The Ebonyi State Government has called on security agencies and other relevant authorities in the state to ensure strict enforcement of the law banning open grazing and movement of cows within the state.
The directive was handed down to the security agencies by the Secretary to the State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, while briefing journalists, after an expanded security meeting at the Executive Council Chambers, Old Government House, Abakaliki, on Wednesday.
Ugbala, who maintained that the state government would not go back on the ban on open grazing and movement of cows in the state, noted that the enforcement became necessary to ensure that the law was not violated.
On the proposed formation of new vigilante groups numbering over 1,000 in the 13 local government areas of the state, the SSG noted that the state would not go beyond the provision of the law establishing the group, adding that the group would work in synergy with the police to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry.
According to him, each community was expected to have at least five vigilante groups which bring the number to 700, while 300 will be deployed to the capital city.
“They will be responsible outside our normal community vigilantes that have always been our traditional way of safeguarding our people which the government encouraged that all the villages and communities should set up their own vigilante,” Ugbala said.
Ugbala said the council frowned on the level of extortion by security agencies in the state and directed motorists and other road users to resist any extortion or illegal collection of money, as that would reduce such pressure on motorists.
He said, “On the attacks on police divisions, the SSG said the Council resolved that the police in Ebonyi State and other security agencies should do their best to protect their police stations,” adding that “any police station that allows the division or area command to be attacked, government will have no option than to allow such division or command to be closed down.
“Our reason is that the security agencies have the primary responsibility of protecting not only their stations or personnel working with them, but our citizens. But where they cannot even protect themselves, it is a big problem because they are trained for that.”