Securing Anambra


David-Chyddy Eleke looks at the security situation in Anambra State and the measures put in place by Governor Willie Obiano to protect lives and property

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 Kennan. The summit had members of all the security agencies in the state and their helms man in attendance, and the agenda was to device a valid means of flushing out all criminal elements in the state, and ensuring safety for residents of the entire state.

Close to four years of his administration, security has become one of the biggest achievements of the Anambra State governor. The security summit had given birth to the formation of Operation Kpochapu, Igbo word which in English means; clean up, and was geared at cleaning up the state of all criminal elements who have been responsible for the perpetuation of criminal activities.

The Operation Kpochapu team comprises 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. Later, it seemed to dawn on him that as the armed robbers leave Anambra, they take refuge in neighbouring states. Obiano thought this to be 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 two years ago 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 have 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.

Obiano at the conference said, “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 2.4 billion 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 bedrock of good governance, and must be gotten right.

Two years after the Security conference, Anambra under Obiano is still known to be one of the most peaceful states, with the kind of brazen criminality witnessed in other states being almost nonexistent in Anambra today. Security has become the most visible achievement of the Anambra State Government, just as the hitherto nonexistent night life has arrived and investments popping up in diverse places.

During a recent conference of the National Association of Law Teachers (NALT), Obiano said the state has achieved security using the law, while also advising the federal government to toe the same line to be able to provide security in the country. He told Acting President Yemi Osinbajo who was honoured by the association that, “Anambra is highly regarded as the safest state in Nigeria today. Anyone who is familiar with the Anambra narrative would remember that for decades, our beloved state was held down by lawlessness and insecurity which made all efforts at meaningful development impossible. At a point, Anambra could almost pass for a postcard for disorder and insecurity. But our story has changed in just three years. We have made rapid progress from being an address for lawlessness to an oasis of peace and a destination for wise investors.

“The very fact that this prestigious association chose to host the golden anniversary edition of its annual conference in Awka underscores the importance of what we have achieved in securing Anambra State. The idea of holding this conference in this state would have been inconceivable in the past. But we have changed our story, and we did it with the law. If we can do it, then Nigeria can do it even better,” Obiano said.

Security agencies in the state have also been testifying to the support they have received from the Obiano administration to ensure that they are up to the task of securing the state. Former Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Sam Okaula who recently proceeded on retirement had in a press interview praised the Anambra State governor for acceding to the request of the command by procuring working aids for them to work with. Okaula said the successes recorded by the police in fighting crime was as a result of the support of the governor who he said has not relented in his support to them.

Recall that Anambra State governor had early in his administration procured over 100 security cars fitted with speed detector, speed gun and alcohol detector and other security gadgets for the police. He had also donated other security gadgets which include walky-talky among others. Recently too, he also donated motorbikes to the command. The new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba Umar while briefing journalists to announce his assumption of office said his predecessor, Okaula had briefed him on the governor’s support to the command, and the level of security so far achieved, while also pledging that he will work hard to ensure that the same level of peace is maintained, and even more.

In an interview on Anambra scorecard, Mr. Stanley Uzochukwu, an investor and owner of Stanel World, a 24 hours one-stop shop consisting of fuel station, eatery, farmers market and car maintenance centre among others which is yet to be officially opened, said he decided to bring home part of his investment having weighed the security in the state and found it good for investment. Uzochukwu praised Governor Obiano for the secured environment in Anambra State, saying that he believes in the governor’s campaign for indigenes of the state to think home in looking for investment destinations.