Posted by News Express | 28 August 2016 | 2,478 times
About a month ago, I spoke about the creeping in of state of insecurity in Enugu, the Coal City, and some people perhaps felt I was not being friendly with or to a government. Anyone that knows me will attest that I am not the type that will not call a spade a spade even if it concerns me or anyone related to me in one way or the other. I do not succumb to blackmail, semantics or sentiments. That was why some of us parted with a particular State Governor some years back due to his Hitler-like style of government then, when he completely ran a failed government and held his office and government as his own fiefdom. In his majesty he regaled in a self glorification and was claiming that his state was working but nothing was actually working except brazen corruption and rapacity. He was engaging in wasteful things, self adulation, encouraging fear and terror, with his goons sprawling all over the city.
Now, cases of armed banditry seem to be rising in Enugu and if care is not taken the city may slide back to the era between May 1999 and May 2007. Between May 2007 and May 2015, social life in the city was very sweet, resulting in the increase in establishment of many types of recreation or hospitality facilities by government and private individuals because the then administration created the enabling environment, which later earned the state or city the safest in the country and was attracting people in their droves from outside the city. A situation where virtually every hotel was always fully booked at weekends because of the influx of people from outside every weekend, some of whom would prefer to lodge in Enugu and from there visit other places outside the city and even visit other neighbouring states and return to the city in the evening or would be shuttling between the city and the outside places they had engagements, even if it was many days engagements. Night life returned to the city and different types of jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector were created with many pubs sprouting and sprawling everywhere everyday in the city and the economic life or well being of many began to improve. But today the situation obviously appears to be changing for bad to worse.
Two days ago, there was a gun duel between the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad and a gang of armed bandits in the day light in the streets of the city. These days stories of armed bandits emerging from nowhere and attacking people in the shops or in the street, snatching cars and getting away are heard always. I hail the SARS in Enugu. They are trying but the state government should help improve or check the rising state of insecurity. The present regime should go and ask former Governor Sullivan Chime how he did it for the eight years of tranquility in the city. It is very important, if the present regime is not merely paying lip service to provision of security.
When Chime came, first he bought tens of security vans and distributed them to the Police, Army, Air Force, Civil Defence and other government security agencies in the state and ensured that they were patrolling everywhere in the city 24 hours. At night in the wee hours then one could always here the siren of one or some of these security vans wailing, perhaps to warn and frighten away hoodlums and it worked. Much later during that regime, after many of the city roads had been reconstructed and non-stop street lights at night installed in the major or critical roads and axis, the state government bought modern speed moving cars and gave to the Police, with patrol numbers and security alert numbers boldly inscribed on them. The cars were always positioned 24 hours at strategic road points and as soon as any security breach or armed robbery report was lodged or received by the Police, the standby vehicle near the place of the reported incident was detailed by the Police to move in before reinforcement came from others that would be detailed to follow.
Please security of lives and property is very important and should be taken very seriously indeed. Not mere claims to deceive the people living outside. It is not a matter of media hype that all is well and the government is performing wonders, just in the media. We should be fair, just and truthful to ourselves and to the people we are governing. Let the rising state of fear, apprehension over security breaches in areas of armed banditry not degenerate to a permanent or regular feature in the city.
•Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, whose photo appears alongside this piece, is a veteran journalist and public affairs commentator based in Enugu.
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