The House of Representatives has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to investigate and prosecute operatives of a zonal security outfit in the South-East, Ebubeagu, in Ebonyi State, who have been accused of killings and other crimes.
Members of the House from the state jointly sponsored a motion moved at the plenary on Thursday to accuse the state government of arming operatives of Ebubeagu, which they described as a militia group.
The sponsors are Igariwey Iduma, Sylvester Ogbaga, Nwazuku Chukwuma, Edwin Anayo and Livinus Makwe.
Moving the motion titled ‘The Urgent Need to Stop the Deteriorating Security Situation in Ebonyi State,’ on behalf of others, Iduma said in Ebonyi, “the security situation appears to have taken a turn for the worse with the introduction by state government of an armed militia called Ebubeagu.”
He added, “The House is concerned that members of this militia are armed with AK-47, AK-49, pump action guns, axes and machetes and other dangerous weapons, without any professional training on the use and deployment of such weapons.”
Shocked by the allegation, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, interjected the lawmaker, asking, “Does that have the colour of state? Are you sure this is by the state?”
Responding, Iduma said, “Yes, the state actually set up this.”The lawmaker continued, “The House is are aware that members of these armed militia sometimes wear masks to cover their faces, mount road blocks in various parts of the states, creating fear in the minds of citizens who often mistakes them for armed robbers.
“The House is concerned that members of this militia have no known rules of engagement and have become willing tools for all sorts of nefarious activities, ranging from debt collection, illegal arrests, assaults, torture and assassinations.
“The House is further concerned that this armed militia group was said to have detention facilities where victims are kept and tortured.”
The lawmaker said activities of Ebubeagu are “gravely interfering with and jeopardising” the operations of the regular security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Iduma added, “The House is aware that within this week, specifically two days ago, the same Ebebeagu militia group has been hunting to arrest and probably harm a former member of this House, Linus Okorie, even when he did not commit any offence. He has been declared wanted and he has been hiding from one place to the other.
“The House is further aware that in the past few weeks, innocent citizens have been attacked and some killed in cold blood by the Ebubeagu militia such as the recent killing of Nnaugo Anyim in Akaeze, Ivo Local Government Area; Ele Ama and Eric Ukpai from Akpoha in Afikpo-North Local Government Area; and Phillips Nworogbo from Amegu Izzi in Abakaliki Local Government Area who was shot by Ebubeagu and later had his limbs amputated; while others such as Chika Nwoba and Ibiam Ibiam Jnr. have been assaulted, dehumanised and tortured.
“The House is worried that unless urgent steps are taken by the federal authorities, there might be complete breakdown of law and order in Ebonyi State, as armed Ebubeagu members continue their reign of terror on Ebonyi citizens, while individuals, groups and communities prepare to defend themselves in reprisal attacks.”
Adopting the motion unanimously, the House urged the IGP to “investigate all the reported attacks and killings in Ebonyi State by the Ebubeagu militia.”
The House also urged the Office of National Security Adviser to “investigate the status of the authorisation of the various weapons such as pump action guns, AK-47 and other automatic weapons which are freely in use by the Ebubeagu militia in Ebonyi State.”
Furthermore, the House mandated its Committee on Police Affairs; and National Security and Intelligence to ensure compliance with the resolutions.
After the lawmakers adopted the motion, Gbajabiamila said, “Clerk, make sure the resolution goes out to the IG of Police immediately.”
The Ebonyi State Government had on Tuesday declared a former two-term member of the House, Okorie, wanted over an alleged inciting Facebook publication.
The state chapter of the PDP had also accused the Dave Umahi- led state government of using Ebubeagu to terrorise residents of the state.