Moved by the rapid development of Anambra State in the last couple of years, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa East) issued a public statement on July 6, 2016, asking the Federal Government and all other state governments to learn from Anambra State. It was in the midst of the recession. Even major oil-bearing states could not pay salaries and were doing all manner of things to shore up their finances, including going for economic bailouts from the Federal Government, while the Anambra State administration was launching a stimulus package for the poor and hiring workers and increasing their salaries.
As the security situation in the country is deteriorating, it is germane to counsel the Federal Government and state governments to turn their attention to Anambra to see what can be learnt from Anambra, which was, only five years ago, one of the most security-challenged states in Nigeria but has all of a sudden become the safest, the most peaceful and the most stable state in the whole country. For instance, there has been no bank robbery in the state in the last five years, even though it has the largest number of banks in Nigeria, after Lagos and Rivers states.
True, serious crimes do occur in Anambra, as even in such safe places as Sweden. But what arrests attention is the speed at which the perpetrators are caught. On April 16, a four-man gang murdered the president-general of the Nimo Town Development Union, in Njikoka Local Government Area, at about 8pm at Oye Market in the town. On hearing the news, Governor Willie Obiano, who was abroad, worked the phones throughout the night, calling every traditional ruler, every town union president-general, every market union president, every motor park leader, every community leader and, of course, every security and intelligence officer he felt could assist with information leading to the arrest of the criminals. He announced through the commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, a reward of N5 millon for any person who could provide information, assuring the public that the perpetrators would be arrested soon. Every person in Anambra believed that Chief Obiano would deliver on his promise. He has honour.
Last Sunday, at Nkwelle Ezunaka, in Oyi LGA, where Professor Greg Nwakoby, vice chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, had gone for a thanksgiving mass, Governor Obiano announced the capture of the ringleader of Igboka’s murderers. The congregation went into a frenzy. Many in Anambra State who heard the news exclaimed in appreciation, “So soon?” What they did not realise was that Chigbo Anigboka, the 27-year-old member of Vikings Fraternity and Igboka’s neighbour in the village, was arrested on April 20, that is, a mere four days after killing the former chairman of Njikoka LGA, who was also a member of the state House of Assembly, for making life tough for cultists in Nimo in his capacity as the town’s president-general.
The other three members of the Vikings who took part in the Nimo murder have been identified as Obinna and two others simply known as Nwasami and Chukwunonso. None of them is in Anambra State, but they will soon be caught, just like Ikechukwu Udensi, the most wanted criminal in the state, who last year killed a businessman in Onitsha, Ndubuisi Nwokolo, for challenging him over his illegal revenue collection. Udensi ran to Lagos and Ogun states, where he hid but, the moment he set his feet on Anambra soil towards the end of March, he was caught by eagle-eyed policemen. Governor Obiano placed a N1 million bounty on his head. The police have just arrested Udensi’s second-in-command. Meanwhile, Obiano has announced a N5 million on each of the three fleeing murderers of Chief Igboka.
On Monday, this week, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mustapha Dandura, addressed the press, where he announced a number of breakthroughs by his men. Davidson Obinna, kidnapped in Owerri, Imo State, while driving a red Lexus car and taken to an isolated building in Oba, Idemili South LGA in Anambra State, was rescued a few hours after he was brought to Anambra. Though the kidnappers absconded through the back of the building on sighting policemen, security agents took two AK-47 rifles as well as a pistol and ammunition they saw in the building, which will soon be brought down by the state government. The fleeing kidnappers will be caught, as the police have promised.
The police have also arrested the killer of Pa Iloanusi, the 85-year-old father of a Super Eagles player. Pa Iloanusi was killed in 2013 because his son was not as forthcoming with a huge ransom as his abductors expected. The ring leader was arrested but escaped from police detention in handcuffs, only to be rearrested now. Dandaura also disclosed the arrest of Ugochukwu Nweke and Chijioke Okeh in a criminal hideout in Oba two days after robbing Rev. Fr. Chukwunonso Anosike of his laptop and mobile phones.
On the whole, Dandaura announced the arrest of quite a number of criminal suspects. While being commended for doing so much within the short period he has spent in the state, the police commissioner noted that the credit for the new onslaught against violent criminals should rather go to Governor Obiano for inspiring security agencies in the state to achieve greater 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 available. He also motivates security men and women through words and show of solidarity.
In summary, a couple of things account for the extraordinary performance of security men in Anambra State. They include the passion for security, which the governor exhibits, provision of logistic support, provision and prompt payment of reasonable allowances to security people, recognition of the heroic accomplishment of officers, incentivisation of members of the public through monetary rewards and working in close collaboration with the community, which brings about trust in both the intelligence community and government, as well as prioritisation of public security in the development because the principal function of every government is the safety of the people and their assets.
There is so much the Federal Government and the state governments all over Nigeria can learn from Anambra, which has made it the safest state in Nigeria.
•Ms Amafili works with a broadcasting organsation in Abuja