By Odimegwu Onwumere
Governor Chibuike Amaechi did something unbelievable of a distinctive Nigerian governor on 17th May, 2012. His speedy response through a television broadcast quelling the minds of the residents on the explosion which nearly sent the residents packing does not only require commendation but has taught the residents that the governor was not ruling the state from abroad as was a speculation in many quarters before the incident.
This television broadcast is an eloquently assurance by the state government in reiterating its promise that the residents are assured of their security, if the number one citizen of the state could give the residents an unflinching optimism that he’s always with them at anytime.
Amaechi being present within the period has taught something: There is no amount of details of armed robbery activities that were capable of deterring Rivers State, which initially experienced virtually an hour occurrence of armed robbery activities around banks in the state capital, Port Harcourt; but this has been reduced to the barest diminution.
It is relatable that criminals stayed away from Rivers State because even the ‘land’ and everything therein have joined hands in the fight against criminality as the residents have witnessed in the dynamite that exploded around Rumuokoro which incapacitated the alleged “bank robbers” from carrying out their shoddy business on that day.
Amaechi is walking his talk on security. It could be recalled that in a national newspaper of 7th November 2011, Amaechi spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor that he was on ground in making sure that the state is a nonviolent place to reside and devoid of inhumane activities of the men of the underworld.
His warning that criminals should stay away from the state, could be seen that it was not a mere rhetoric as peace has returned to the state, except for those who dread peace and invite violent activities for their selfish and demonic purposes.
In the aforementioned month of 2011, Iyofor said: “The governor is working tirelessly in collaboration with security agencies in the state and would stop at nothing to ensure that these acts of criminality are nipped in the bud.”
Amaechi was so pained that criminals in the state then were targeting banks and their customers because of the yuletide season of 2011. And Iyofor whispered: “Our investigations have revealed that these robberies are perpetrated by gangs who are in a mad rush for money to spend in the fast approaching yuletide season. These bank and associated robberies we are seeing in the past few weeks are Christmas related. But we want to assure residents of the State that new and fresh security measures are now in place to deal with these criminals. We want to assure residents of Port Harcourt that we are on the trail of these criminal gangs, and sooner than later, they would have to answer for all their heinous crimes. Specific security arrangements have been put in place to deal with these criminal elements. We urge the people to remain calm and extremely vigilant as they go about their daily business.”
While the Amaechi-led government achievements on security is admirable, it should originate steps towards engaging adequate and qualified manpower in its primary and post primary steps in ensuring security, with the traditional rulers empowered and the communities always sensitized through the media of the dangers of insecurity if allowed in the state.
The traditional rulers should be subjected to screening examination to ascertain their saintliness in the environments that they rule.
Just as the Amaechi-led government was reportedly has built over 2, 590 new primary schools and model schools in some local government areas of the state, while many more are at various stages of completion, it should think about building Army checkpoints at every strategically areas of the state, like the one it built for Police near the old Toll Gate at Iriebe, Port Harcourt.
Why this is important is because the development will to a great extent reduce the number of petty criminal reports Rivers State is recording and transform the state to a much better one. Police should also deploy their men on street-by-street patrol; the intention here should not be to catch Okada riders and Keke NAPEP operators and ‘innocent youths’ who are far in essence not the cause of the problem of insecurity of the society.
If it will be possible, Amaechi should embark on unscheduled visits to the police stations in Rivers State as he was doing to schools, and be shocked that many of the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) are hardly on seat hence making the policemen under their watch to behave like sheep without shepherds; and the inmates in their police stations are meted out with treatments that were not supposed for a beast.
In a nutshell, the explosion in Port Harcourt which Amaechi expressed an extraordinary emergency to, and drew attention to, he should in the same manner un-relentlessly show the same speedy response to all sectors in Rivers State.
We wish Amaechi the best.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV).