In this piece, IKEUGONNA ELEKE looks at the recent move by the Anambra State governor, Chief Wilie Obiano, not just to make Anambra crime free, but ensure security for states in the south east zone and Delta State their close neighbour.
Just months into his swearing in as Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano convened a security summit, in which he flew in an Israeli security expert, Moshe Keinan. The summit had all members of all the security agencies in the state and their helms man, and the agenda was to device a valid mean of fishing out all criminal elements in the state, and ensuring safety for residents of the entire state.
One and a half years into his administration, security has become one of the biggest achievement of the Anambra State governor. The security summit had given birth to the formation of Operation Kpochapu, and Igbo word which in English means; clean up, and was geared to clean up the state of all unwanted persons who have been responsible for the perpetuation of criminal activities.
The Operation Kpochapu team comprises of all security agencies in the state, including the police, Army, Navy, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Customs, and even the vigilante, among others. Their mandate was to fish out drug barons, armed robbers, kidnappers and even petty thieves and all who engage in any activity considered not to be in the positive interest of the state.
Their mission paid off greatly, and the song on the lips of every Anambra resident is that the governor has become the new messiah who has managed to keep the state safe, and devoid of the brazen robberies witnessed in the state previously, and also the kind of daylight kidnaps which the state was almost synonymous with then. But it has dawned on him that as the armed robbers leave Anambra, they take refuge in neighbouring states in the south east and also in Delta State which is the state’s neighbor just across the River Niger, and this Obiano thinks is detrimental to the growth of such states, hence the need to convene a security conference for the south east states and Delta State, and get them to replicate what he is doing in Anambra by selling some of his strategies to them.
The South East, Delta States’ security conference 2015 with the theme; Security; bedrock for governance was last weekend held at the Anambra State governor’s lodge with several personalities including five governors in attendance. The conference kicked off with host governor, Obiano welcoming guests and stating that years of successive robbery has driven investors away from the south east zone, and left constituted authorities looking on helplessly, but the time has come for all the participating states to toe the line of Anambra, hence the need to bring the states together and set a common agenda.
“We are here to ask how long we shall continue to fall to the barrel of the gun, pointed at us by our own people? Our ability to answer that question will determine how well we will live. Here in Anambra State, we have done what we should do by fighting criminals to a standstill. By doing so, we have secured the state and investors are happier coming here. We have attracted 2.4billion US dollars investments, and we have experienced liberty here, but our freedom will remain incomplete if the criminals we drive away here will find refuge in other states in the region,” Obiano said.
The visiting governors, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Prof Benard Odoh, the Secretary to Ebonyi State government who represented Governor Dave Umahi all took time to appreciate their host governor and his thoughtfulness in convening the conference. They, speaking individually agreed that security is the bed rock of good governance, and must be gotten right.
While delivering his address, the inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase commended Governor Obiano for speedily yielding to a call made by the police recently in its security conference convened in Abuja, in which he called on state governors to complement the efforts of the federal government in the provision of security. Arase said he is impressed that Obiano did not only think of securing his state, but went a step further by galvanizing governors in South East zone and Delta State too.
The conference which latter broke into an interactive session had Arase as chairman, and featured the presentation of two papers on security, all proffering solution to security challenges, and more over giving stakeholders in the zone the zone the opportunity to express their concern on security issues, while also giving tips on how security challenges could be nipped in the bud.
Chief Godwin Ezeemo, a philanthropist and business mogul, in his called for the establishment of a central information collation point. Ezeemo said the establishment of the centre will help people who are in distress call a dedicated line just the way it is done in the US, where dialing, 911 can get security operatives to the rescue of such persons. He said this will require more funds for security and a total alertness from security agencies to move immediately a call comes in.
The conference which was attended by heads of various security agencies including the Director General, Directorate of Security Services(DSS), Hauwal Musa Daura concluded that security is not only the business of government, but that all must work towards ensuring security by tendering any information that can help secure the society.
As the conference closed, there was greater awareness about security, and also the resolve to ensure that lives and properties are safe in the participating states, just as the governors of the participating states accepted that the conference will better arm them to protect their people by working in alliance with governors of their sister states.