James Ibechi

Insecurity in Idomaland: Idoma retired Generals to the rescue

By Steve Anyebe

To say that insecurity has become the biggest issue in contemporary Nigeria, is to be too kind to the state of affairs in the largest black nation in the world. The worrisome angle is the continuous and destructive rise in the menace, leading to collateral damages in human and material terms as evidenced in political upheavals, economic disruptions, and social dislocations. All these are despite the deployment of huge resources, overt and covert, to tackle the occasioned crimes of insurgency in the North East; militancy in the South South; banditry in the North West; cattle herders attacks on farming communities in the North Central; self actualization protests in the South East and South West; as well as kidnapping, rape, armed robberies, internet crime, and ritual killings all over the the country. This relatively peaceful country has gradually turned into a theatrical stage playing out a drama of blood letting orgy in which nobody is exempted. Things have become so frightening that communities have started resorting to self defense.

It is from this background that the planned security summit being organized by the ‘League of Retired Idoma Generals (LORIG)’ must be seen as a welcome development. For one, if Generals cannot analyse security issues with the view to proferring solutions, then who else can? And, as a result of their pedigree, Governments should listen to them in matters such as this which border on life and death.

In a special invitation letter, signed by LORIG President, Rear Admiral Christopher Ehanmo, and copied to various stakeholders, the summit has the theme: ‘Security and National Development: Benue South Senatorial District in Perspective’, with the objectives of providing a forum for prominent stakeholders to articulate their views on the present vexed security challenges; identifying such challenges; and recommending achievable solutions that would compliment Government efforts aimed at eliminating the problem.
Considering the vital correlation between security and development, one could easily view the theme as very apt. Moreso that in the last few years especially, insecurity has caused so much human disasters which have greatly impeded national development as huge percentages of the federal budget are annually diverted to tackle the multifarious effects of heightened insecurity in various forms.
The choice of a reknowned Clergy from Benue State, Anglican Bishop N N Inyom of Makurdi Diocese, as the Guest Speaker in this all important event, gives further credence to the veracity of the theme. This is because the Nigerian Clergy have not only been known to speak audacious truth to authority, but have themselves been constant victims of horrendous criminal expressions, especially in Benue State. It is noteworthy to mention that Bishop Inyom is a man who knows his onions when it comes to issues of security, conflicts and peace studies. He is the author of “Conflict In The Benue Valley: A Study of The Inter And Intra Tribal Conflict Of The Tivs, Jukuns, And Kutebs 2001–2021”. He has also publised ‘A Handbook On Conflict Management, Resolution And Peace Building’. In addition, Benue State has, unfortunately but undoubtedly, become an epicenter of the cattle herders’ attacks on farmers, a situation which has rendered agricultural production greatly decimated as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps multiply by the day.
Putting Benue South Senatorial District in perspective, with regards to the effects of security challenges on national development, gives appropriate appendage to the issue as the area has had more than its fair share of the problems. And that the summit is being organized by Idoma Retired Generals, is placing round pegs in round holes. Afterall Idomaland has produced some of the most brilliant military Officers who have influenced the Nigerian journey, at various times preventing the country from disintegrating. Apart from that, Benue South presently houses the largest reserve of retired soldiers in Nigeria.

It promises to be a very interesting day of serious interrogation, critical analysis, bouyant interactions, and hopeful considerations, as the League of Retired Idoma Generals leads Idoma critical security stakeholders to Leach Hotel come 7th October, 2021 under the Chairmanship of Brig Emmanuel Ebije Ikwue(rtd), former Chief of Air Staff. His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom is expected to be the Guest of Honour. Discussants of the various insecurity factors bedeviling Idomaland would include Bishop Michael Apochi of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Maj Gen R I Adoba(rtd), AIG Wilson Inalegwu (rtd), and Hon James Oche, Executive Chairman of Ado LGC. Apart from members of LORIG, others expected at the event include the Och’Idoma 1V, HRM Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa; First, Second, and Third Class Chiefs; Local Government Chairmen; Youth and Women Leaders; Labour Unions; Security Agencies; Students; the Clergy; the Media; Volunteer Vigilace Groups; etc.

Some years ago, Idoma National Forum( now known as Ochetoha K’Idoma) also organized a similar security summit. It is difficult to assess the positive impact of the earlier summit as insecurity rather worsened afterwards. This LORIG summit must not end up like other summits organized with very good intentions to solve some problems but only ended up as mere academic exercises probably because nobody took responsibility.
‘Security is everyone’s responsibility!’

Categories: James Ibechi

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