At the recently held Southeast Governors’ Meeting in Enugu, the governors of the five Southeast states of Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States resolved, among others, to start a joint patrol of the roads in the region before December.
That resolution must have come as a huge relief to the people of the zone who have been at the receiving end of many robberies and kidnappings across the zone. Indeed, travelling in any part of the zone these days comes at great peril as criminality seems to have overwhelmed the Southeast Zone. This is despite the best efforts of individual states to halt the trend.
But many believe that this individual approach to the menace has been the reason why criminality has persisted as the hoodlums keep running from state to state while being hit. This also explains why the border areas have remained their main operational zones, with many wondering why the state governors in the zone have refused to jointly fight the hoodlums.
But with the recent resolve by the Southeast governors to launch joint patrols on the roads in the zone, many people will breathe a sigh of relief, given that the zone is gradually going the way of the North Eastern part of the country where insurgency and banditry have since overwhelmed the security apparatus of the country.
But beyond resolving to jointly fight criminality in the Southeast Zone, we make haste to urge the governors to guard against repeating the experience of the failed Eastern Security Network, ESN.
The formation of this joint security outfit was announced with a lot of fanfare and expectations were raised to high heavens, only for the project to die almost immediately on arrival due largely to lack of adequate funding. It has remained a huge embarrassment for, not just the Southeast governors, but the entire zone, especially given the seamless running of same project in the South West.
Against the backdrop of this earlier failure, it is hoped that this time around our governors will have done their home work well and thus be able to sustain this new venture.
Outside of this lies the need to make all border routes accessible, being that kidnappers and other criminals target their victims along bad roads. The Southeast governors are thus urged to pool resources to reconstruct all the failed roads in border areas and ensure that the patrol teams give priority attention to such areas.
As the yuletide period approaches fast, security must be beefed up across the zone so that those coming home for Christmas can do so safely and also move about freely during same period.