THE security situation of the South East was the crux of a marathon meeting of the South East Governors Forum (SEGF), with the immediate plan to establish forest guards across the five states and all the council areas in the South East geopolitical zone.
Briefing journalists Sunday, after the meeting at the Government House, Enugu, the Chairman of SEGF and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, said that the decision was reached after an extensive review of the security situation in the zone.
Among the resolutions of the governors at the meeting, were to key into the community policing programme of the Federal Government and the setting up of a committee as well as center for South East integrated security monitoring and intelligence gathering. The Centre will be located in Enugu.
Announcing the other immediate measures the Forum has resolved to adopt to enhance security, Umahi explained that the each state would soon commence the clearing of bushes along all major roads in the zone up to 50 metres from the threshold of the roads to enhance visibility and security.
He stated: “The SEGF security committee would protect all fuel pipe line routes in the zone/Enugu NNPC depot to ensure that the Enugu depot resumes operations in the shortest time.
“We the South East Governors have reviewed the security situations in the zone and in response to the security challenges have decided to set up committee and center for South east integrated security monitoring/ intelligent gathering to be centrally located here in Enugu.
While maintaining their position on the controversial issue of RUGA, that the zone has no land for the programme, they assessed the comparative advantages of agriculture in the South East and agreed to pull resources to find those interested in rice farming, cassava farming, cow rearing, piggery, goat rearing, poultry, fishery and other cash crops could grow in the zone.
The SEGF commended Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his efforts towards ensuring effective operation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
Umahi, stated that the governors “are highly concerned about the deplorable condition of the airport runway and we plead with the Federal Government to consider our numerous requests in reconstructing the runway to enhance the safety of our people.
“The federal roads are almost cut off and movement on them is almost impossible; so we ask the Federal Government to engage in reconstruction of these roads and as well expedite action on the ones they are already doing to see to their completion to enhance movement of our people.
“The Federal Government should take more meaningful actions on the Enugu-Onitsha road, Enugu-Port Harcourt road, Owerri -Onitsha road, Okigwe-Owerri road, Owerri-Umuahia road.
“We commend the Federal Government for the progress that is being made on the second Niger bridge. We commend the Chief of Staff who sends us progress report on the project on weeklt basis.
“We further note that Enugu Anambra and Ebonyi have abundant oil and gas reserves which have not been fully explored.
“The forum therefore called on the Federal Government to show commitment and commence intensive exploration and development of oil and gas reserves in those areas in the South East.”
Present at the meeting were the governors of Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia states while the governors of Anambra and Imo states were represented by their deputies.