•Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma
OWERRI – Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has revealed that members of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) hijacked the Eastern Security Network (ESN) from the Southeast governors after they had concluded plans to roll out the security outfit.
Uzodimma, who disclosed this when the members of the state Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by The Nation correspondent, Chris Njoku paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Owerri, said that the governors had hitherto agreed and put in place arrangements to set up the Eastern Security Network (ESN), but the name was hijacked by the members of IPOB, who used the outfit to commit a lot of mayhem in the Southeast.
According to the governor, “The Attorneys-General of the five Southeastern states prepared a memo on the same outfit and the five southeast governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and southeast leaders accepted and tried to roll it out only for the members of the IPOB to hijack the name.
“But, we’re taking a review of the situation and as soon as we’re through, we’ll come up with another name and roll out a security outfit for the southeast. We’ll not allow hoodlums to overrun the region because we have a responsibility to protect our people. I want to tell you that there’s no failure of government in South East,” the governor said.
Uzodimma also disclosed that the governors of the five South Eastern states would be holding a summit in Owerri to fashion out modalities for the setting up of a security outfit for the region.
The summit, the governor said, would take a holistic assessment of the security situation in the region and determine the best solution to tackling the issue, especially after the fiasco of the ESN.
Uzodimma said that the Southeast governors would not want to be copying what other regions have done, especially with the pressure put on them after the formation of Amotekun by the southwest governors.
He added that the new outfit would be different from others.
“It’s necessary for every region to be vigilant and have a security outfit, especially with the present situation we have in this country. We cannot lose fate with the management of security in our region and at the same time, we must be careful in the way we go about it.”
The governor, who also spoke on the recovery of property allegedly looted by the former administration, expressed his commitment to ensuring that justice is done.
He dismissed the allegation that the whole issue was a witch-hunt, stressing that the panel on recovery of public property did a diligent job by investigating widely.
Uzodimma added that Eastern Palm University has been gazetted while the government would soon gazette its finding on the report of the commission of inquiry on lands and related matters. (The Nation)