The Ebonyi Government says it will launch a massive war against cultism in August in order to rid the state entirely of cultists.
Gov. David Umahi said this on Tuesday in Abakaliki during the launch of the state’s new security outfit, codenamed ‘Neigbourhood watch’.
According to Umahi, the onslaught will be devastating as it will not spare cult members whether in government circles or other sectors of the state.
“We have compiled the names of individuals in the state’s governance who have decided to remain, cultists, including those in the House of Assembly and other places.
“We would identify, publicly disgrace and prosecute them as I am constructing new prison buildings to give those of high calibre decent accommodation,” he said.
The governor urged members of the new security outfit to desist from drinking inside bars or other drinking joints, noting that it constituted an offence to do so.
“You should go to your house to drink if you wish to do so and if you take the job seriously, the state government would take you seriously and enhance your welfare,” he said.
Umahi also charged members of the outfit to be careful and accurate in relaying information to security agencies in the state, which he said, was part of their mandate.
“When you blow the whistle and it did not catch anything, we would catch you as you should then be sure that the whistle would catch something when blown,” he said.
The governor called for a law in the state which would stipulate stiffer punishment for those in charge of security that conversely engaged in crime.
“The state Attorney General should infuse one in the miscellaneous offences law if it is non-existent because the neighbourhood watch position should not be used to intimidate anybody.
“The position should not be used as a political tool to intimidate or victimise people or trample on their rights, especially widows,” he said.
Dr Kenneth Ugballah, the governor’s Senior Special Adviser on Internal Security, who is to coordinate the outfit, thanked Umahi for the initiative and support in realising it.
“We selected, screened and trained the security outfit’s members in collaboration with relevant security agencies in the state, to ensure optimum service delivery.
“We promise to operate within the ambit of the law and contribute our quota to ensuring that crime is reduced to the barest minimum in the state,” Ugballa said.
Chief Solomon Okoronkwo, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, noted that his ministry had donated several buses and motorcycles to the outfit, to make its duty easier.
Goodwill messages were delivered at the occasion by the Ebonyi House of Assembly, the state Elders Council and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, among others.
The governor inspected a guard of honour mounted by the security outfit and distributed the buses and motorcycles procured for use by the outfit.
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