1. It is embarrassing that as the people and government of Anambra State are preparing to launch on October 11, 2019, the second phase of Operation Mkpochapu (Operation Wipeout Crime) to be led by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, elements of the so-called opposition in the state have launched a counter campaign to scuttle it, so that Anambra will return to the days when it was almost overrun by kidnappers, armed robbers, contract murders and other violent criminals. The counter campaign is done in the name of party politics because of the assumption that an insecure Anambra State will enable them to win the 2021 gubernatorial election and once again mould the state in their image.
2. The so-called opposition elements have been running from pillar to post in the last 48 hours in search of journalists and media organizations they can induce to write salacious things about the state’s security. One of the steps taken to scandalize the state’s security is to allege that the items procured for the second phase of Operation Mkpochapu are at outrageous prices. The items include Toyota Sienna buses, fully equipped with security gadgets, to operate the most sophisticated 24-hour digital surveillance cameras from Industrial Video and Control, Boston in Massachusetts, United States, manufacturers of the advanced CCTVs used to capture the infamous Boston Marathon bombers in 2013. The Toyota buses were purchased at less than N4m a unit, which is the market price in Nigeria. Still, the opposition elements want to impress upon the media that the prices are very high, giving the journalists copies of the pro forma invoices as though to validate their spurious claim. Let all those with the pro forma invoices carefully compare the price of each item with the price in the market and they will see that the prices at which the Anambra State government obtained the items are the best any government anywhere can get.
3. The opposition elements must have discovered that Nigerian journalists are not as naïve and cheap as they thought. Many of the media quickly saw through the lies and manipulation of the opposition and abandoned the propaganda material. Some others sought to obtain the views of Anambra State government officials in an attempt to balance their reports and in the process discovered the truth; they consequently discarded the allegation. We thank the journalists for their professionalism. They practise journalism of conscience and national commitment.
4. We would also to warn the opposition elements who have made videos inciting the people against Governor Obiano for accommodating Fulani herders in the state. We consider the videos very irresponsible and extremely dangerous. These elements are putting in the harm’s way the lives of millions of not just NdiAnambra but also Ndigbo in other parts of the country where they without molestation work as engineers, doctors, lawyers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, traders, etc. These hardworking and innocent people are quite vulnerable. The Anambra State government has an obligation to work for the safety, security, welfare and progress of all our people both at home and elsewhere. We must always be strategic in our thoughts and actions and policies.
5. The people of Anambra State have always been great believers in peaceful co-existence as captured in the popular saying egbe bere, ugo bere, which can be translated literally as “let the kite perch and let the eagle also perch on the same tree”. The state government notes with satisfaction that there are about 23 Fulani settlements in the state and the people have been making great good contributions to the state’s development over the decades. Many of the people were born here and they are well integrated in our society. They do joint livestock businesses with indigenes of the state where the indigenes invest in livestock and the Fulani provide the husbandry, with the proceeds shared on agreed ratios.
6. These law-abiding and peaceful Fulani people have been assisting the government with great intelligence. They have always provided useful information anytime marauding herders and other criminally minded ones attempt to enter the state. The result is that Anambra is largely free of the killings and skirmishes we find in many parts of the nation, including neighbouring states. Anambra remains the safest and most peaceful state in Nigeria.
7. Safety of life and assets is the foremost responsibility of every government anywhere in the world. The present Anambra State administration has given a most impressive account of itself in this area. Our people cannot condone further attempts by members of the so-called opposition in the state to play politics with the safety and security of its people whether at home or elsewhere.
8. We have done so well in security that Anambra is today the only state throughout the federation which has not recorded even one single bank armed robbery in five years. The result of the excellent security arrangement is, among other things, the ongoing massive investments in the state. For instance on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, Governor Obiano will commission the automated Coscharis Rice Mill at Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area, bringing to a climax the multi-billion naira investments which Dr Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group has been making in agricultural development in the state in the last couple of years.
9. Once again, the government and people of Anambra State appeal to the opposition, in God’s name, to stop playing politics with the state’s security. Anambra State will continue to exist far beyond the 2021 governorship election.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.