Following the gruesome killing of the people of Ukpabi-Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu by armed Fulani herdsmen last week Monday, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi convened stakeholders meeting to take far-reaching decision on security in the state.
As a result, Enugu State government, traditional rulers and Presidents-General of more than 400 Town Unions in the state yesterday rose from the crucial security meeting with far-reaching resolution.
Among the resolutions was the amendment of the law establishing the vigilante groups in the state to strengthen them and possibly enable them bear arms.
They also resolved that communities should pay security levies as counterpart contribution to support the state government in funding vigilante groups.
They also resolved “to go back to our respective communities to mobilise our people and sensitize them on the need to support the initiative of government as they relate to security of lives and property in Enugu state”.
Others are, “to ensure that we as the traditional rulers and presidents-general of the town unions, work harmoniously to ensure the success of the new initiative of government on security.
“To reassure all visitors, settlers or foreigners in Enugu of their safety and friendship of Enugu people so long as they conduct themselves in a manner that promote peace and order and refrain from acts that may truncate their peaceful coexistence with their host communities”.
The communiqué was read by the state Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who had earlier in his opening address announced government’s intention “to activate the provisions of the extant and relevant laws of Enugu State particularly, the Neigbourhood Association and Watch Groups Law 2006 which provides for the establishment and operation of neighbourhood watch associations in every autonomous community in Enugu State.”
“Though these associations have been constituted in many communities, we understand that most of them have not been functional mainly due to lack of funding and other incentives.
“It is the intention of government, particularly in the light of contemporary challenges, to reactivate and make them functional in the interest of peace and security of our people.
“Towards this end, we have scheduled to inaugurate the Board for the neighbourhood associations and we will be asking you to make inputs in relation to its composition in order to ensure adequate and fair representation of all concerned parties.
“Schedule 1 made pursuant to Section 27 of the aforesaid Law, outlines the sources for the funding of the Neighbourhood associations as follows: (a) Gifts (b) Donations from voluntary organizations, corporate institutions etc; (c) Grants and presentation from; (i) Government agencies; (ii) Individuals (iii) Residents of the neighbourhood; (d) Levies, dues, fines and subventions from Government; (e) Organized fund raising activities
“Nothwithstanding the current poor finances of Government, we are constrained by prevailing circumstances to provide an initial seed money of N100 million to support the security efforts and activities of the communities.
“In accordance with the aforesaid Section 27 of the Neighbourhood and Watch Groups Law, donations and gifts from voluntary organizations, corporate institutions and well meaning individuals and groups in support of this project, are welcome while we call on the respective communities, to also as prescribed by the Law, carry out their own fund raising ventures for the same purpose,” Governor Ugwuanyi said.