From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
In a bid to further advance the community policing arrangement of the Federal Government, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, in collaboration with the chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, has established a security outfit to combat crime in the commercial nerve centre of the state.
The 91 Onitsha Community Vigilance members were expected to patrol all the nooks and crannies of the city, in collaboration with the state’s vigilance group, the police and other security agencies, to ensure that the area is safe for indigenes and visitors to do their business.
Igwe Achebe, while inaugurating the new security outfit in his palace, said it would strengthen the security of Onitsha community, adding that members of the security outfit were trained to support the police and other security agencies in ensuring that Onitsha was crime-free.
The monarch said the initiative was to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Willie Obiano in the area of security, and to rid the city of all criminal elements that had given it a bad image. He said the community had the plan of increasing the security operatives’ strength to 300, even as he solicited support from wealthy individuals and groups to adequately equip them with materials for effective performance.
Igwe Achebe also inspected the guard of the new security personnel on parade.
Mba explained that members of the security outfit were trained to combat crime within their neighbourhoods, in order to create an active security network in the community.
He said it was also aimed at providing job opportunities for youths, adding that engaging them in crime control would reduce their involvement in crime and other irregularities within the neighbourhood.
The chairman also said embarking on neighborhood security was to complement the efforts of Obiano, who had made security a priority of his government.
The chairman on the occasion, traditional ruler of Omor Kingdom, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume, described the exercise as proactive, aimed at checkmating the activities of miscreants, while noting that, once Onitsha was safe from crime, other parts of the state would follow suit.
The chairman of Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG), Ikechukwu Ayodele Aduba, a retired commissioner of police, advised the new security officers to work within the ambits of the law.
He stated his commitment towards securing the community in partnership with Onitsha Vigilante as supervisory head of Anambra State Vigilante Services.
In his remarks, a BoT member of APGA and member of the board of AVG, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka (Ogilishi Igbo), thanked Obiano for finding worthy an indigene of Onitsha, Aduba, to head Anambra State Vigilante Services. He also commended the Obi of Onitsha for the security outfit, which he said would complement the security agents already in place in the state.
President-general of Onitsha Improvement Union (OIU), Sir Chike Ekweogwum, while addressing the security agents, said their training was a welcome development to the people of Onitsha and other residents of the city and environs.
He admonished them to be of good behaviour and operate within the law of the land as well as put the skills and intelligence garnered during the training into practice.
“You are not trained to become terrors in the community but to guard and protect life and property within your neighborhoods,’’ Ekweogwu said.