There has been a spate of insecurity in Anambra state recently, causing residents to sleep with two eyes open and those who cannot afford to immolate their sleep are choosing to relocate to safer neighborhoods as the end to these precarious issues is not in sight.
Onitsha, Awka, Nkpor, Nnewi and other towns in Anambra are feeling the heat from robbers, kidnappers, the popular gunmen and other notorious groups. For the past seven months, news about endangerment are now normal and citizens wait for who would be the next victim.
Only last week, the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the Anambra Guber race, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, was attacked by notorious gunmen in his country home while holding a meeting with his supporters. Three of his armed police guards were killed and their guns carted away. This may have had nothing to do with Soludo’s Political ambition because that attack followed same pattern of the faceless gunmen killing security personnel and taking away their riffles.
On the same day the attack on Soludo happened, the Commissioner Of Public Utilities Engr. Emeka Ezenwanne was kidnapped and released days later after. Some persons closed to the victim said a ransom was negotiate and paid before Ezenwanne gained freedom.
Residents and business people in the state have cried out to the government to act decisively on the Security challenges in the state.
A substantial amount from the ₦144 billion appropriation budget is set aside for Security and helpless citizens are asking to be helped so they can carry out their daily activities without fear of being burgled, robbed or kidnapped.
Amma Charity, a Facebook user, took to her page to recount a gruelling encounter she and her co-travellers experienced in the hands of juvenile midday robbers on the Niger Bridge, Onitsha. She wrote, “the bus I was traveling in had a close shave a few hours ago or let’s say what would have been so.
“Anambra State is gradually becoming a den of criminals (consisting of all who fall under this category) and the way it’s going, I wouldn’t be wrong to say it will soon become a norm, I will tell you guys why.
“Sleeping mid way into my journey from school, I unconsciously woke up immediately I got to Onitsha, few meters away from the Niger bridge, Picked up my phone which the ear piece was plugged in my ears listening to music while I was sleeping. Shortly after I logged into Facebook and saw Gabriel Blacker Ezeh post about the clash at Eke Awka, the unexpected happened,along Owerri Road, I think after that Zénith Bank, wasn’t paying attention to details though, group of boys, about 5 or so, surrounded our bus, all holding a bottle of beer. One slapped our driver, and asked him
‘You dae craze, abi you wan die?'”
“Confused me didn’t know what was happening. I actually thought, our driver had hit their bus or keke, but that wasn’t it. One of the guys who was holding a bottle of Gulder, emptied it and tried breaking the glass close to the seat behind the driver’s, fortunately it didn’t break as the glass obviously outpowered the bottle,”
“He went on to stab the driver on the palm and blood flowed freely. This was when they wanted to collect the driver’s key but he refused as he struggled with them. Apparently, the plan was to destabilise our driver, knowing that our vehicle won’t move anymore, they can now fully prey on us.”
“It didn’t end there. The woman behind the driver’s seat held a phone in her hand and they were threatening her by repeating same words they said to the driver if she wants to die. The had to go through the window of the third seat row and collected the phone from the woman, safe to say she willingly gave it to him as she was literally scared; a phone which just clocked 2 days today, this we got to know later because she told us.”
“Meanwhile while all was happening, I wasn’t myself. My soul literally left my body. I quickly hid my phone under the kinda carpet behind the driver’s seat same with my cross bag. What just came to my mind was God, my mum and death! They came to the door side, I was seated right after the person who stays in front with the driver, you could imagine how close I was to the door. All thanks to Peace Mass poor vehicle condition, they tried opening the passengers door, omo they couldn’t as you would only be able to open the door from the inside”
“My mind was if this door opens, worse to happen they will stab me as I had already hidden my valuables from them except my life which was at that point in God’s hands. They resorted to hitting the window glass with their bottles of beer, an iron and what I don’t know. One of the guys, tried to collect the phone of the girl right behind me, she ran to the edge of the vehicle, they struggled with her for her bag which contained money and clothes and other things which they were able to make away with.A lot of things happened at the back which I can’t categorically tell, but a guys phone was collected, a passenger among the last row.”
“Now, all these happened between the hour of 12 in the afternoon today being Sunday, With passerby minding their business.The bottle of beer they had was chilled as it had ice on it, apparently those guys were around that route in the shop waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike as they was a bit of traffic jam then.
Amidst all these occurrences, we were all cheering on the driver (poor old man, all thanks to God for giving him strength to carry on) to please start the vehicle so we could leave there as they seem to have gone to their hide out, to get a better equipment to break the glass or in a keke to run after us.We were hoping to stop at any check point .I had in mind, those police men who pitch either before Rojenny abi after there but unfortunately and maybe as expected to have been, they were not there. Still on the move, we were also looking out for maybe a pharmaceutical shop so the driver could be treated, but we saw none.We had to finally stop at Oraifite.”
Mr Emmanuel Moses also recounted his experience in the hands of irate juvenile robbers in Onitsha . He said ,”I give glory to God Almighty for a Successful Traditional Marriage of my Beloved Son, Brother and Friend of my Childhood; Devil Struck but God showed his potency. On our way to Ibusa for the Traditional Marraige of my Beloved Son Mr Samuel Ikioghaye aka Emperor, we were attacked by some Youths who took advantage of the gridlock few meters from the Onitsha Bridge.”
“In my usual manner I wanted to come out and confront the Cowards that were hitting our bus; an angel sitting next to me advised me not to confront them that they are deer devils little did I know that they were armed to the teeth with matchet and guns I stayed put and watched these vagabonds intimidate and steal three android phones from the bus in broad day light with standerbys.
“Truly; God Is with me (Emmanuel) as they looked passed me without breaking my glass, some of us sustain minor injuries and cuts, to God be the glory we were safe in his hands. We have a terrible situation which we must collectively confront and conquer, as Anambra is not safe”
On Wednesday , Unknown gunmen in a Sienna reportedly attacked some local vigilante in Ukpor, Nnewi south .
Ifeanyichukwu Ogbaji also recounted his experience ,” Three vigilantes at Nkpor Junction, stationed at new Tecno office, were disarmed two days ago, in broad day light ,1pm or thereabout, by unknown gunmen. No life was lost. ”
More residents of the state are coming out to share more experiences of their close shave. It is really getting out of control.
In 2018, Anambra State Government will launched a CCTV Security Initiative which was approved by the state’s executive council . Tens of surveillance cameras for the purpose of watertight security were purchased. These surveillance cameras were placed on mango trees, as well as other strategic locations for crime detections.
This may be the right time to deploy every surveillance and security architecture in the coffers of the state government. Anambra state prides itself in being a state that budgets more on Security; and those monies would be a waste if the Security apparatuses are not used to secure lives and properties in the state.