BARELY three months into his administration in 2014, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano convoked the first Anambra State Security Summit where security experts were invited and solutions on how best to arrest the then spiking kidnapping cases and other forms of criminality were neatly knitted.
Far reaching ideas that would rout the then intractable security challenges in the state were addressed, hence the launch of security drone system, aerial surveillance, inauguration of Operation Safe Conduct, Safer Highways, Operation Kpochapu and other tactical security formations.
On August 22, 2015, Governor Willie Obiano convened the first ever South East and Delta States Security Summit with the aim of forging a common front in the fight against insecurity in the region.
The summit, which was not properly received by other South East governors then could have earlier birthed today’s ‘Ebubeagu’, with successes that would have nipped the insecurity in the region in the bud.
Obiano, a proactive administrator, was farsighted in hosting that security summit. He clearly knew that the woes of today was incubating and would manifest if not contained in the nursery.
Addressing the summit in 2015, Governor Obiano while informing the participants of the tremendous successes recorded in cleaning the Anambra streets of kidnappers, child traffickers, hardened criminals, drug lords and others, pointed out that the freedom the state enjoyed would not be complete until our neighbours began to experience a new atmosphere of liberty.
“Recent experience has shown that a security threat in one location is a security threat to the surrounding regions. So, our freedom over crime will remain incomplete, so long as the armed robbers and kidnappers we drive away from Anambra State can find safety anywhere in this region,” Governor Obiano declared.
He further charged that: “This all important conference is therefore an economic call to arms. We must all rise to wage a successful war on insecurity as a precursor to economic prosperity and greater fulfillment”.
Obiano was of the view that with a centralised coordination of security intelligence and crime fighting, the South East as a bloc would reap huge regional economic benefits and lasting peace.
About a fortnight ago, an entire state police command, custodial center were attacked in Imo State by unknown gunmen and over 1000 persons serving various jail terms and others awaiting trial were released. Imagine the release of people who were jailed for manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping and other heinous crimes? Truly, the South East has never been more threatened than now.
Following the watertight security architecture of Anambra State and retinue of endorsements from security chiefs including an IG of Police announcing Anambra State as the safest state in Nigeria, it is safe to infer that recent minor unknown gunmen attacks on a few security posts in the state is an overflow from neighboring states. Information from unconfirmed sources has it that the hoodlums drive into Anambra from nearby states and attack security personnel and go back.
It is crystal clear that some of today’s criminal activities informed the following critical questions from Governor Obiano in 2015: “How long shall the South East and Delta State and other contiguous states bear the brunt of brazen criminality and meaningless brigandage? How long shall we continue to fall to the barrel of a gun pointed at us by our own brothers, friends and kinsmen who are caught up in violent crimes?”
He went ahead to counsel thus, “our recent experience (2014-2015) has shown that any meaningful effort to address security threats will miss the target if it does not involve an entire region or an economic bloc.”
His conclusion then that “we must therefore work together to overcome the challenge of insecurity in our region” spoke to the unsettling security challenges that we are burdened with today.
Any discerning mind who monitored the South East and Delta States Security Summit will easily confirm that the South West leaders clearly copied from the Obiano model as proposed in 2015.
Had the regional security solution propounded by Governor Willie Obiano many years ago been adopted, South East would have been insulated from the barrage of bandits, hoodlums, kidnappers and unknown gunmen attacks.
No gainsaying: Governor Obiano as a seasoned investment banker sees ahead of the moment. He saw how ominous ‘tomorrow’ was and started crusading to stem the looming tide; but those who needed to heed his call for proactive stance on security and safety matters had prioritised other interests; reason the battle that would have been won with limited casualties long before now is costing the system and everyone an arm and a leg.