to the lingering crisis between farmers and herders in the country.
Seeking to profer the needed solution, President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent interview stated that the government will return to a practice in which herders will ply designated grazing routes across the country.
The President said the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has been asked to begin the process to see how these routes can be legally put back to use, a directive which has not gone down with many Nigerians, with some claiming that the insistence on open grazing points to a hidden agenda.
“It has been a result of the failure of our past leaders to address the future of our youths. And this is the truth. So it’s not a question of blaming Mr President or blaming Governors or blaming APC or PDP; it is systematic and it has been there for a very long time.
“I think that we must deploy sincerity in our approach; we must deploy consultation, wisdom and prayers. If all these are put together, I am sure that the insecurity in the country will be a thing of the past.”
Nigeria is battling several security challenges, including but not limited to an insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, secessionist agitations in the South-East and Farmer-Herdsmen crises across the Middle-Belt and several South-West states.
Mr Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, said the insecurity situation in his region has been exacerbated by secessionist agitations by locals, the problem of foreign herdsmen who invaded the region and the general rise in the cases of cultism and armed robbery.
In Ebonyi, the Governor said communal crises are being “fuelled by political interests” in the form of “misguided comments by desperate politicians who want power at all cost.”
He also advocated for the reintegration of young people who have gone into crime into the society.
“Ebube Agu is not after the Eastern Security Network (ESN) or after IPOB, no. Ebube Agu is meant to protect the people of Ebonyi State and her visitors,” he said.
“I have asked every citizen of Ebonyi State to protect themselves against any killing, no Ebonyi person should be killed again by anybody for any reason.
“We will not take the killing of any Ebonyi person lightly any longer. We have not deployed our Ebube Agu. The social media is saying we have deployed, we merely said this is the uniform we are preparing.”
Umahi said Nigerian youths were aggrieved, adding that leaders must find a way of engaging them in order to bring the current partial breakdown of law and order under control.
Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi has issued a seven-day ultimatum to native doctors and traditional medicine dealers to register with government agencies or face arrest and prosecution.
The governor gave the directive on Thursday after a security meeting at the Government House in Abakaliki, the state capital, Umahi issued the ultimatum.
“All Native Doctors and Traditional Medicine Dealers in the state shall register with the Commissioner of Police, Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, within 7 days as part of security measures in the state,” he said.
“On recent Killings in the state, it was directed that Security agencies must do everything possible to bring perpetrators to justice, and must deepen collaborations and professionalism to fight the ravages of insecurity in the state.”
As part of measures to tackle insecurity in the state, the governor imposed a 10-hour curfew on the state’s entry and exit points, from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., with defaulters facing a N1 million fine.
Umahi also directed the security forces to bring those responsible for the deaths of a police officer and two soldiers to justice within 72 hours.
Speaking further, Governor Umahi imposed a nighttime ban on social gatherings, noting that events such as wakes, clubbing, and other similar activities could not take place after 6 p.m. and that violators would be fined N1 million.
EMERGENCY STATE SECURITY EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THE 28TH DAY OF APRIL, 2021 AT THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OCHOUDO CENTENARY CITY ABAKALIKI, EBONYI STATE
SYNOPSIS OF THE DECISIONS REACHED:
All Native Doctors and Traditional Medicine Dealers in the state shall register with the Commissioner of Police, Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, within 7 days as part of security measures in the state.
On recent Killings in the state, it was directed that Security agencies must do everything possible to bring perpetrators to justice, and must deepen collaborations and professionalism to fight the ravages of insecurity in the state.
Fake news peddlers must be tracked and cracked down and those spreading it must be prosecuted, as it is a gross conveyor of insecurity.
4 All wake keep activities in the state must end by 6pm. Ebubeagu and Security Agencies are to enforce the wake keep restrictions. Defaulters must pay a fine of One Million Naira (N1,000,000.00).
Appeal is further made to our people to stop the killing of innocent people and the security agents, and to stop destroying public facilities for any guise whatsoever as they are inexcusably acts of banditry
Okada unions must form their taskforce to fish out those bandits operating under the guise of Okada riders in the state, failing which government shall ban the use of Okada especially within the capital city of the state.
Security investigations have revealed that the killings and destruction of properties meted against the people of Umuogodoakpu Mgbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area on the 12th day of April 2021 was by Agila community through the conduit of the herdsmen.
Night clubs must not operate beyond 6pm as our laws on Covid-19 and other relevant laws shall be invoked to bring perpetrators to justice.
Curfew is hereby placed in all the border points bounding other states from 8pm to 6 am with effect from wednesday, 28th April, 2021.
Joint Youth Vigilante Committee is to be formed in the communities affected by communal clash.
Ring road project is about to commence and therefore all the communities within the eight Local Government Areas where the roads will pass through are to form a joint youth committee to police the area to avoid violent disturbances by hoodlums.
The two communities attacked by herdsmen and the conduits of Agila community respectively received a cheque of Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000.00) to be given to the families of the victims and Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000.00) to be given for the procurement of security outfits for their local Vigilante, making a total sum of Forty Million Naira (N40,000,000.00) donation from the State government.
Fasting and prayer has been declared from 1st to 8th May 2021 for our people to seek God’s intervention on the insecurity in the state.
Hon Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji
(Honourable Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Ebonyi State)
Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, has called on the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigeria Police to invite Nigerians who make ‘unsubstantiated statements’ on social media to explain reasons for their comments.
The governor who made this comment during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily said this is important to prevent an increase in crime.
“The level of crimes in the country is as a result of unpatriotic acts of a lot of us. We, leaders, we come out on television and then we speak, indict other regions, we speak against other regions, we pick on the leader of the country and then castigate the leader of the country. There is no patriotism at all.
“The way to prevent this thing is that if you are making unsubstantiated statements in the social media, the police, the SSS, you should be invited to explain and this is no politics because the country cannot fold our hands and allow people to plunge the country into another war. This is very important,” Umahi said.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governor noted that these unpatriotic comments are capable of inciting division and might eventually plunge the country into a crisis or lead to war.
“I was told that one of the world wars started with a family quarrel and so if you are making a statement on social media calling it freedom of speech, you must come to the law to substantiate it.
“What I have in the (Ebonyi) State, the communal clash now should have stopped but for the politicians who are making unguarded accusations and statements in the social media and then people outside the state will just cash on that and emotions will arise and the problem will continue.”
Umahi’s reaction comes a week after the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said Twitter chose Ghana as the headquarters for its African operations, due to unpatriotic comments of Nigerians who demarket Nigeria.
Mr Mohammed said the tech giants chose Accra, Ghana over Nigeria because the nation’s West African neighbours are champions of democracy and abide by the rule of law.
“The reasons cited by Twitter for citing the headquarters in Accra, Ghana is that Accra is a champion of democracy and there is rule of law in the country, among other reasons. This is what you get when you de-market your country,” the Minister stated.
Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi on Thursday said some criminals are committing crimes under the guise of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the South-East.
The governor made the comment during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.
“The truth of what is happening is that there are bandits everywhere; there are cultists everywhere. What happens now in the South-East is that criminals who may not necessarily be members of IPOB and ESN, will go and commit crimes and they need a name.
“So it’s safer for them to say they are members of ESN, and IPOB so that the persecution of IPOB and ESN by the Federal Government will cover them.
“That is what is happening in South-East because IPOB and ESN have a number of times come out to say they are not into terrorism and violence, and the people burning police stations and killing are not their members. And so how do you reconcile the two?” he said.
The governor urged South-East governors to rise against the ugly trend of attacks on security outfits especially police stations in the region.
“It is a monster that we must not allow to arise in the South-East. When they finish with that (attacking police stations) they will start attacking stakeholders to kill them,” Umahi said.
IPOB Or Gunmen?
IPOB has been blamed for the recent attacks on prisons and police stations in the South-East but the group have denied the claims noting they are agitators, not gunmen.
Few hours after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Services and the Police Headquarters in the Imo State freeing prison inmates, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu revealed that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN) was behind the attack.
In response to this, IPOB stressed that they are not gunmen.
“We were not involved in the attack in Owerri and the recent attack on Onitsha-Owerri road at Ukwuorji junction.
“It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities,’’ the Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful said.
Meanwhile, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma in his reaction to attacks in the South-East blamed aggrieved politicians, saying their aim was to destabilise his government and that of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor reacting three days after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Services and the Police Headquarters in Imo State explained that security agencies have gathered intelligence on the sponsors of the thugs and their planning leading to the attack on government establishments.
Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has raised an alarm over a plot by some persons to incite war in the southeast.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Umahi said bandits were committing crimes in the South-East of the country under the guise of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Although he didn’t reveal names or identities of the individuals involved, he warned that governors of the region will not allow what he termed illegality to reign in the area.
“The problem of this country is that people will leave their problems and make your problem their problem. But what some of these people are doing is to incite the south-east into war and step aside, and we are not going to buy into that, we are not going to be deceived again,” he said.
“Whether it inspires confidence or not, it does not matter to me. What matters to me is that our people will be satisfied with our efforts in protecting their lives and property. People must be very careful, and know that there are grand plans by people who have no interest in the south-east, to incite them into war and we are wiser than that.”
Governor Umahi said the regional security outfit, Ebube Agu, recently launched by the South-East governors was not formed in a hurry, adding that the only recognised security outfit in the region is Ebubeagu.
He explained that he and his other colleagues from Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Imo would fight insecurity within the ambit of the law.
While blaming some politicians for the insecurity in the region, he said: “Ebube Agu is to protect the lives of everyone in the South-East,” the governor stressed.
Recently, the eastern part of the country has come under intense attacks as gunmen assail residents, police formations and prisons, freeing thousands of inmates.
This forced the governors of the region to launch a security outfit to complement the efforts of the security agencies in the fight against crimes.