By Sunday Agbo Abakaliki
Worried over the fledging interstate dispute between the border communities in Ishiagu in Ebonyi state and communities in Abia state, Governor David Umahi has called on security agencies for quick intervention.
Umahi, who made the call during a courtesy visit by the assistant inspector general of police Zone six, Mr. Adeyemi Samuel, disclosed that the Abia state government had taken over a quarry site belonging to Ebonyi state.
According to Umahi, the Abia state government had mobilised police that had taken over the quarry site, even as he maintained that Abia state had flouted the directive by the federal ministry of mining and steel to share the quarry sites between the two states.
“We have heard of your exploits in Akwa Ibom of educating the youths, especially on cultism and I want you to replicate it here. I had to step on the toes of our leaders to ensure that we did not break our covenant. I have never asked anybody to punish anybody for me in this state.
“We have complained to the commissioner of police when we had mobile policemen everywhere but our people are killed every day. You have spoken of our challenges in the border areas but the CP and the deputy governor will brief you on that.
“The police in Abia is occupying the quarry in Ebonyi state. The federal mining ministry has asked us to share the place, but they refused. The CP has said he doesn’t want our people to go to war but they have refused to move away from there. I want you to assist us solve the problem”, he appealed.
Speaking earlier, Samuel assured the people of Ebonyi state of police attention to skirmishes between Ebonyi and its border states.
“My job is supervisory. But in doing that, I have other responsibilities of intervention in crisis situation. My office is like a bridge between the IGP and the command.
“In most cases the process is boycotted and the people write petition to the IGP. It is very wrong. It is when the commissioner cannot solve the problem that it will be transferred or when the commissioner fails to meet your expectations, then you come to the AIG. It is not desirable boycotting the office of the commissioner.
“The election is coming. We need to seat together with the four commissioners of police to ensure free and fair election. I am using this medium to transmit to the world that the police is neutral. I am here to assure you that the command the zone and the IGP has no political interest.
“All we need and require from you is your full cooperation. As we move into election, we will want a situation where we can move our men at good time. We calling on you to support the police with the required logistic.
“Whatever the political pressure, you are the father of the state. We will want you to continue in your fatherly role to maintain security in the state. It is in the best interest of the state to ensure security.
“We are also aware of the issue of little skirmishes between Ebonyi and Cross River and we will continue to do our best to ensure the crisis is ended”, he assured.
In another development, the governor, as chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, called for a thorough investigation into the reported invasion of the Abuja residence of the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.
Addressing Mr. Adeyemi on the matter, Umahi said such investigation would rebuild the confidence of the people on the Nigerian police as one able to protect the lives and property of every Nigerian. He added that if the case was not followed to its logical conclusion, it may lead to loss of confidence in the security agencies.
Saying that the police view that it was a case of burglary was not acceptable to him, the governor said “We demand, as people of South that the police should do thorough investigation and bring those behind the attack to book.”
The AIG, in his response, described Governor David Umahi as a man of peace, a security-conscious person and assured him of credible and peaceful general election in 2019.
In his words, “It is very important to ensure free and fair and peaceful election. It is our promise to assure you that police will be neutral. We don’t have any political interest and we are impartial umpire. All we need is your corporation and encouragement to us with logistics like vehicles to work for effective policing”.