By Aiyeku Timothy
South East elders, under the aegis of Conference of Igbo Elders for Peace and Development, have spoken against the formation of a new security outfit in the region by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu had announced the formation of a new security outfit named Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the safety of the region.
The elders in their reaction described the ESN as illegal and asked South-East Governors in the region and Ohaneze to rise against it while calling for the region’s security similar to Amotekun in the South West.
Also, they charged the “South-East governors and businessmen in the region to pull resources together and form a security outfit like Amotekun or civilian JTF backed by law, which can be controlled and be effective.”
In a statement signed by its National President, Dr Festus Edochie, and National Secretary, Barrister (Mrs) Esther Amadi, on Thursday, the elders said its attention to the inglorious activities of Mr Kanu was drawn to a trending video of some misguided youths armed with prohibited firearms and dangerous weapons.
“We observe with utmost shock and concern a disturbing video of a group of some misguided youths codenamed Eastern Security Network, bearing arms and circulating on social media.
“In the said video, the group which claimed to be operating somewhere in Anambra State carried Ak-47 and other dangerous weapons under the guise of providing security against violent crimes being committed by herdsmen in the region.
“We condemn this group and its activities in its entirety and call on all South-East governors and well-meaning Ndigbo to come out and condemn this act of criminality being sponsored by a self-appointed leader of a proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” they said in the statement.
The Igbo elders added that, “While we recognize perfectly the yearning and desire of every Nigerian today for community policing and self-security due to the insecurity in the country, we insist that it must be done in accordance with the law of the land and by the right people who are legally empowered to do so.”
“No group or individual has the legal right to bear prohibited firearms of that nature without the proper backing of the law. Hence we must all rise in the South East to not only condemn but also distant ourselves from this act without delay.
“No doubt, the current security architecture of Nigeria has failed and Nigerians deserve to protect themselves but that must be done within the premise of the law.
“We are Nigerians and cannot form a parallel security arm that bears prohibited firearms for any reason in our region.
“It is not in the place of IPOB to organize such a group armed with automatic weapons, no lawful country or citizen will support that, even the civilian Joint Task Force which is supported by law with members assisting in fighting terrorism in Borno State and other parts of North East don’t use automatic weapons.
“We are therefore calling on all the South-East governors and businessmen in the region to pull resources together and form a security outfit like Amotekun or civilian JTF backed by law, which can be controlled and be effective.
“Finally, we wish to call on the South-East governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo and other well-meaning groups to come out to condemn the act of criminality that may spark unrest in the region thus portraying Ndigbo as bad and lawless people.”