Dave Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi has stated that Igbo Youths from the South East were responsible for the increased attacks on government facilities and personnel in the state.
Umahi made this revelation on Tuesday while speaking on Channels TV magazine programme, Sunrise Daily.
Umahi in his remarks said: “From what is happening in Ebonyi State, where the youth go to attack the Army, the Police, burn down INEC offices when these people confront the security agencies, they kill the security agents; sometimes the security agents will kill.
“We profiled them and saw that they were not unknown gunmen. They are our brothers, mainly from the South-East, most of them from Ebonyi State. They are never outside the country.”
He frowned at labelling gun-wielding criminals in the state as ‘unknown gunmen.’
“In Ebonyi State, they are known; (they are) our youths,” he stated.
As part of efforts to address youth grievances in the state, Umahi said his administration came up with different programmes to engage the youth.
According to him, the state government will absorb three thousand youths into the state civil service.
He said his government would announce job vacancies in different sectors in the state.
Umahi, who recently defected from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), lamented that many criminals such as cultists, armed robbers were joining aggrieved youths in the state to perpetrate crime.
“Let our people come out to speak out that the unknown gunmen are not unknown gunmen. They are our young men and women who will defend our land tomorrow. They should stop being killed. They should stop giving themselves to be killed.”
The governor noted that two factors were responsible for the ongoing assaults in the region. He said young people were being brainwashed, while some others consulted magicians and herbalists to seek charms to protect them against bullets of security agencies.
He lauded security agents in the state and dismissed possible human rights abuses when the officers engaged ‘criminals’.
He said the security agents had been targets of attacks even when they were not running after criminals.
“They have such courage to come to the police station, go to military check-point, and they will be killing them. They (security agents) have to return fire for fire…I am happy with security agents in my state,” he said.
The governor, however, gave assurance that there would be no more herders attack on the people of Ebonyi State.
He urged the people of Benue State and other states experiencing frequent attacks to defend themselves. “If you don’t defend yourselves, you will continue to blame the president. The killing will continue. Until you make up your mind with your people to defend yourself, the killing will continue. We’ve made up our minds to defend ourselves.”