Otti faults Abia homeland security, police give backing Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

A two-time governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance in Abia State, Dr Alex Otti has called for caution against the newly created Ministry of Homeland Security in the state.

Otti in a statement by his media assistant, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, said the new arrangement was “a time bomb that must be halted.”

The statement partly read, “Our attention has been drawn to the call by the Abia State Government through the Ministry of Homeland Security inviting applications from “suitably qualified and able-bodied males and females” across the state for recruitment into the state’s Homeland Security outfit

“We would have been the first to endorse such a recruitment if the most basic fundamentals had been taken care of, but because we consider the policy as very unserious, unsound and poorly thought-out, we deem it appropriate to voice out our disapproval.

“Abia State has a security outfit established by an Act of the Abia State House of Assembly.

“The outfit known as the Abia State Vigilante Services exists to complement national security agencies, especially the police, in fighting crimes in Abia.”

Oti said the welfare of  members of the Abia vigilante had been so ignored that many members of the group had resorted to molesting and extorting money from innocent citizens, especially traders in Aba for survival.

It added, “Our question, therefore, is, how can a government that has failed to take care of the welfare of her already existing security outfit embark on the creation of another security outfit, as well as recruitment of individuals into same agency with zero structures and no defined welfare package?

“We want to unequivocally condemn Ikpeazu’s penchant for creating inconsequential agencies and offices, and appointing individuals without real job descriptions for political exigencies.”

Oti called on the government to halt the exercise, carry out a very intensive consultation and put the necessary institutional mechanism and welfare packages in place before coming up with such programme.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ene Okon, however, said the government had been consulting the police since the Ministry of Homeland security was established.

Okon said, “Security is not a one-man business; the duty of the police is to protect lives and property and ensure law and order in the state, but that doesn’t preclude the state or communities in the state from coming up with concepts that can help in policing the state properly, especially in the area of information gathering.

“What the state government is doing to the best of my knowledge is just to add to the policing efforts of the Nigeria Police Force in the state.

“The idea behind that government concept is to raise people that will be assisting the police in information gathering from the grass roots, not that they are setting up a different security outfit entirely.

That is why the Government has promised us that after recruiting the people that will work in the ministry of homeland security, they will forward the names to us to further screen and profiling to ensure that doubtful characters are not included in the outfit.

"Besides the training of the people that will be selected will be done by the Poilce, already the governor has contacted us to make a provision for their training in a near training college in Imo state".

Copyright PUNCH.

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