The House of Representatives, on Thursday, urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate the activities of armed militia in Ebonyi State as well as expressed grave concern over the activities of armed militia in Ebonyi State.
The lawmakers expressed concern during the debate on a motion of urgent public importance on the ‘Urgent need to stop the deteriorating security situation in Ebonyi State,’ sponsored by the Ebonyi caucus, namely: Hon Igariwey Enwo Iduma (PDP, Ebonyi), Hon. Ogbaga Sylvester, Hon. Nwazuku Chukwuma, Hon. Edwin Anayo and Hon Makwe Livinus Makwe.
In his lead debate, Hon Igariwey who alleged that the armed militia was set up by the State government, observed that the group is unleashing terror on citizens.
While expressing displeasure over the prevailing security situation in the state, the lawmaker argued that things have taken a turn for the worse since the introduction of the armed militia called ‘Ebubeagu’.
He also lamented how these militiamen are also being used by influential individuals to harass perceived political enemies.
“The House is concerned that members of this militia are armed with AK-47, AK-49, pump-action guns, axes and machetes and other dangerous weapons, without any professional training on the use and deployment of such weapons.”
Piqued by the allegation, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said: “Does that have the colour of state? Are you sure this is by the state?”
In his response, Hon. Igariwey said: “Yes, the state actually set up this. We are aware that members of this armed militia sometimes wear masks to cover their faces, mount roadblocks in various parts of the states, creating fear in the minds of citizens who often mistake them for armed robbers.
“The House is concerned that members of this militia have no known rules of engagement and have become willing tools for all sorts of nefarious activities, ranging from debt collection, illegal arrests, assaults, torture and assassinations.
“The House is further concerned that this armed militia group was said to have detention facilities where victims are kept and tortured.
‘The House is cognizant that their activities of the Ebubeagu militia group is gravely interfering with and jeopardising operational activities of the regular security agencies such as the Nigeria Police, Civil Defence.
“The House is aware that within this week, specifically two days ago, the same Ebebeagu militia group has been hunting to arrest and probably harmed a former member of this House, Hon Linus Okorie, even when he did not commit any offence. He has been declared wanted and he has been hiding from one place to the other.”
According to him, “in the past few weeks, innocent citizens have been attacked and some killed in cold blood by the Ebubeagu militia such as the recent killing of Nnaugo Akpoke Ani Anyim in Akaeze, Ivo Local Government Area; Ele Ama and Eric Ukpai from Akpoha in Afikpo-North Local Government Area; and Phillips Nworogbo from Amegu Izzi in Abakaliki Local Government Area who was shot by Ebubeagu and later had his limbs amputated; while others such as Chika Nwoba and Ibiam Ibiam Jnr. have been assaulted, dehumanised and tortured.
“The House is worried that unless urgent steps are taken by the federal authorities, there might be complete breakdown of law and order in Ebonyi State, as armed Ebubeagu members continue their reign of terror on Ebonyi citizens while individuals, groups and communities prepare to defend themselves in reprisal attacks,” he noted.
In his ruling, Hon. Gbajabiamila mandated the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mr Ben Akabueze to make sure the resolution goes out to the Inspector of Police immediately.
In the bid to address the challenge, the House urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate all the reported attacks and killings in Ebonyi State by the Ebubeagu militia.
The House also tasked the office of National Security and Intelligence to investigate the status of the authorisation of the various weapons such as pump action guns, AK-47 and other automatic weapons which are freely in use by the Ebubeagu militia in Ebonyi State.
To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Police Affairs, and National Security and Intelligence to ensure compliance.
Reps ask IGP to probe activities of armed militia in Ebonyi