interviewBy Alozie Ogbonna
Umuahia — Ambrose Aisabor is Abia State Commissioner of Police. In this interview, he spoke on the fight against crimes and the need for co-operation in tackling security challenges. Excerpts:
How would you assess the security situation in Abia state?
Abia state remains one of the most peaceful states in the country today. There is no doubt about it. All the security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police are not sleeping at all. We are working around the clock to ensure that there is peace and tranquillity in Abia. It may interest you to know that early August, I held a meeting with my officers and directed them to intensify patrols because during this season, there may be an increase in criminal activities. I told them to patrol all the nooks and crannies of the state because I would not tolerate any lazy Divisional Police Officer. The history of Abia State is well known. Few years back, the state was a den of criminals and people were afraid of visiting the state. But today, the story has changed. We have decided to put that ugly past permanently behind and start on clean slate.
You said few years ago, the state was the den of criminals. What did the Nigeria Police do to return relative peace to Abia State?
It is the collaborative efforts of the state government, police, military and other security agencies. They synergizes and collaborate in fighting crime with the encouragement of state government. Security agencies are able to perform optimally and that is the magic wand. Again, there is commitment, loyalty and dedication to duties from the officers and men of the police force to fight crime and the result is what we are reaping today. I'm receiving reports on crime situation on daily basis. Once I wake up, I must find out the security situation from the two area commands in Abia State; Umuahia and Aba commands. At night, I also enquire to know what is happening in the state. There is no society where you would not find crime no matter the technology they are using in fighting crime.
For some time now, crimes like kidnapping, and armed robbery have been relegated to the background. Recently, we charged three suspects who kidnapped a girl at Ugwnagbo road in Aba to court. The matter is still in court. Again, we intercepted a vehicle used in the kidnap of prominent personality in Edo State. The vehicle was brought to Abia State for sale. We got a tip-off and arrested the car dealer. We have taken appropriate actions because the scene of crime was in Benin, Edo state. Also, we smashed a child trafficking syndicate headed by female pastor of new generation church in Aba. A six-month old baby was sold for paltry N60,000.00. They manipulated the case when they realised that the police had caught them. They took the baby to orphanage where somebody pretended to have adopted the baby. Those involved would soon be charged to court. Not quite long ago, we also received a distress call that a two-man gang was robbing a two-storey building in Umuahia. Our men mobilized and in exchange of fire with them, one was shot dead and locally made pistol recovered.
State government recently donated 30 patrol vans. Are the vehicles being used effectively in the discharge of your responsibility?
In June this year, the IGP came to Umuahia and commissioned 30 Hilux Patrol vehicles equipped with communication gadgets. This vehicles have really assisted us in patrolling the nooks and crannies. We are visibly policing in and around the state. You would notice the presence of police men day and night as well as patrol vans placed at strategic points in all corners of the state. Of course, there are no road block and nobody would bring back road blocks because they dented the image of the police. We are happy with the current development. The police are doing their work in the state. But we still need more patrol vans. 30 vans are not enough.
However, security is a collective effort. Only government cannot solve the problems of security agencies. It requires a synergy with all relevant stakeholders because development cannot take place amidst chaos, but in a peaceful atmosphere.
What kind of support can you say government of Abia State has given to the police apart from the donation of patrol vans?
The state government has assisted the personnel on special patrols with regards to welfare and other logistics. This has really made our job easier. We commend government of Abia State for that. But we are still seeking for more logistics because security is an expensive venture.