AT A time when the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating, the Nigerian governments, state and federal now turn attention to Anambra to see what can be learnt from the state, which five years ago, was described as one of the most security challenged states in Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, Anambra has witnessed an unprecedented rate of kidnapping, armed robbery and other heinous crimes. Crime and criminality was at its peak. Suddenly, the state has turned the safest, most peaceful and most stable state in the country such that investors are trooping into the state in great numbers. Anambra today, is investor- friendly. Wealthy men and women who dreaded visiting their homes not only visit but also set-up lucrative businesses at home. Most firms and cottage industries in the state are doing well.
For the past five years, there has been no bank robbery in the state, despite the fact that the state is housing the largest number of banks in Nigeria, after Lagos and Rivers States.
Of course, serious crimes occur in Anambra, even in such safe places as Sweden. But what arrests attention is the speed at which the perpetrators are caught.
Obiano’s decision to strategically fight crime in the state was consequent upon his ugly experience at Upper lweka , during his National Youth Corp Service (NYSC) while trending down to Anambra from his base where he served.
According to reports, Obiano, then a corper, was robbed of his belongings at Upper Iweka when the commercial vehicle he traveled with stopped them there, just as they terrorised men and women, particularly, wealthy people in Anambra. The uncommon courage, determination and fearless nature of Obiano to sanitise the state sent shivers to the spines of these unscrupulous elements. And it is now on record that from his third month in office till date, the popular and first port of call to Anambra State from West and North zones have been profoundly sanitised. There is 24 hour security presence in the area.
Thus, one can visibly observe the synergy between members of vigilante group and the combined security of military and police in ensuring effective and efficient security in the state.
Today, the state can boast of many internal monitoring equipment situated at various points in the state to checkmate crime and criminality. The equipment are heavenly digitized and have really enhanced security operatives in virtually every nook and cranny of the state.
While disclosing the secrets behind the extraordinary performance of security men in Anambra State, the Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Creative Security, Air Vice Marshall Ben Chiobi (Rtd), described Obiano’s leadership as exemplary, adding that the state is the first to come up with the kind of surveillance gadgets in use and described Anambra as excellent in the use of surveillance system.
According to him, the secret of Anambra’s reputation as Nigeria’s safest place in the last five years is the state’s pro-active posture and community driven approach in managing security,
“The secret of our success has to do with our pro-active posture, community driven approach in managing security – leaving the Igwes and President Generals (PGs) to play their roles.”
“When the government acquired the surveillance system which is one of its kind in Africa, because it was first used in America, we trained those that will man it. By manning I mean operating security and providing security.
Chobi further revealed that despite the successes recorded by Anambra so far, the state is intensifying its security level.
He called on ndi Anambra to pay attention to whatever effort the government is making in order for them to sleep with eyes closed. That means that, if it is community policing, we should take interest on how it affects our immediate environment. We should see that we complement government efforts both at the local, down to the state level.
He also called on good spirited individuals, all markets , hotels, banks, and even worship centres to churches in the state to follow the examples of the state and install CCTV cameras, adding that when done, lives and property will be secured.
While briefing the press a number of breakthroughs by his men, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mustapha Dandura, commended Governor Obiano for inspiring security agencies to achieve higher heights
“Apart from providing over 200 well equipped vehicles to the police alone, Obiano gives them good allowances, which are paid on time. He ensures that security funds are used strictly for the purposes for which they are made.” He said.
Interaction with some members of the vigilante groups, who pleaded anonymity, revealed that the Governor Obiano- led administration has empowered them, adding that he does not joke with their welfare and that he pays them as and when due.
“ We have never had it so good until the God- sent Governor Obiano took over the mantle of leadership. He understands what it takes to secure a state; yes he really understands the great job we are doing”. They also observed that many vigilante groups are now highly coordinated. Their coordination and working with one mind have certainly helped the state to fight crime and kidnapping.
The crux of this is that with the security of the state taken to the next level via introduction of digital security equipment, improvement of welfare of combined security operative and members of Anambra Vigilante Groups by Obiano- led government and provision of sophisticated weapons, the state has witnessed profound peace and tranquility which leads to greater investment and improvement revenue generation of the state.