INSECURITY: ANAMBRA GOES DIGITAL

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The Anambra government’s efforts to secure the state is praiseworthy, writes Sonnie Ekwowusi

Aneke the bird says that since men have leant to shoot without missing he has learnt to fly without perching. In the same vein, since the kidnappers, killer herdsmen, hired assassins, street urchin terrorists, evil men and spoilsports (hereinafter simply referred to as “criminals”) operating in Anambra State have learnt to hide in the bushes or prowl at street corners or lay siege to the expressways in order to catch their victims and snuff life off them, the Anambra State government had on Friday, October 11 launched the super smart mobile surveillance system (MSS) ( Operation Kpochapu:, Operation Wipe Out Crime) in Anambra in order to capture criminals operating in Anambra and deal with them. By way of digression, these are difficult times for Governor Obiano. No sooner had he finished launching the MSS than two major fire outbreaks occurred in the commercial city of Onitsha killing several persons and gutting property worth billions of naira.

Governor Obiano’s MSS is aimed at monitoring and tracking down criminals in Anambra and bringing them to justice. The MSS, I gather, is the first of its kind in Africa. Presently it has been installed only in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha. It is hoped that it would be installed in all urban and rural areas in Anambra in due course.

With the MSS efficiently working in Anambra, we shall hold our hands and decree through the Almighty Name of Jesus that all the criminals and principalities of this world killing, maiming, abducting Anambra people, or, stealing or sabotaging their concerted efforts or setting ablaze their property should be banished forever. We pray that in the forth-coming Christmas, and, in fact, at all times, all Anambrarians shall travel to and fro their respective country homes without encountering criminals or the evil ones on the highways or anywhere at all. Amen! Kpo ya Chukwu no oga za, Kpo ya Chukwu no oga za e e e. Messiah onye obi oma…

It stands to reason. The raison d’être of government is mainly the protection of life and property of the citizenry. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defence against kidnappers, Fulani herdsmen killers, bodily harm, theft and involuntary slavery. It is sad that a lot of people in Nigeria are yet to come to terms with the aforesaid function of government. Many Nigerians still erroneously believe that the people in power are doing the people a favour and therefore the people should be grateful to them. People who hold this erroneous view are just content with eating the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. They forget that political power (or political sovereignty) truly belongs to the people. They forget that government exercises political power on behalf of the people, and, by so doing is answerable and accountable to the people.

In all my years at the Leadership Institute, Arlington Virginia, Washington D.C, United States, our lecturers spared no word in making us understand that the proper role of government is protection of the people against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of freedom at the hands of criminals or terrorists or oppressors of the people. We were taught that government is instituted among men to secure their rights foremost of which is right to protection of lives and property. We were made to understand that national security is the first priority of any government. In fact, a government which cannot protect the lives and property of its citizens is a failed government. Little wonder the framers of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution provided in section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Essentially, protection of lives and property is the first requirement of self-sufficiency. If a government cannot protect lives and property of the citizenry then it has failed in everything. You cannot be talking about the “next level” when you have failed woefully in the first level-protection of lives and property.

Let’s face it: the insecurity of lives and property in Nigeria has dented Nigeria’s international image beyond repair. It is because of the pervasive insecurity of lives and property that many multinationals have fled Nigeria. Others which earlier contemplated coming to invest had given up the idea. National interest is a matter of the greatest prudence. In fact the concept of national interest follows from the primary obligation of the government to put the interests of the people above personal interests. This is especially the case in a representative democracy like ours in which the elected leaders have the obligation to act in the best interests of the people they purport to represent and whose behalf they exercise power. The first obligation of any government in Nigeria at the moment, in my view, is the protection of the lives and property of the people.

Therefore the Anambra MSS is praiseworthy. Kudos to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State. Kudos to Anambra State security apparatus poised to make the new digital security work. As we earlier observed, first things first. Protection of life and property comes first. You cannot be wasting your time day-dreaming of how to go to the moon when you cannot protect the lives and property of your citizens. Note that the Anambra MSS is the same one the American FBI used in tracking down 2013 Boston Marathon bombers.

Therefore with the MSS, Anambra is the cynosure of eyes at the moment. Cynics are waiting to see how Governor Obiano will miraculously curb crimes in Anambra with the MSS. That is why Obiano should demonstrate that the MSS is not a cheap political campaign to win cheap popularity. And the only way he can do this is to ensure that the MSS yields the expected results.