Southeast Youth Leader of the APC, Mr Okenwa Uka, says the militarization of the zone was not the solution to security challenges in the region.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abakaliki that the deployment of troops in the region was capable of worsening the problem.
He suggested that dialogue and intelligence gathering would be a better alternative.
“I think that militarisation of the zone is not the best approach to solving the menace because when you militarise the region, it will look as if there is a declaration of a state of emergency.
“In a state of emergency, everybody lives in fear; they are traumatized just as the innocent become victims of crime.
“I suggest improved surveillance by a joint security team comprising the military, the police, the Department of State Security and paramilitary organizations, anchored on well-coordinated intelligence gathering,’’ Uka said.
He argued that deployment of intelligence in the fight against insecurity and armed agitations would spur citizens to volunteer information to security operatives unhindered.
“Intelligence gathering will make the people come out on their own and give vital information on perpetrators of crime so that such people can be apprehended,’’ he added.
Uka expressed regret that hoodlums took advantage of agitations by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and other separatist groups in the region to perpetrate heinous crimes.
“There is the need for dialogue. We need to talk to ourselves and speak to our consciences because this is not the way we are made.
“In the Southeast, people have respect for law and constituted authorities and we are not known for engaging in acts of vandalism, destruction of lives and property.
“If we engage in dialogue, the government would be able to separate groups with genuine agitations from criminals who are out to kill and destroy public facilities and this is the way to handle the problem,’’ he said.
Uka said the time had come for everybody, including traditional rulers, the intelligentsia, youths, market women, and the Church to come together to find solutions to the lingering security menace in the Southeast.
He also suggested that cattle ranching would put an end to incessant clashes between herders and farmers.
“Ranching has been suggested by the Federal Government and I believe that this system will help to stem constant frictions between the two groups,’’ Uka stressed.
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