•Okorocha presses for relocation of Owerri Prisons
Members of the Imo State Security Council rose from a meeting yesterday and agreed to adopt whistle-blower policy to fight crimes in the state.
This they said would assist in fishing out criminals in the land , while charging traditional rulers in whose communities the new cargo airport is located to also ensure adequate security around the airport which is about to take off.
Governor Rochas Okorocha who briefed Government House Correspondents after the meeting which held at the Government House, Owerri also lamented the Owerri Prison congestion as well as its location.
‘The site is bad, just oppositethe Government House. We are concerned with the number of inmates in the prison without adequate facilities”, he said.
According to him, “the council is therefore calling on the Federal Government to do something as quickly as possible to relocate the Owerri Prison from where it is now to a suitable place for the purpose of ensuring that we don’t have a jail break in the state.
The judiciary also requires a lot of renovations and personnel to dispense justice speedily. This will equally help in decongesting the prisons. The government has therefore declared a State of emergency on judicial infrastructure”.
He continued “we have also noticed with dismay the rising spate of cultism which is among university students and secondary schools. We have taken decision to review the laws in this regard and make it more punitive for offenders.
According to him, ‘‘the state House of Assembly will take this up to make the appropriate laws to check the menace of cultism in our state”.
“We have noticed few cases of kidnapping suspects coming from Ngor-Okpala area. The security agencies are carefully watching the development in those places with a view to making sure that it does not rear its ugly head again”.
The governor further said: “we have also noticed that some Chinese individuals and companies are in the state engaging in illegal timber business, cutting trees in the state.
“This is not with the consent of the Imo State government. That act is hereby condemned.
“We have advised traditional rulers and State Development Council (SDC) members to be on guard and report anybody cutting timbers and trees in the state without approval by relevant government authorities.
“We have also realized that there are a lot of people collecting illegal taxes in the state with fake receipts and uniforms and act as agencies of the state, extorting money from innocent citizens.
“We have frowned at this and has directed the Civil Defence to work with the relevant government agencies to bring this to a stop. Anybody arrested in this regard will be dealt with according to the law”, he stated.
He also revealed that the state government had also approved the establishment of a security trust fund and security public relations department.
‘‘This will enable us ensure proper funding of the security sector because government alone can no longer handle the burden of funding the security agencies.
“With this, we are calling on all stakeholders and all good spirited individuals to key into this laudable programme of the government, the deputy governor will chair the program”.
Okorocha said the council has embarked on review and completion of lists of suspected criminals in all communities in the state.
‘‘The affected individuals will be invited to a meeting with security agencies. This is in our bid to put up a prevention of crime rather than fighting crime,” he stated.
He also informed that “the council has approved the establishment of expanded security council which will involve all heads of tertiary institutions in the State, all heads of federal parastatals, security agencies, local government chairmen, head of Keke operators, clergy, market union, labour union and other unions as parts of this expanded Security Council. This meeting is scheduled to take place sometime this month to beef up the security challenges in the State”.
“Our attention has been brought to illegal mining in the State especially sand excavation. The men of civil defence has been mandated to bring to book all illegal miners in the State who doesn’t have government authorization to do so”, he stated.