The House of Representative Ad hoc committee set up to interface with relevant security agencies to reduce kidnapping, assassinations and banditry in and around Isiukwuato and Umunnochi Local Government Area of Abia State, has called for release of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu for peace in to reign in the South East region.
The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Obinna Aguocha made the call at a meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, for absolute peace, reduction of crime and criminality, investment in meaningful infrastructure development, ending the unproductive sit-at-home and improving economic growth and opportunities in the South East, starts with the government’s recognition of the rule of law, justice and equitable inclusion of the South East zone.
He said to achieve the project Nigeria, the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from unlawful detention to ensure lasting peace and security in the entire region cannot be over emphasized.
While addressing the security agencies present at the meeting, he said, the insecurity challenges being faced in the areas being in focus in Abia State was a result of shared borders with other states which gives the criminals a leeway for movement across the states borders.
He added that the cross border dynamics of the primary focus areas bring additional complexity to the challenges of the task ahead adding that the common borders, shared with four other states connect the primary focus areas to Ebonyi State via Isiagu, Enugu State via Agwu, Imo State via Okigwe and Anambra via Awka.
“The opportunity for inter-state collaboration presents itself and must be explored to foster regional participation. The challenges faced by one state rippled across it’s neighbours and therefore, our strategies for resolution must be all inclusive.
“By synergising our resources, expertise, and perspective, we can create a stronger front against insecurity and strengthen the bond that binds us”.
“As we navigate the complexities of security concerns, we must also be prepared to tackle the root causes of these issues at their core and work to ensure lasting solutions that would stand the test of time.
The House of Representatives had prior to embarking on its ongoing recess, pledged to wade into the matter following a similar demand through a motion, but yet to take any action to that effect,
Aguocha stated further that “the challenges we face are not mere statistics or headlines; they are real-life manifestations that affect the lives of our people, disrupt the functioning of our institutions and communities, thus impeding the growth of our region”.
According to the lawmaker, instances of criminal activities, banditry, kidnapping, assassinations, communal and religious clashes, and threats to life have shaken the very foundation of our societies.
“As leaders and stakeholders, it is incumbent upon us to come together, transcending our differences, to find sustainable solutions that will quell these threats and pave the way for a brighter future.
“We recognize that insecurity cannot be combated by one entity alone; it does require a collective, multi-faceted approach that encompasses various perspectives and expertise of law enforcement agencies, community leaders, policymakers, scholars, and citizens”, he said, adding that ongoing engagement will provide the opportunity to harness the diverse perspectives and channel them into coherent, actionable strategies for peace.
“This committee wishes to applaud the efforts of state governments in the Southeast region as well as the Federal government for its demonstrable commitment to peace and security in the Southeast.
“In conclusion, it should be our collective expectation that the following would have been addressed or significantly advanced clear strategy for inter security agency collaboration, clear strategy for inter government joint task collaboration, clear strategy for community engagement pathway, and determination of implementation milestones, both in the short and long term.
Meanwhile, sponsor of the motion that led to composition of the committee, Hon. Amobi Ogah has accused the police of using multiple checkpoints in the troubled areas to extort money from innocent citizens, instead of combing the bushes to flush out the criminals as demanded by the House through its resolution.
He said of all the prayers, including setting up of a joint security task force to comb the bushes, nothing has been done, but rather the mounting of multiple checkpoints, which he described as “embarrassing”, while kidnapping is yet on the increase.
“I want this to be on record that the police are doing nothing, but collecting money”, he said.
To save the situation, Chairman of the committee called for a closed door session, for the Commissioner of Police, Abia State Command, Mr. Kenechukwu Onwumelie to brief the panel.