Today, you can drive through the alluring roads of Enugu State with your two eyes closed. This feat has re-echoed in Abuja, the nation’s capital city.
Nigeria is bleeding. From the east to west, north to south, the stories are the same. On one part, merciless armed herdsmen are wreaking havocs. They are destroying farms and killing and maiming Nigerians whose only sin is that they are forbidden from bearing arms.
More so, Boko Haram Islamic terrorists are staging a scary comeback in the North-East. Down south, and in some parts of the north, kidnapping, ritual killings and other social vices are holding sway. Just recently, Niger Delta agitators revealed that they were heading back to the creeks. These are the scary realities.
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What about the South-East? State governments in the region are spending billions of naira to keep their territories safe. In some cases, it is a suicide mission to travel at night. If you plan to do that, say your last prayers.
In the midst of this nonsense, one state stands out, Enugu. Have you been there recently? It is a wonder to behold. Critics, lovers and opposition members are dazed and wondering how the silent but effectual governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is performing his wonders.
Enugu State is the epicentre of Igbo civilisation. It is the rallying point for every Igbo. Almost every influential Igbo man or woman has a palatial building in Enugu. It is home to everyone. This factor makes Enugu unique. Even the blind knows this.
But before Ugwuanyi assumed office, the story was different. Political rivalry and other forms of illegality, were so conspicuous. As a man of peace, he initiated some reforms to tackle the hydra-headed insecurity in the state.
Traditional, community and political leaders were involved. Today, you can drive through the alluring roads of Enugu State with your two eyes closed. This feat has re-echoed in Abuja, the nation’s capital city. Everyone is asking how a man who is neither a retired military nor police officer has achieved this feat.
The number one police officer in Nigeria, the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, couldn’t hide his excitement. Recently, he openly expressed delight at Governor Ugwuanyi’s efforts in supporting the Nigerian Police towards improving security in the state.
The police chief spoke through the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the south-eastern region, Valentine Ntomchukwu, who was at Government House, Enugu, on a courtesy visit.
Mr. Ntomchukwu informed the governor that he was in Enugu State on a familiarisation visit, to strengthen its community policing initiatives and to review the operational strategies of the Nigeria Police as well as to identify the challenges confronting the force with a view to proffering solutions to solving them in order to further reduce crime and criminality in all the states in the region.
He also described Enugu as “a very peaceful and friendly state” not only to the police but also to all law-abiding citizens, and solicited further support of the state government to the command to enable it to discharge its responsibilities effectively.
“Your Excellency, from your pedigree and from what I have been reading about you, we are impressed. We are equally optimistic that you will continue to support the state police command and by extension, the police high command,” the DIG said.
Governor Ugwuanyi, unlike some loud mouthed governors, commended the initiative of the police, which he said “clearly underscores the commitment of the Police to enhance peace and security in the region and the country in general.”
The governor noted the importance of security for the stability, growth and development of the society, stressing that “without it, engagement in meaningful social, political and economic activities, will be virtually impossible.”
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“Enugu State is regarded as one of the safest and peaceful States in Nigeria and this is a result of the strategic and exemplary partnership that the state government has maintained with security agencies in the State as well as other initiatives designed to involve the citizenry in security efforts.
“It is certainly in our interest that this happy state of affairs is sustained and that crime and criminality are reduced to the barest minimum in Enugu State. We therefore whole heartedly, welcome the current measures embarked by the Nigerian Police to achieve this objective and we reassure you of our usual support and cooperation towards that end,” Mr. Ugwuanyi added.
While the state was yet to recover from the accolades from the police boss, another encomium came from the same quarter. This time, the Commissioner of Police in charge of Enugu State chipped in something.
Mr. Danmallam Mohammed commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his “tremendous” support to the command towards the provision of adequate security of lives and property in the state. The police commissioner, who spoke while taking delivery of the 22 brand new patrol vans donated to the Enugu State Police Command by the state government to enhance their security operations, disclosed that the “huge support” from Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration has “resulted in the ranking of Enugu as the most peaceful and safest state in the country.”
Mr. Mohammed noted that the security of lives and property and “total tranquility” being witnessed in the state was a deliberate action of the state government, stressing that Governor Ugwuanyi strongly believes that “the purpose of government is for the security and social wellbeing of its citizens, as guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
He added that the security vehicles was the latest in a series of support and commitment from the state government, promising that the force will continue to keep faith with the governor’s philosophy of zero tolerance for crime and his policy towards “a crime free Enugu State.”
“I, therefore, wish to assure the good people of Enugu State that we will continue to provide adequate security coverage of the whole state round the clock so that people will sleep with their two eyes closed,” the police commissioner said.
Presenting the vehicles, Governor Ugwuanyi stated that the decision was in keeping with his administration’s resolve, at its inception, to give utmost attention to the security of life and property of the people as well as the maintenance of peace in every corner of the state.
According to the governor, “This is because we recognised that security is the prime condition for stability, growth and development in any society and that without it, engagement in meaningful social, political and economic activity would be virtually impossible.”
He added that his administration has continued to demonstrate its commitment to “this objective through the excellent partnership that we maintain with security agencies in the state.”
He noted that the gesture includes regular donation of vehicles and other essential equipment as well as provision of logistical support to the agencies to ensure the successful and effective discharge of their functions. Governor Ugwuanyi expressed delight that the efforts of his administration in the area of security have ensured that Enugu State remains one of the safest, most secure and peaceful states in the country.
He maintained that such efforts have also ensured that the incidence of crime and other activities that threaten peace in the society is reduced to the barest minimum in the state. The governor explained that the security vehicles were fitted with ultra-modern communication gadgets to boost the operations of the command and help make the state safer and more peaceful, recalling that the government had previously donated similar vehicles to the police and other security agencies soon after his assumption of office.
“As I have said earlier, this is a gesture that we will continue to make from time to time and as the occasion demands in order to enhance the capacity of the police to carry out their very essential duties diligently and efficiently,” the governor declared, while commending the Nigeria Police and other security agencies “for their commitment and cooperation towards the attainment of our common goal of enthroning peace and security in the state.”
Need I say more? If you in doubt, visit Enugu state and see the wonder working Ugwuanyi. In Enugu, lives and property are safe. I suggest that some governors who are still grappling with insecurity in their states should pay a visit to this God’s own state.
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Onyema, a civil rights activist, wrote from Anambra State
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