“We are worried that men who are commissioned to defend the people are being attacked and we are living as if we have been conquered…”
The Ebonyi State Government on Wednesday directed security agencies in the state to defend themselves and relevant facilities when attacked by gunmen.
Kenneth Ugbala, the secretary to the state government, gave the directive in Abakaliki, while briefing reporters after an enlarged state’s Security Council meeting.
Mr Ugbala said from now on, the government would shut any police station, divisional headquarters and other facilities “belonging to security agencies but destroyed by gunmen”.
“The concerned security agents would also face disciplinary measures as it is their primary responsibility to protect themselves, facilities and the citizens.
“We are worried that men who are commissioned to defend the people are being attacked and we are living as if we have been conquered,” he lamented.
Mr Ugbala said the directive was aimed at making the security agencies proactive to protect the people.
“What would be the fate of the citizens who are not trained to bear arms if security agencies are attacked?’’ he queried.
“The situation would make the society appear lawless where people would wake and do whatever they liked.”
He said in addition to bearing machetes, the various vigilance outfits to be constituted across the state would be allowed to bear dane guns.
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“This is provided under relevant laws of the state and we would not go contrary to such by allowing the vigilantes to bear sophisticated arms,” he said.
In his remarks, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, the commissioner for Border, Peace and Internal Security, said the government has realised the enormity of the task ahead and would provide necessary facilities needed by the security agencies.
“We have to determine structures which need re-roofing, fencing or total overhaul and install relevant security gadgets to ensure optimal performance,” he said.
Mr Okoro-Emegha enjoined security agencies to adhere to the government’s directive to ‘demobilise’ anyone approaching them with arms without waiting to be attacked.