Residents of Abakaliki , the Ebonyi State capital have called on the Nigeria Police to immediately recover the weapons in possession of the now disbanded Ebubeagu militia group in Ebonyi State.
Recall that despite the initial grandstanding of the Ebonyi State government over the proscription and subsequent disbandment of the now rested Ebubeagu militia in the State, Governor David Umahi has made a U-turn and announced the disbandment of the illegal outfit.
Recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki had on Tuesday ruled that the Ebubeagu militia was illegal, unconstitutional and should be immediately disbanded.
The ruling of the court followed a suit filed by a former Deputy National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State, Mr. Abia Onyike who was abducted, tortured and was nearly killed by the militia group in November 2022.
Onyike had approached the court to challenge his illegal abduction as well as the obnoxious law establishing the militia group. Asside from ruling in favour of Mr. Onyike, the court also awarded N50 million damages in favourt of the former commissioner.
However, reacting to the ruling of the court, the state commissioner for information, Uchenna Orji had told journalists in a press conference in Abakaliki on Wednesday that the ruling of the court was “a miscarriage of justice,” and “abuse of court process.”
Mr. Orji had boasted that “the Ebubeagu security outfit numbering over four thousand are alive on their duties, their duties are still very intact and unfettered, they are still working.”
However, in apparent volte face, Governor David Umahi in a statewide broadcast on Friday announced that, “I have decided to obey the later judgment that says that Ebubeagu should not function, so for now, Ebubeagu should not function while we process the stay of execution and appeal entered at Enugu and Ebubeagu when granted will begin to function again.”
Despite the announcement that the Ebubeagu militia has been disbanded, residents of Ebonyi State are still worried that the automatic weapons that were given to the militia group may still be in their custody with its attendant security risks to the residents of the state.
An Abakaliki resident, Mr. Monday Ngele, who spoke to FACTSHEET said that “ we are worried about what those boys will do next. We heard that some of them were recruited from the prison, so what will they do now.
Another resident who didn’t want her name on print simply requested that “the police and army should arrest those boys and take away the guns from them before they pour on the street.”