Ebonyi govt sets up panel to investigate alleged release of 55 militias


By Victor Nwegede

Following the normalcy gradually returning to Effium war-torn community, the Ebonyi State Government on Thursday expressed anger over the alleged release of the 55 suspected militias hired to continue causing mayhems in the crisis zone.

The state government has set up panel of inquiry under the chairmanship of Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha, the Ebonyi Commissioner for Internal Security, Border Peace and Conflict Resolution to do a comprehensive investigation on the development.

NATIONAL PANEL gathered that not less than 66 hired mercenaries were arrested by joint security operatives in connection with the Effium community crisis, but 55 of the militias escaped on account of unauthorized release by the Ebonyi State Police Command.

The development had degenerated reactions and counter reactions of the concern public from different quarters in the state. 

But the Secretary to the State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, Chief Kenneth Igwe Ugbala, in a briefing with Journalists on the outcome of the state executive council meeting, Thursday, 15th of April , 2021, at the old Government House,  Abakaliki, disclosed the sad feelings of the state government about the matter.

Ugbala said that Ebonyi government had frowned at the actions of the Police and however, set up a committee to investigate and report to the state executive council concerning the missing suspected militias, towards restoring confidence in the system and to return absolute peace in the area. 

According to the SSG, "the council frowned at the unauthorized release of some people that were arrested last two weeks, in connection with Effium crisis, and directed that a committee to be headed by Internal Security Commissioner should investigate such unauthorized release.

"It is because we heard that there are some people that were arrested and subsequently, some of them were unauthorized released. Council was disturbed about the release, and set up a committee to be headed by Commissioner for Internal Security, to investigate and report back to council, in our next security meeting."

He added: "Last week, a lot of press people confronted us, on the issue of those that were arrested and suddenly disappeared, and we were not ready to dive into a matter that is already before the security agencies as a government, because we know the security agencies will carry out the investigation on whatever happened and report back to government.

"But today, government requested this investigation because there are similar questions to know the level of investigation concerning the issue, and the report we are getting is not in line with our expectations; that was why the government frowned at it,  and since we are not getting the required results concerning that action by the security agencies, the council set up the committee to look into it and report to us."

Ugbala noted that government is interested on the matter, though under investigation, saying failure to do the needful would sabotage the peace processes going on in the area. He warned against spreading of  unverified information on social media and stated that the state government directed for the arrest and prosecution of the defaulters. Recall that the state executive council has equally asked the residents of Effium crisis community to relocate to their various homes, assuring them of adequate security especially in Nwekendiegu, Akparata and Effium town considered to be most peaceful currently.

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