11 May 2019

Nigeria On the Brink Over Rising Insecurity

opinion

President Muhammadu Buhari's meeting with the Service Chiefs last Thursday after which he ordered them to ensure that Nigerians go to bed with their eyes closed was timely and instructive. That was the second meeting he had with them within 48 hours and the reason was obvious. The spate of insecurity in the country has reached a sickening level and no part of the country appears safe to live now. Even places that were hitherto regarded as safe haven in the country have slumped to all kinds of violent crimes. Day after day, reports of kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, herders-farmers clashes and cult wars dominate the media space and Nigerians have more or less become sheep without a shepherd.

But the man at the helm of affairs in the country is a retired military general who had fought many battles and triumphed in all. As a young military officer, he emerged from the Nigerian civil war as one of the heroes. As head of state, he quelled the Maitatsine crisis that threatened the peace in parts of the present day North East region. In 2015, he came to office promising to crush Boko Haram terrorists in the North East and secure the region. And true to his pledge, the sect has been seriously degraded that they now resort to attacking soft targets and military bases occasionally. But no part of the Nigerian territory is under their control now.

Nevertheless, the spate of insecurity in the country now appears worse than the peak days of Boko Haram insurgency some years back. Then, only the North East was regarded as a death zone in the country. But the story has changed. Fear, anxiety and tension have taken over everywhere and Nigerians appear helpless.

Recently, the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman, cried out that Nigerian now live like animals. The Emir, who spoke when the Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, visited his palace ahead of the national launch of the distribution of cotton seeds/inputs to farmers for the 2019 planting season in Katsina State, said that in as much as the president's initiatives were good, they could not be successful without security.

His words: "Every day I receive reports of kidnapping and killings from the district and village heads. Tell the President that we have to take care of our people, security first. All these programmes, as good as they are, cannot be successful without security. Security is first and fundamental.

"What are you to gain by killing, kidnapping people? It's very unfortunate. I have not seen this kind of country; how do we live like animals? Three days ago, Magaji Gari (of Daura emirate council) was abducted. Nobody is safe now, whether in your house or on the road, wherever you are.

"What we want you to do for us is to stop the fight. Many people have deserted, abandoned their farms in fear of kidnapping and killings and other atrocities. It's very unfortunate."

Emir Usman's lamentations aptly capture the mood of Nigerians in the face of unbridled insecurity in the land. It has been tales of woe from across the country and all eyes are on the president to reinvent his military acumen and pull Nigeria out from the pool of insecurity. As Nigerians wait to see whether the President's order would bear the desired result, they tell their sordid stories in this report:

We Have Become Helpless, Kaduna Residents Cry Out

From Saxone Akhaine and Abdulganiyu Alabi, Kaduna

Kaduna State has of recent been on the limelight for no other reason than the increased activities of kidnappers and armed bandits. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the violence and massacre inflicted on people. They are now taking refuge in several parts of Kaduna, including Sabon Tashan, Television, Rigasa, Rigachikun Tudun Wada, Ungwar Rimi and other parts of the metropolis as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Recently, Adara indigenes protested to the state government over the ceaseless confrontation between armed Fulani herdsmen and the native inhabitants in Kajuru local government area and the inability of government to bring the culprits to book.

According to the aggrieved people of Adara, about 12,480 indigenes have been displaced from their ancestral homes and now live in IDP camps with the attendant hazards, pointing out that no fewer than 200 of them had been killed.

"These attacks have so far claimed the lives of almost 200 Adara natives, slaughtered in the most cruel and dehumanising manner. And over 500 houses were destroyed by invading armed herdsmen," a statement signed by the children of the nine Adara leaders who are currently in prison custody, Bege Bawa Magaji, Mercy Dio Maisamari and Godiya Sani Magaji said.

Aside from the massacre in Kajuru council of the state, there are two major dangerous roads in the state -- Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari roads. Despite efforts by the Federal Government and the Kaduna State government to checkmate the activities of bandits on the roads, the criminals still bypass security operatives to perpetrate their crimes. The unfortunate situation on the Birnin-Gwari highway has rendered motorists helpless.

Along the Kaduna -Abuja highway, commuters had recently heaved a sigh of relief following the launch of Operation Puff Addar (OPA) by the Nigeria Police to flush out bandits from their hideouts. But sadly enough, commuters enjoyed safety only for a moment as kidnappers soon returned to the highway.

The kidnappers upon their return abducted the state chairman of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, and his daughter, Yasmin, while their driver was shot dead. On that same afternoon, they also blocked the expressway, forcing several motorists to abandon their vehicles and head for nearby bushes to avoid being abducted. The development left many motorists and passengers unaccounted for, just as the kidnappers stole their belongings.

Thus motorists, especially commercial drivers plying Kaduna-Birnin Gwari axis still go through 'hell'. And many of them who spoke with The Guardian claimed that security agencies and criminals operate as if they run shifts on the road.

At the Lawn Car park, findings showed that though there were more than 20 security checkpoints on Birnin-Gwari road manned by men of the Police Force and local vigilante groups, the checkpoints are only operational for few hours daily.

A commercial motorist, Aliyu Isa, who plies Kontagora in Niger State to Kaduna through Birnin Gwari said: "The only time we enjoy this road is in the afternoon like this. If you follow the road in the morning before 10.00am, it is almost certain that you will be attacked. I ply this road everyday like other drivers around, but we are safe because we know when to move and when not to. Like now, there is nothing you can give me that will make me go back to Kontagora today except I get passengers to take back before 3.00pm. Anything after 3.00pm, I will just sleep in Kaduna.

"Experience has shown us that security resume at their checkpoints around 10.00am and close around 4.00pm. And once the security agents leave the road, the criminals take over. It is as if they run shift with the police. So, anyone who passes Birnin Gwari road before 10.00am and after 4.00pm is doing so at his own risk."

Another commercial motorist, who simply identified himself as Shehu, corroborated Isa's claims, saying: "The armed robbers have suffered these days in the hands of the security agents. So, I will say we have enjoyed the roads to a large extent, but that is not to say that the criminals have disappeared.

"What the armed robbers do is, they climb trees and rocks to watch security operatives' movements. Once they see the police leaving the road in the evening, they take over the road. So for us, we already know their system; we only work within the hours police are on the road.

"We appreciate the presence of the security personnel and even vigilante on the roads. But if they can stay there throughout the day, it will permanently keep the criminals away. Again the government too should repair the Birnin Gwari road; it is long over due. If the road is smooth, it will become very difficult for armed robbers and kidnappers to operate."

Meanwhile, the spate of insecurity on the highways has compelled many people to limit traveling in and out the state in order to avoid falling into hands of the criminals.

A resident, Mallam Idris Ilyasu, said he plies the Kaduna-Abuja highway often to go for medical check up in Abuja, but has been forced to limit his movement with the rise in criminal activities on the road.

Residents within Kaduna metropolis and its environ also said they now live in fear as kidnappers visit people's homes unannounced.

"Ever since they came and abducted a nursing mother in my area, my family and I are pretentiously living as poor people. Who knows whether people are being kidnapped once they are sighted living in healthy condition," a resident who doesn't want her name in print said.

Meanwhile, the President of Arewa Youth for Progress and Development (AYPD), Comrade Danjuma Sarki blamed the government for failing to provide the minimum level of security for the citizens.

According to him, "from what we are seeing today under the present government, there is serious conspiracy and connivance of the security agencies in the whole kidnapping and armed banditry saga.

"I have interacted with a good number of the affected people both in Birnin Gwari and Kajuru. Their cases are that of hopelessness. They have lost confidence in the government and in the system because for some years now, government has refused to attend to the security challenges."

Sarki urged President Muhammadu Buhari to "relieve all the security chiefs of their positions in order to pave way for more energetic men that would bring the security challenges to an end."

Upsurge Of Kidnappings, Armed Robbery, Killings In Enugu

From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)

Enugu State is fast losing the reputation of being one of the most peaceful and safest states in Nigeria as crimes of various proportions are now common, thus compromising the security of lives and property.

Many homes have been thrown into mourning in the last couple of weeks or have their loved ones being treated in hospitals following injuries received from attacks by men of the underworld. This is as nightlife has started disappearing in the state for fear of being kidnapped, robbed or killed.

Since the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, no day passes without a report from the police of all manner of arrests of criminals.

In the month of March, three high profile murders were carried out in the state that threw the residents into panic.

First was a Roman Catholic cleric, Rev. Fr. Clement Ugwu, who was abducted around 9.00pm on March 13. He was shot and taken to an unknown destination by his abductors. The incident happened at the gate of his church, St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno, Ezeagu local council. He was the parish priest there. He was reportedly shot on the leg before he was forcefully taken away.

After a frantic search by some locals in collaboration with Enugu Diocese, the parent diocese, for a whole week, his already decomposing body was found in the bush about 20km from his parish where he was abducted.

The abductors were said to have demanded N50 million ransom, which they later reduced to N20 million. Nobody knew exactly what happened. The decomposing body was recovered and buried at the priests' burial ground at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu, amidst tears after a requiem mass presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Reverend Callistus Onaga.

This was closely followed by the killing of the Secretary of the Uzo Uwani local council of Enugu State who doubled as a lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Identified as Nnamdi Ogueche, he was allegedly shot dead by herdsmen around Olo town in Ezeagu local council of the state where he had gone for a peace talk between communities and herdsmen that had been terrorising parts of Uzo-Uwani in the recent past.

Ogueche's death was followed by that of the Head of Nursing Services at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Dr. Mary Amadi, who was gunned down by unknown assailants.

She was reportedly shot dead in front of her house at the Federal Housing Estate, Abakpa Enugu. She had closed from work and got to her house, and was about to open the gates when her assailants shot her, made a U-turn and sped off.

Just as the dust of the incidents were settling down, a young girl identified as Ngozi Eze, from Imufu community, Igbo-Eze North local government council of the state, who had gone for her UTME lesson, was abducted and taken to a bush by unknown persons and raped to death. Her lifeless body was discovered after her father, Jonathan, raised the alarm that her daughter was missing.

An Enugu-based prophet, Anthony Nwoko, was next in line. The native of Umuahia, Abia State was assassinated in his residence at Transekulu, Enugu, last month.

Ferdinald Emeka, Secretary of Rangers Football Club, Enugu, reportedly escaped death by whiskers when gunmen invaded his residence recently. But seeing he had escaped, they took away his car.

Last week, the Class 97 Mass Communication department of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTH) was thrown into mourning when Victor Barry Eze, was assassinated by unknown gunmen.

The doctoral degree candidate was reportedly shot near his residence at Nike road area while on his way to buy some drinks with his children. His assassins were said to have attempted to remove his car but failing to do so, came back and shot him.

Tension is growing by the day on what the state is turning into. The Police on the other hand have been kept busy as reports about these incidents fly in at the shortest interval.

Parading eight suspects said to have been engaged in various forms of robbery last week, the state Commissioner of Police, Suleiman Balarabe, had called on residents to be vigilant. He had assured that those behind the killings and kidnappings in the state would not go scot-free, stressing that the police had made serious breakthroughs in some of the high profile murders in the state.

Kidnappers, Cultists Terrorising Rivers

From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt

Just like in some other parts of the country, Rivers State has been caught up in a cycle of insecurity that sometimes numbs the senses.

The escalating insecurity is perpetrated by kidnappers who operate almost unchallenged along the Rumuji to Elele Ali-Mini axis of the busy East West Road in Rivers State. Violence in the state has also been linked to rivalry between obnoxious organised criminal gangs, otherwise known as cultists.

Residents of Port Harcourt and other parts of the state have over the years witnessed some detestable gangs namely, Icelanders and Greenlanders, and their notorious affiliates, the Deygbam and Deywell, who waste their lives in battle for supremacy over crime turfs.

Last Sunday, unknown gunmen invaded a popular nightclub along Woji Road in New Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt and killed two policemen.

Though the motive for the dastardly attack is still shrouded in mystery, it was alleged that the gunmen went to the club in search of an unidentified person. Unfortunately, they unexpectedly ran into the two policemen guarding the place.

In order to prevent the policemen from thwarting their sinister mission, the daredevil gunmen on spotting the policemen instantaneously pulled their trigger and shot them dead. Another policeman who was also within the premises was shot in the hand but he succeeded in killing one of the gunmen.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident.

"The incident happened around 10.00pm on Sunday. The gallant police officer recovered three rifles; two belonging to the policemen that were killed and one belonging to the hoodlum that he shot dead during the gun duel. The policeman was earlier shot in the hand by the gunmen and while he was on the ground, the hoodlum, who shot him, came to collect his rifle.

"But, the police officer saw him coming, used one hand to grab the gun and killed the gunman. He also shot another hoodlum, who was carried away by members of the gang. The policeman repelled the gunmen, who escaped with their wounded gang members," he said.

A few days earlier, two expatriates oil workers and a Nigerian were abducted at Ogbele in Ahoada East of Rivers State. The oil workers were snatched from an oil facility belonging to Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR). It was gathered that the two expatriates are from Canada and Scotland respectively.

It was also gathered that unidentified number of gunmen stormed the oil facility shooting sporadically. Amid the pandemonium that ensued, they abducted the two expatriates and their Nigerian counterpart to unknown destination. Soldiers in neighbouring Bayelsa State were reportedly deployed to Ogbele and adjoining creeks to search for the victims but to no avail.

Similarly, in April, notorious gangs terrorising Emohua Local Government Area, shot dead a police corporal, Peter Osagie, attached to a senior staff of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) who was snatched away by the gunmen.

The vehicle conveying the Shell staff was attacked at the boundary between Rumuji and Evekwu along East West road in the State.

On the same day, the driver of a commercial bus conveying commuters from Port Harcourt to Abua was attacked and killed by hoodlums who wanted to abduct about 30 commuters inside his bus.

An angry resident of Port Harcourt, Mr Femi Adebayo, explained that the killing of two policemen at a night club in Port Harcourt last week was a manifestation of how unsafe life had become in the state and the rest of the country.

"I have lived here for over 30 years. The security situation in the state has been on the decline since 2003 and this has been worrisome. The rate of violence crime is disturbing. It is so bad that I no longer hang out with my friends for fear of being caught in cross fire," he said.

A commercial bus driver who identified himself as Jude Okon, urged increase in police presence on the East West Road and gang war ravaged communities of the state.

He told The Guardian at the Rumuokoro car park in Port Harcourt that the seeming failure of security agencies in the state to tackle the bandits operating along the busy East West Road where several persons had been kidnapped and killed made him so uncomfortable that he was contemplating leaving the country to a neighbouring West African country with his family.

On her part, Mrs. Irene Cletus, called for a review of the entire security system in the country. She said the current centralised system of policing has failed.

According to her, the Federal Government should allow the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps Agency to commence operation since the police and other security agencies had proven that they could not guarantee the safety of residents of the state.

It is indisputable that insecurity remains one of the most pressing problems facing Rivers State. To prevent this from festering, Governor Nyesom Wike has declared that any kidnapper or cultist arrested by security agencies would face the full weight of the law.

Plateau In The Throes Of Kidnapping, Herders-Farmers Clashes

From: Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi

Plateau State hitherto known as the Home of Peace and Tourism lost that cherished innocence in 2001 when crisis broke out between the indigenes and their guest settlers, the Hausa/Fulani, and the dimension immediately nose-dived into a dangerous religious war. Since that time, Christians live on the one side of the divide while the Muslims live on the other with cautious suspicion.

But what is rampant in the state now is kidnapping coupled with farmers-herders clashes. Kidnapping appears to have come to stay in the state. The kidnapping in Jos could be termed a local kidnapping. There were many cases where after 10.00pm, some groups would just gather under the bridge and kidnap whoever comes their way and demand ransom ranging fromN50,000 to N300,000.

Just last Monday, gunmen invaded one Mr. Ezekiel Rang's residence at the Plateau State Polytechnic's Staff Quarters, Barkin Ladi and abducted a 24-year old lady. The abductors were yet to contact the family as at the time of filing this report.

In March this year, a lawyer's wife was abducted while a pastor was also abducted all in Jos metropolis. The pastor's release was reportedly negotiated on a hill at Rukuba Road Jos.

Penultimate Tuesday, three people were killed, two herders declared missing, and 319 cows killed in Bassa local government area of the state. Suspected militias in the area were allegedly carried out the attack.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Deputy Superintendent Matthais Terna Tyopev, some gunmen in their intimidating number invaded Maiyanga area of Miango District on the fateful day about 11:30pm. During the attack, one Jummai Jah and Emmanuel Ishay were killed but a seven-month-old girl named Tabitha survived with a neck injury. Other people who sustained injuries during the attack were still receiving treatment in the hospital.

While the police were making efforts to apprehend those behind the attack, they received information that about 319 cattle were attacked and killed, 12 injured while 11 were rustled in the area.

It was learnt that the police were mobilising to rescue the missing herders and arrest the attackers.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yakubu Dati, in a statement, cautioned against reprisals. The statement pleaded with the aggrieved individuals to seek legal redress against violence.

This is how bad the situation is in Plateau State. Residents live in perpetual fear and do not even want to talk to journalists.

Rising Cases Of Abductions, Killings Worry Imo Residents

From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri

Residents of Imo State are worried over the level of insecurity in the state. The spate of abductions and killings in some parts of the 27 local councils of the state has been rising of late.

A few months ago, a Roman Catholic priest who was travelling from his parish in Orlu to his hometown in Ideato South local council to prepare for the burial of his father, decided to stop at a popular junction in Orlu, known as Banana Junction. He met his waterloo there as unknown gunmen abducted him. Two days later, his body was found in a bush. His car was also recovered.

Some weeks after the incident, a priest fondly called Fr. Jude had gone to have his hair cut in a barber's shop within Orlu zone about 8.00pm and was abducted from there. He was also found dead.

Not too long after the ugly incident, another Roman Catholic priest lecturing at Imo State Polytechnic was waylaid by gunmen along the Ihiagwa-Obinze road on his way to work. They reportedly dragged him into a bush and killed him. His body was later recovered and interred.

Incessant cases of abductions and killings forced Roman Catholic priests to stage a protest while demanding maximum security for all and sundry in the state.

There have also been cases of farmers-herders clashes in the state. Only last Sunday, a young man was allegedly shut dead around Toronto Junction, Uratta community in Owerri North local government council by herders. Sources said the herders were grazing their cattle about 5.00am and was challenged by their victim for destroying people's crops. In the process, a fisticuff ensued between the herdsmen and owners of the farm. One of the herders was said to have reached for a gun and killed the young man, after which they ran away abandoning scores of their cattle. The enraged community members ceased the cattle until security operatives arrived to handle the situation. There were fears of reprisal attacks but police said they were on top of the situation.

Meanwhile, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Rabbiu Ladodo, though new in the state, has assured residents of the resolve of the Command to secure lives and property.

Ritual Killers On The Prowl In Ondo

From Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure

Just like the stubborn disposition and persistence displayed in Wole Soyinka's African poem titled, "Abiku," crime and insecurity are giving residents of Ondo State and security agencies sleepless nights. The tide has shifted from armed robbery, herdsmen menace, kidnapping to gruesome murder, arson and abduction for ritual purposes. The state recorded about five incidents within the past five weeks.

In Ondo city, the headquarters of Ondo West local council, some gunmen recently abducted a 62-year-old woman with hunchback, Ibironke Abodunde, and all efforts to find her were to no avail.

There were rumours that her son sold her to ritualists for N7 million but was later asked to return the money by his accomplices after the purpose for abducting her failed. According to reports, they threatened to kill him if he did not refund their money and he too insisted that they should return his mother before they could get their money.

However, the first child of the woman, Monsurat, refuted the report and revealed that her mother did not have any son, adding that the only male child by the woman died at infancy some months after birth.

A source within the family however pointed out that one of her tenants, a herbalist and who had disappeared since the incident happened, might be mistaken for the son.

In another development, a septuagenarian mother of five, Mrs. Medinat Ala, was killed at her residence by suspected ritualists, who removed her womb, vagina and breasts in Okeagbe area of Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko North East council. She was attacked in the wee hours of the day and clubbed to death with pestle before they removed those vital organs from her body. It was learnt that a neighbour who wanted to rescue her was attacked too and later died in the hospital.

According to sources, one of her tenants was being held by the police as prime suspect to the crime.

In a swift move to curtail insecurity in the state, the government after its last State Executive Council (SEC) meeting placed embargo on building of new hotels, clubs and beer parlour joints in Ijapo and Alagbaka estates.

Recently, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Undie Adie, reiterated the commitment of the police to clamp down on criminals across the 18 local government areas of the state.

Robbers, Kidnappers In Tricycles Besiege Aba, Umuahia

From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia

In Abia State, crimes such as snatching of people's belongings, kidnappings, armed robbery and use of illegal drugs, among others, are very common on the streets of Aba and Umuahia, the state capital. And most of these crimes are perpetrated with the use of tricycles.

Recently, a baby boy of about two years old was snatched from his mother from a moving tricycle in Umuahia. But he was lucky as the loud cries of his mother forced the criminals to throw the baby out from the tricycle.

Another woman, a petty trader, had after making her purchases engaged a tricycle rider to convey her home at Umuahia. But while she was still loading her wares into the tricycle, the rider made away with the ones already loaded.

Due to growing criminalities that were being traced to tricycle riders in Aba and Umuahia, the state government has restricted their operations from 6am to 7pm daily. Any tricycle rider that defies the order faces instant 'forfeiture' of his tricycle to security agencies who are now stationed along the roads to enforce the order. Recall that the government had years back banned the use of motorcycles for transportation in the two cities.

These measures by the government have inflicted a lot of hardship on residents. For instance, most traders close their shops at 6pm unless one is prepared to trek home.

Cross River: 50 Kidnapped in Five Months

From Tina Todo, Calabar

Kidnapping, which was thought to have ended in Cross River State, has again become a daily routine for criminals. Sadly, perpetrators of this heinous crime target both the average citizen and the rich.

Presently, most residents in Calabar, the state capital, do not stay out after 6pm due to the fear of being kidnapped. Over 50 cases of kidnapping have been reported in the state in the past five months with little or no effort to get the victims back in piece.

The most recent case was the kidnap of a Medical Doctor, Dr. Ogbonna Uchenna-Aju, on May 3, 2019. The doctor was still in the den of his abductors as at the time of filing this report.

Sometime last year, two medical doctors were abducted by unknown gunmen and later released after paying a huge some of money.

Journalists were not left out of the kidnapping attacks going on in the state. Just two weeks ago, a staff of the Nigerian Chronicle, Deacon Otu Bassey, was buried after suffering from a heart attack that led to his death. Otu was kidnapped and released in February this year but could not survive the fear and trauma experienced while in captivity.

The most shocking of all was the case of a broadcaster in Cross River Broadcasting Cooperation (CRBC), Petertex Etim, aka, the God Father.

He was abducted on January 11, this year, as he was driving out of his house to go to work. All efforts to get him released have proved abortive.

When The Guardian visited his house in Calabar, the wife was said to have been taken away by a friend because of her grieve but the son, Richard Etim, said the family would not be able to say anything for now.

However, some of his friends and colleagues spoke emotionally about him.

A former state chairman of NUJ and Director in CRBC, Mr. Eniang Edem, said it came as a shock when the news of Petertex's kidnap got to them.

He said: "People have been kidnapped and released after a month or few weeks but my friend's own is a different case. It is a terrible thing. The question we ask is: why will anybody kidnap Peterex? He was not a politician or a businessman; he was just a broadcaster to a state organisation. He was not a troublesome person. He was very friendly and an entertainer."

Edem called on the traditional rulers to use traditional methods to tackle the issue of incessant kidnapping in the state.

He noted: "It is unfortunate that our society has degenerated to this level. We know that government has put in some strategies to see that security issues are managed but I think that more needs to be done and like I say, security is everyone's business.

"The traditional rulers have to be innovative because we hear that in some areas, they go traditional with issues like this and anybody that is involved in kidnapping will have himself to blame. We cannot be at the mercy of miscreants and criminals."

Police Rate Akwa Ibom One Of The Most Peaceful States

From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo

Akwa Ibom State is one of the most peaceful states in the country today. The issue of insecurity could be said to be very low as there has not been any serious breach of the peace in the state.

This peaceful situation in the state was re-echoed by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Zaki Ahmed, who was posted to the state three weeks ago.

Zaki in his maiden press conference noted: "I am here to serve the good people of Akwa Ibom State. This state is rated as one of the most peaceful states in the federation. I shall invigorate the existing strategies to achieve a more peaceful state."

Nevertheless, the state was notorious in 2016, 2017 and 2018 because of the activities of cultists in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun council areas of the state. Within the period under review, houses were burnt, families were displaced, while others were either kidnapped or killed. But the situation in the affected communities has returned to normal. The state government in early 2018 called those involved in the skirmishes for peace talks and granted them amnesty.

Speaking on the return of peace to the area, Mr. Etim Job from a neighboring council area said the government has brought an enduring peace to the area, noting that nightlife and farming activities have returned.

"Since after the peace talk and the granting of amnesty, we can now sleep at night. We can go to farms without looking for the assistance of the security agents. We now go to our different markets without fear of being robbed or kidnapped," he said.

In Ogun State, kidnappings occur once in a while. Last year, there were one or two of such incidents in Ijebu area of the state but this year there has not been any recorded incident so far.

The latest kidnapping case in the state occurred last year when a Chinese national, Mr Lee Xian Qiang, was kidnapped but rescued by the police.

Armed robbery too has reduced drastically compared to few years back when bank and other robberies were daily occurrences. In those days, some banks closed shops and left the state. This year, there is no record of major robbery in the state.

That is not to say the state is crime-free. There are some trouble prone areas. One of such trouble areas is the Abule-Iroko community, a border town between Lagos and Ogun State.

Residents of the community are alleging security threats as, according to them, the crime rate keep on increasing. Even though the community could boast of close to 300, 000 population, there is neither a police station nor police post.

One of the residents, Mr Daniel Odiase, who spoke with The Guardian said: "We live under fear because our town is a crime prone area"

He revealed that on Saturday April 6 at 11:45 pm, robbers invaded his compound but through divine intervention his household and other neighbours were saved.

"I reported the incident at Otta Area Police Command and I expected the police to have carried out a surveillance in the area but they did nothing," he alleged.

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