It is easy to forget the unenviable status of Anambra State as a beehive of crimes and criminality prior to March 2014 when the current Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, took the mantle of leadership. Realizing that security of lives and property is important to the realization of his set objectives, the Governor’s first step was to organize a high level Security Conference which had the then Inspector General of Police and heads of other agencies in attendance, with an Israeli security expert as major resource.

Thereafter, Obiano launched Operation Kpochapu(Operation Wipe Out)with an integrated security approach involving all security agencies in collaboration with the Police under the Anambra Security Committee. He initiated the Amendment of the state Vigilante Act and set up the Anambra State Vigilante Committee headed by a retired Police Officer, who reorganized the outfit to be relevant in the Police community covert and overt operations and fight against all forms of criminality, especially kidnapping and armed robbery.

With the implementation of the Obiano administration’s Policy of zero tolerance to all forms of crimes and criminality, the transformative effect of the new security arrangement on the state and the people was immediately evident across major cities and communities, with flashpoints like Upper Iweka enjoying new ease of calm with crimes drastically reduced from all-time high. This openned spaces for greater business and commerce. It helped ndi Anambra to re-invent their social life.

Gov Obiano’s single minded and methodical approach to security and crime fighting has led to several firsts, including the hosting of a successful South East/South-South Regional Security Summit, donation of smart cars, security trucks, setting up of the motorbike squad, as well as the yearly reward and motivation of gallant officers. But after five years, there is need to consolidate on the gains and re-enforce security across the state to ensure that ndi Anambra continue to prosper without any major incident of violent crime.

Fast forward to the present, Governor Obiano, who never rests on his oasis, is aware that fighting modern crime will require the best hands and latest technology, he therefore appointed a retired Airforce General, Air Vice Marshal, Ben Chiobi, an experienced Fighter Pilot, as Special Adviser to spearhead and administrate the Creative Security policy. Since coming on board Akpokuodike’s team, the AVM, working in concert with others, has come with the Anambra State Integrated Security Surveillance (ANISS), a platform for unveiling the creative security solutions powered by ICT.  He also retooled seven transmitters and fifty-two base stations in Police formations in Anambra State readiness for the new security regime .

Essentially, Operation Kpochapu-2 involves the provision of improved logistics support and motivation for the Police and other security agencies that operate jointly in a coordinated fight against crime and criminality. A total of one hundred and eleven cars, trucks, buses and 71 motorbikes form the crux of the renewed approach. The vehicles are already fitted with Communication gadgets, special light effects and other equipment for effective operations. The motorbikes will help reach areas not easily accessible by cars.

On the other hand, the ANISS will emplace a multimedia crime fighting package that integrates pictures, videos and data analytics against the hitherto limiting system of reliance on reports and voice evidence.   Amongst other operations, the ANISS will also articulate all emergency calls and wider surveillance footage in real-time enabled by a sophisticated system in key locations/hotspots across the state.  Ndi Anambra are encouraged to access and make calls through toll free number 112 to report any emergencies for quick response by relevant security agencies.

There is no gainsaying that the success of any security initiative requires the collective input of the citizenry and the security agencies. As the saying goes, “if you see something, say something.” Let us support the Obiano creative initiative on security in order to ensure that the state consolidates and sustains its status as the safest state in Nigeria, which is sine qua non for economic development. All told, the message from Obiano is simple: there is no hiding place for any criminal in Anambra State.

Ozumba is Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State.

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