Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Following the high incidents of criminal activities in the area, Uturu community in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State has taken measures to bring sanity to the community.
Uturu is host to the Abia State University and Gregory University, a privately-owned tertiary institution. But the indigenes of the community believe that cosmopolitan status conferred on the community by the presence of these institutions has its negative side as Uturu continues to play host to people from different parts of Nigeria and beyond.
President General of Uturu Development Association (UDA), Hon. Emmanuel Akaeme, said that such crimes as rape, cultism, robberies, among others, have become common place because of development hence the need to checkmate the crime trend.
To this end, the community has inaugurated the Uturu Vigilante operations and charged the group to work assiduously with the police and other security agencies to make the entire Uturu community free of crimes.
Akaeme explained that the decision to inaugurate the vigilante was a resolution taken in January at a joint executive meeting of UDA with Community Development Union presidents of the 24 autonomous communities in Uturu with the backing of traditional rulers.
The vigilante made up of 48 able-bodied men was inaugurated by the Ohafia Area Commander, ACP John Akuche, who charged the vigilante members not to regard themselves as an independent security outfit. He said that the job of the vigilante was to complement the police in Isuikwuato and Abia North in general, adding that they must be must be neutral in discharging their onerous assignment of crime fighting.
ACP Akuche said that the police was desirous of working with the vigilante in pursuit of the common agenda of fighting crime, adding that the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, has directed that vigilante organisations would be harmonised and members issued with authentic identity cards.
“Don’t allow yourselves to be used as political thugs,” he warned the vigilante members, adding that they should desist from partisan politics and extortion in order to enjoy the trust of the people they serve.
In his remarks the Special Adviser to the Abia Governor on Trade and Commerce, Hon Jude Udeagbara, noted that though Abia has been ranked as the second safest state in Nigeria there is every need to not only sustain the status but also improve on it.
He said that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has therefore made security a top priority and this policy thrust has rubbed off on the state as its hitherto crime image has changed in the past three years.
Udeagbara, who is an indigene of Uturu pointed out that with the presence of ivory towers and industrial clusters the community was bound to play host to people of diverse characters, including those with criminal tendencies.
“We need more security,” he said, adding that youths should start learning skills in order to avoid the temptation of going into crime with its attendant disastrous consequences.
Earlier in his address the chairman of the occasion, Chief Gerry Azuma commended the new UDA leadership for its efforts at making Uturu for residents, noting that any community that lacks security is in serious trouble. The traditional ruler of Umunwanyi Uturu autonomous community, Eze Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya said that the inauguration of the Uturu Vigilante was a sign of enlightened leadership of UDA executives.
He called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to rescind the directive to disarm vigilante groups across the nation while calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to summon the political will to disarm the murderous Fulani herdsmen.