Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Since Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu took the mantle of leadership of Abia State in 2015, Abians have continued to enjoy crime- free Yuletides. He has continued to live up to his assurance of protecting the lives and property of Abians thus:“Security of lives and property is of great importance to me and will be reflected in our coming actions and policies. My administration will continue to provide necessary support to the security agencies to sustain and uphold the current peaceful atmosphere”.
The above were the words of Gov. Ikpeazu during his maiden address on May 29, 2015 at Umuahia Township Stadium. The assurances in the words indicate that security is central to the policies of his administration and would not be relegated to the background. Gov.Ikpeazu on instances had assured Abians of strengthening the existing security situation in the state, and continuous support to the law enforcement agencies to improve and sustain a more efficient incident response time and introduce contemporary technology-based solutions to assist in the enhancement of Security.
Unlike in the past when the minds of Abians in Diaspora were agitated by the thought of how to spend the yuletide at home because of security challenges,the situation has changed for better and Abia is now a safe haven. To ensure that Abians, both at home and in Diaspora ,enjoy a crime-free yuletidenow in the past, Gov. Ikpeazu had taken some initiatives. This include the procurement of 20 modern patrol vehicles fitted with communication and monitoring gadgets for the police and other security agencies in the state to enhance inter-agency communication and improve their response time to distress calls from members of the public . The vehicles were stationed at strategic locations across the state .A similar measure is the donation of five brand new security Toyota Hilux trucks by Zenith Bank to assist Abia State government in its crime fighting efforts.
It will be recalled that in the past there was proposal to mount Close Circuit Cameras (CCTV) and vehicle tracking devices at some strategic locations in the state to discourage criminals from making the state their safe haven.
Also, in the recent past, during the welcome party in honour of the 14th Brigade Officers Mess, held at the 14th Brigade Headquarters, Ohafia, the governor restated his administration’s resolve to sustain its partnership with the Nigerian Army,adding that Abia State remains the safest state in the country for business and other activities.
The above efforts are few out of the numerous efforts by the governor to ensure that lives and property of Abians are adequately secured.
Part of the actions was the restoration of military roadblocks in the state to ensure kidnappers and other criminals did not resume their nefarious activities .
Shortly after the restoration of military checkpoints, another stride was added to the government’s efforts to ensure that Abians go to sleep with both eyes closed. A special security operational centre was established in Aba with open security phone lines to be used at the collation centre.Establishment of the centre came on the heels of the launching of a special security outfit, comprising army, police, and SSS to check insecurity, especially kidnapping in the state.
Indeed, the ugly narrative has changed! Between 2007 and 2010 a gang of criminals seized Abia State, especially Aba, the commercial-hub of the state. They made Aba their operational base, and the city became unsafe as kidnappers, rapists, armed robbers, oil thieves, cultists, and sundry criminals unleashed a reign of terror.The activities took a huge toll on the economy of the state as banks and other business operators were forced to close shops .The situation also forced residents to flee the state enmasse. Also, prospective local and foreign investors were stiffly scared.