By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
“Security of lives and property is of great importance to me and will be reflected in our coming actions and policies. My administration will continue to provide necessary support to the security agencies to sustain and uphold the current peaceful atmosphere”.- Gov. Ikpeazu.
The above words by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu during his maiden address on May 29 at Umuahia Township stadium indicate that security is central to the policies of his administration and would not be relegated to the background.
Ikpeazu on another instance had assured Abians of strengthening the existing security situation in the state, and continuous support to the law enforcement agencies to improve and sustain a more efficient incident response time and introduce contemporary technology-based solutions to assist in the enhancement of Security.
Before the emergence of the governor on May 29, there was resurgence of criminality, especially kidnapping in the state, which Aba, the commercial hub was worst hit.
Indeed, as Gov. Ikpeazu had earlier promised, security of lives and property in the state has been reflecting in the government’s action and programmes. Part of the actions was the restoration of military roadblocks in the state to ensure kidnappers and other criminals did not take undue advantage of the exit of the military to resume their nefarious activities .
Shortly after the restoration of military checkpoints, another stride was added to the government’s efforts to ensure that Abians go to sleep with both eyes closed. A special security operational centre has been established in Aba with open security phone lines to be used at the collation centre.
Establishment of the centre came on the heels of the launching of a special security outfit, comprising army, police, and SSS to check insecurity, especially kidnapping in the state. Members of the public were by the statement encouraged to make use of the numbers in giving useful information that will aid the security agencies in the fight against the crime of kidnapping and other offences.
The latest effort by Abia State Government is the re-enforcement of the order that banned commercial motorcyclists from operating within Aba and Umuahia metropolis. This order now restricts the operations of the motorcyclists to the outskirts and the communities.
The order is accompanied by the regulation that restricts tricycle operators to operate beyond 7pm.The order was borne out of security reports which reveal that the hoodlums operate with motorcycles and tricycles.
It will be recalled that between 2007 and 2010 that a gang of criminals seized Abia State, especially Aba, the commercial-hub of the state. They made Aba their operational base, and the city became unsafe as kidnappers, rapists,armed robbers, oil thieves, cultist, and sundry criminals unleashed a reign of terror.
The activities took a huge toll on the economy of the state as banks and public commercial operators were forced to close shops .The situation also forced residents to flee the state enmasse. Also, prospective local and foreign investors were stiffly scared.
For a state striving to achieve N1.5billion monthly internally-generated revenue benchmark, security is non- negotiable. On the other hand, security of lives and property becomes necessary in this administration’s journey to upgrade the state to a Small and Medium Scale (SME) capital in the country.
“Security, they say,”is a everybody’s business”. Therefore as the government does its bit in ensuring security of lives and property of the residents, individuals are saddled with some responsibilities to volunteer useful information to security agencies.
On the other hand, security agencies should improve their operations by swift response to distress. They also owe the public the duty to protect their sources of information. By so doing, the public’s confidence that was once lost would be restored. And more importantly, there should be stronger collaboration among the security agencies in the state.
Abia cannot achieve its journey to economic hub in the country without adequate security. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to assist Gov. Ikpeazu in this journey.
Ukegbu, a public affairs analyst wrote in this piece from Umuahia, Abia State.