SEVERAL decades ago, Anambra was known for disorder and insecurity. A state where residents could not sleep with two eyes closed, a safe haven for kidnappers who prowled the state in search of their targets, a state where child traffickers, ritual killers as well as drug dealers had their field day. Consequently,
Anambra witnessed drought in investment and many prominent indigenes of the state hardly returned home for the funeral of their relatives, traditional marriages and other religious or socio-cultural activities. But currently, the story has changed to the positive. Anambra has advanced immensely in the area of security due to some critical steps Governor Willie Obiano led administration took from the inception in March 2014 in confrontal response to the high level of insecurity it met on ground.
The low level of violence recorded in the state during the last general election is evident of the success of those security initiatives.
As the nation prepared for the general elections, apprehension grew thicker that Anambra State would be among the major flash points of electoral crises. The election has come and gone and the widest expectation of insecurity and violence was least experienced in the state. Unlike what happened in Rivers, Ebonyi, Imo, Lagos and some other states where blood of citizens flowed the streets.
The reasons for experiencing lesser violence in the state were not far-fetched. Experts say it is because of the attitude of state government towards crime which has been the hallmark since Obian’s emergence. During the hand -over ceremony in 2014 Governor Obiano said that his administration will not relent or compromise on security of the state and emphasised that under his watch, no Nigerian or Anambra State indigene will suffer the risk of avoidable deaths. Under his watch, Anambra has witnessed massive turnaround from what it used to be and peoples’ perception of the state had equally changed. Obiano’s magic wand in security began to manifest in 2014 when he hosted a South East and South South regional security summits which came up with a blue print to bring violent crimes and criminality to the barest minimum in the zones.
But prior to the regional summit, he had launched a joint task force on security known as Operation Kpochapu with a provision of 150 trucks to the police, 10 trucks to the Army, five to the Navy and two to NDLEA. The governor conducted a state-wide enumeration of all the trouble-spots and erected security tents on those locations with sandbags manned by well-equipped and motivated policemen.
He equally created synergy amongst the security agencies, equipping them with state of the art equipment. He marched onslaught against kidnappers by demolishing buildings used as hideouts for kidnaping and armed robbery activities.
Gov. Obiano in his message, pointed out that the measures did not only restore security but also helped repair the state’s damaged public image and gave her a positive reputation which in turn encouraged investors to start seeking opportunities. However, the governor who has won several awards for making Anambra the safest state, emphasized, “Anambra is highly regarded as the safest state in Nigeria today. Anyone who knows the history of the state would remember that for decades, the state was held down by lawlessness and insecurity which made all efforts geared at providing meaningful development impossible. But our story has changed in just less than five years. We have made rapid progress from being addressed as lawless state to an oasis of peace and a destination for wise investors.”
Another major feat was the procurement of more gadgets to assist the agencies. He also donated a gunboat to the Navy and 25 Smart-cars to the Police. In addition, the governor launched occasional helicopter surveillance across the state’s skies. The chopper team hovers up in the clouds, scanning the ground below and feeding their colleagues in the Smart-cars with vital information that keeps criminals on their toes. With these efforts, Anambra is firmly protected in the skies, on the ground and even in the waters.
No wonder the governor commended the security agencies for partnering with the state in delivering a crime free Anambra. He noted that he remained awake so that ndi Anambra can sleep with their two eyes closed. According to him, security is not a one-off project, saying that his government will continue to sustain the tempo and improve upon the security of lives and property.
The governor added another feather to his cap when he approved the installation of street lights to beef up security and enhance surveillance in the state. Inaugurating the project, he disclosed that the project is part of the 176 kilometers of street lighting project which his administration is executing across the state, out of which about 76kilometers have been covered already. The governor also revealed that his government targets to install the street lights from Amansea boundary to Bridgehead, Onitsha. Moreso, the stretch from Revenue House Agu-Awka through the three bridges along the Enugu, Onitsha expressway down to Amawbia had been completed which gave the state capital a befitting look.
Aside the potentials of the project to create the infrastructure that will beautify the state and make her more attractive to investors, his administration aimed to use the project to improve nightlife and banish violent crimes in the state permanently.
The state’s Head of Service, Harry Uduh attested to this when he disclosed that state government deemed it fit to provide more street lights to illuminate every nook and cranny of the state as government does not intend to lose any citizen on account of bad roads and total darkness in some parts of the state. The lighting project on the stretch along the Zik Avenue through the Onitsha old road covered 150 poles of LED light bulbs with spacing of about thirty to forty meters.
The project is to be powered through the national grid and with gas. “In all these laudable achievements, adequate resources were used to train and equip the security formations and that is why Anambra is the safest state in Nigeria,” Uduh concluded.