A special investigative report by some research groups in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria has revealed how former President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly used the Ebube Agu security outfit to harass and kill thousands of innocent Igbo residents and push for a radical Islamic agenda in the South-East region.
The report was published as a collaborative effort of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), the Ekwenche Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA, the Global Igbo Leaders Coalition (GIL), United Kingdom, and the Rising Sun Charities Organisation, Newark-New Jersey, USA.
The organisations noted that the “Ebube-Agu Security arrangement” was also a channel through which illicit small arms and light weapons were proliferated in the region, adding that the Imo and Eboniy state governments were particularly culpable in the implementation of the Jihadist Fulani and Islamic agenda.
The report was signed by researchers including; Emeka Umeagbalasi for Intersociety; Ositadinma Agu for Ekwenche Research Institute, Chicago, USA; Prof Justin Akujieze, Board Chairman, Ekwenche Institute; Nze Amadiebube Mbama for Global Igbo Leaders Coalition, Georgia, USA, and Bridget Okafor, Rising Sun Charities Organisation, UK.
The report stated that the remote reasons behind the rising and proliferation of more than 20 armed killer entities in Igbo Land, especially South-East and Igbo parts of the South-South Nigeria since 2015 and January 2021 (when escalations and proliferations heightened) was traced to “Buhari’s bent on laying siege, conquering and enslaving the Igbo Land, her defenceless populations and properties for purposes of radical Islamism and politics of hate, segregation and exclusion.”
According to the report titled, “Who is killing who outside the law in Igbo land”, the worst affected states include Imo and Ebonyi states, followed by Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Rivers and Delta states.
The report said, “By early 2016, the Buhari’s Government allegedly initiated secret Islamic conquest movements of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadists; assembled from within and outside Nigeria and armed with AK-47s.
“This was the beginning of “political and religious” insecurity and proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALWs) in Igbo Land. The Islamic conquest movements were also strongly suspected to have been heavily aided and protected by the Nigerian military formations during which forests, bushes and farmlands of South-South, South-East, Middle-Belt and Christian parts of the South-West were invaded, seized and occupied.
“Findings by Intersociety later showed that over 700 communal locations including forests, bushes and farmlands across the South-East and Igbo parts of Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Nasarrawa, Kogi and Benue States have been seized and occupied by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Government assembled Jihadists as at 2022.
“These findings were also corroborated by a former Police DIG (retired in 2020) who in 2021 disclosed that “not less than 336 locations in the South-East have been occupied by Fulani Herdsmen armed with AK-47s”.
“The Buhari’s Government also saw the rise of IPOB and its Self Determination agitations as a serious threat to its State Jihad Project and to counter this, the Government adopted radical approaches including funding and arming of counterfeiters using conformist political actors including top Government functionaries in Ebonyi State (under Umahi) and Imo State (under Uzodinma).
“The above was to the extent that the past Government of Ebonyi State was strongly suspected to have been federally contracted to counterfeit and counter the IPOB’s Eastern Security Network (formed in Dec 2020) leading to the launch of ‘Ebubeagu Security Arrangement’ in April 2021 to counter ESN and sustain Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen terrorism in Igbo Land.
“The idea behind the “Ebubeagu Security Arrangement” was later found to have been muted by Buhari Government of Nigeria using the Chairmanship of the South-East Governors’ Forum.
“In Ebonyi State where the dreaded security outfit was unveiled in Dec 2021, it was renamed in March 2023 as “the Ebonyi State Vigilante Corps” and “the Ebonyi State Neighborhood Watch”. The above was as a result of the proscription of the “Ebubeagu Vigilante Group” by a Federal High Court sitting in Abakiliki in February 2023. The “Ebubeagu Security arrangement” is therefore only a counterfeit and anti self-determination instrument.”
“The insecurity and other unsafe conditions in Igbo Land are further fuelled by the growing number of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons estimated to be 2million in circulation and wrong hands. This is out of Nigeria’s estimated 7million SALWs.”
The report added that some “governors are found in this Special Investigative Report to be busy wastefully and lavishly spending billions of naira monthly on “security votes” without anything to show for it. These Governments of the South-East States and those of Rivers and Delta, etc have consistently heightened and over-blown security matters and illiterately paid attention to “trigger dimension” or “cork-and-shoot” as the only solution to insecurity and other unsafe conditions.
“They fundamentally triggered insecurity and other unsafe conditions in Igbo Land by woefully failing to offer good and accountable governances in their respective States. This is to the extent that the general citizens of their States and territories have suffered from the absence of ‘human security’ and its seven key dimensions of environmental security, health security, food security, community security, physical security, economic security and personal security. The Governors and other political leaders in Igbo Land have also turned around and plunged the Region into police and military siege and dumping grounds for illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons and their killing fields.
“Intersociety in collaboration with undersigned international partners have also investigated and found that there exist “Commissioner for Homeland Security and Vigilante Affairs” in Imo State; “Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace and Conflict Resolution” in Ebonyi State and “Commissioner for Homeland Security” in Anambra State. Similar portfolios also exist in Abia and Enugu States. These are in addition to the Offices of the Governors’ Special Security Advisers. In Ebonyi State, there are “Governor’s Special Advisers on Security for each of the State’s 13 Local Government Areas” or “Special Security Adviser to Ebonyi State Governor for Abakiliki, Izzi, Ezza North, Afikpo South, Afikpo North, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, Onicha, Ishielu, Ezza South, Ikwo, Ivo and Ohaozara”.
“The State is also presently dotted with “35 Commissioners”. Apart from openly or secretly coordinating the offensive and atrocious conducts and activities of many, if not most of the more than 20 ‘Government-linked Private Armies and Political Death Squads’ and condoning or conspiring with the invading Jihadists to wreck havoc in Igbo Land, “the Homeland Security Commissioners and Special Security Advisers of the Igbo Land Governors” also serve as conduit pipes through which public funds worth billions of naira are wasted or squandered every month using “Governors’ security votes” as a cover.”