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Founding chair quits as Ebube Agu’s fail to take off

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Damian Duruiheoma, Enugu; Chris Njoku, Owerri; Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia and Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakalili

The Southeast security outfit, Ebube Agu, failed to take off because the governors did not fund it, its founding chairman, Major-General Obi Abel Umahi (rtd), said on Monday.

Announcing his resignation as chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum (SGF) security committee, Umahi said the outfit was also not provided with an office.

He tended his resignation in a June 4 letter entitled: “Resignation as Chairman Southeast Security Committee – Ebube Agu” and addressed to the SGF chairman and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi.

The retired major-general was tasked with leading the outfit following its launch amid fanfare in April.

In the letter also copied to the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor and sighted by our correspondent, Umahi said his committee’s plans for the outfit were frustrated.

The letter reads in part: “Since this security committee was formed, we deliberated and agreed on ways to raise security consciousness down to the community level in Igboland, mode of operations, logistics and types of equipment required, such as drones, vehicles, etc. We also crafted the concept of Southeast security.

“I chaired a 21-man committee set up to draft a legal framework for the outfit. The committee was composed of members of the Southeast Security Committee, the attorney-generals of the five Southeast states and some prominent Igbo sons and daughters…

“On 11th April 2021, Southeast governors announced the formation of Ebube Agu in Owerri.

“Subsequently, the draft legal framework produced by the 21-man committee was reviewed by Southeast Security Committee members and the attorney-generals of the five states…

“From inception to date, Southeast Security Committee was never funded at all in any capacity and not even an office space was provided.

“At this juncture that Ebube Agu will soon come fully on-stream, I respectfully request that your excellencies kindly permit me to resign my appointment as the chairman, Southeast Security Committee.

“In the spirit of my love to serve Ndigbo, I can assure you that I will always be available to advise on the success of Ebube Agu at no cost, just as I served as the Chairman of Southeast Security Committee from 31 August 2019 till date at no cost directly or indirectly to the five Southeast state governments, groups and individuals.

“I highly appreciate your excellencies for the opportunity you gave me to serve Ndigbo”.

Umahi, who confirmed the resignation to journalists, said: “Please be assured of my loyalty, respect and accept my highest regards of your esteemed considerations.”

The SGF could not be reached on the development.

Its Director-General and Secretary to Enugu State Government, Simon Otuanya, said he would get back to our correspondent.

When he was contacted again hours later, he said he was in a meeting.

Governor Umahi’s Special Assistant on Media Francis Nwaze did not pick his calls or respond to text messages.

Ebonyi Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, declined comments.

He said that he was not in a position to react to the issue.

Imo State Government said it did not foot drag on the take-off of Ebube Agu.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said Governor Hope Uzodimma did his part, including setting in motion machinery for the state vigilante

“We have set the machinery in motion setting up our vigilante group. So, I don’t think anybody can accuse us of foot-dragging on the takeoff of the security outfit. We have started the process,” he said.

Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C Don Adinuba, said the state would find out why Umahi resigned.

“Nobody has briefed me or my principal Governor Willie Obiano on this matter and we are not going to rely on speculation,” he said.

Abia State Commissioner for Information, Mr John Okiyi Kalu and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governo, Mr Onyebuchi Ememanka, could not be reached. They also did not respond to text messages.

National Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ichie Damian Okeke-Ogene, expressed surprise at Umahi’s resignation.

He said Prof Obiozor would be in a better position to explain what may have led to the decision.

President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Imo, Akpuelu Agunna, was concerned about Umahi’s resignation.

“Everything that has to do with security should be taken seriously. First of all, we must find out if he has made a complaint to the authorities and what was the response.

“If what he is saying has no political undertone, it means there is danger,” he said.

A security expert, Victor Chibueze, urged the governors to back words with action.

He said: “The governors are battling with the judicial autonomy and independence of the legislature.

“If the states have money, they won’t be dragging the judicial and legislative autonomy for this long and it is the same states that are owing workers that you want to shoulder the burden of a security outfit.

“The stories that we are hearing about the payment of Homeland Security in Abia and the forest guard in Enugu, if they are anything to go by, are not palatable.

“That calls to question how the new Southeast security group is going to be funded. How committed are the governors going to be in their monthly payment and providing other logistics?”

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