The on-going crackdown on criminals in Anambra State took a more urgent tone, Thursday as the 2-Day Summit on security organized by the Willie Obiano administration successfully took off to a roaring start with strident calls from the governor on Anambrarians to play a role in riding the state of all criminal elements.
Speaking in an emotion-laden tone, Governor Obiano pinned the soaring crime rate in the society on the people’s inability to reclaim the societal values that once made crime an outright taboo among them. Wondering why the society had grown to accept criminals with open arms, Chief Obiano asked; “Ndi Anambra when did we lose the heart to ask questions? When did we begin to give chieftaincy titles to people whose source of wealth has no easy explanation? Ndi Anambra the time has come when we must ask ourselves some questions. Have we been fair to ourselves?”
Pointing out that the Nigerian society of today yearns for moral rebirth, Governor Obiano declared; “We must re-ignite the quest for the rebirth of our society. We must strengthen the moral fabric of our communities to give our children and children’s children a chance at happiness. We shall soon commence a public enlightenment campaign to sensitize the people on the role we expect everyone to play in the new dispensation to reclaim Anambra State from criminals.”
According to him, the fight against criminals in Anambra State can only be successfully if the people took ownership of the battle and began to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies.
Describing the current silence of the people to criminal activities around them as “dangerous,” Governor Obiano argued that “experience has shown that crime thrives best when society adopts silence and inertia as a mode of response. Anytime we chose silence instead of speech in response to the criminal activities of our friend or neighbour, we make ourselves complicit in their crimes. Ladies and gentlemen, we must not choose a cowardly silence in exchange for a bold and redeeming speech. Ndi Anambra kpoonu ife ojo ife ojoo!!!”
Calling on Anambrarians to sit up and re-examine their attitude to life, the governor observed that “the drive for unbridled acquisition of material wealth has left us stranded in crime-ridden communities, where no one has neither the courage nor the time to question the source of wealth of overnight billionaires that live among us.”
He however assured that his administration would not relent on its war against criminals, revealing that his Blueprint for the development of Anambra State was designed to tackle unemployment among the youths through a massive creation of jobs.
In his own speech, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar commended Governor Obiano for starting his tenure in office on a sound footing with a direct confrontation of one of the nightmares of the Nigerian society.
“The primary responsibility of the governor of any state in Nigeria is to provide security for his people. No state or country in the world can pursue any meaningful development programme without tackling security,” the Inspector General of Police observed.
The Inspector General however reminded the royal fathers in the state that they had a fundamental role to play in the fight against criminals as most of the crime suspects are their subjects. He also called on the general public to provide useful information that would aid the police in crime investigation and prevention pointing out that the challenge of securing the community lies with the people.
Presenting a paper titled “Security as Panacea for Development,” an Israeli security expert, Moshe Keinan compared the security challenges that Nigeria is currently battling to the situation in Israel. According to him, Israel had remained a target for terrorists and members of the organized crime in spite of its pre-eminent status as a holy land but had achieved a drastic curtailment of the scourge through proactive, long term measures that fended off both internal and external threats to its security.
Mr. Keinan stressed the need for Nigeria to secure her boarders to forestall cross-border alliances between home grown criminals and their foreign counterparts while making a strong case for the use of modern technology in crime fighting.