First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, in his interview, speaks on insecurity in the South-East, especially the recent incidents in Anambra State where governorship election is scheduled to hold on November 6.
The insecurity in the South-East is not anything to compare with the insecurity in the North, especially in Kaduna State. The insecurity in Katsina State, Niger State and Benue State is caused by herdsmen. The insecurity in Zamfara State is also caused by herdsmen. It later extended to Ondo and Ogun States which led to the formation of Amotekun. There is insecurity all over the country. It is not limited to the South-East. It is an unpleasant development. And it is not good enough. Whether it is in North, East, West, or South, it is not good.
In the South-East, those responsible for the insecurity we are witnessing are unknown. Government is of the view that it is IPoB, but IPoB has said they are not involved. IPoB said their weapon of agitation is not violence. And many believe them because they have not been involved in violence even when they are attacked. The other form of insecurity in the South-East is caused by herdsmen. They will carry guns and lead their cattle to cause devastation, kill, maim people and rape women.
They are never arrested. And the few of them that are arrested and handed over to the police following public outcry are always released. And you see them on the streets again doing the same thing. We really want to contain insecurity in the South-East. That is the main reason I have initiated a move to bring peace to the region. And I am waiting for the reaction of everybody including the federal government. I want them to react to my move and if they react to the move, we will dig it out. I am assuring stakeholders and government that if they follow my move in the South- East, there will be peace.
Some Igbo are of the view that IPoB isn’t responsible for the killings and destruction of public infrastructures. They are accusing fifth columnist. Also, Governor Obiano accused his colleagues of sponsoring insecurity in Anambra…
There was an incident in Imo State a few days ago. The police or the Army were pursuing somebody they called unknown gunman and, in the process, they killed the man and it turned out that the man was not an unknown gunman but a DSS officer. Who are the unknown gunmen? What is happening in the South-East? That could tell you that IPoB is not involved. About the claim by the governor of Anambra State against his colleagues, that is why I said that in the course of the move I have initiated, we would find out those responsible. Dialogue is part of our programme. We would see the IPoB, government and other organizations so that we can dig out the cause. It may come from one side or the other. Insecurity may come from different sources. For example, in the West, insecurity is from many sources, not just from herdsmen. There may be many factors fueling insecurity in the South- East. It can be stopped. If there is any kind of insecurity that originates from Igboland and it is confirmed that it actually originated from Igboland, I assure them that with my position and life today in Nigeria and the respect Ndigbo have for me, all things being equal and if there is at least, elementary understanding of what they are saying, it will stop.
Also, this insecurity in the South-East is constantly being linked to IPoB because of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, but IPoB keeps distancing itself from the violence. What is your take?
I do not know about the ESN in all the South-East states. It is only in Orlu, Imo State, which is near me that we had signs of ESN operatives some time ago. Apart from that, there is no other part of the Eastern Region that I have heard about ESN. And ESN was formed to protect the Igbo communities against the invasion of cattle rearers. That is all I know about ESN.
Many are of the view that Igbo elites are not doing enough on the IPoB matter. Do you agree?
I don’t know what you call Igbo elites. Are you talking of the governors? If you are talking about the governors and politicians in power, well, I will say that if the governors and the politicians do not act the way they should act, being that they are senior citizens in these states in whom the ordinary man should listen to, the ordinary Igbo man would listen to you and I. They would take us seriously more than the governors and other politicians. The ordinary man in the street in Igboland and some states,