The decision by the government of Anambra State to launch an aerial surveillance of the state, especially the border towns, with the use of a police helicopter is indeed a welcome development.
This surveillance is the state's reaction to the threat posed by the Fulani herdsmen whose activities have left a bloody trail across many communities in the country where their cattle have been grazing.
In the aftermath of the last major conflict between the Fulanis and their host community, Nimbo, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State which left many people of the community dead, there had been a clamour by the people of the south east states for their governors to embark on proactive measures to forestall either a repeat of the Enugu massacre or to avoid such from happening at all.
It was in the wake of this clamour that Governor Obiano of Anambra State had promised to take steps towards ensuring that the state remained safe from any invasion.
Apart from convening a meeting between leaders of communities in the state and the Hausa community leaders, the government launched an air surveillance of the state to monitor the activities of the herdsmen, with security personnel detailed to take appropriate action once they detect any anomaly or strange movements.
The government's moves towards securing the state in the wake of the Fulani herdsmen's insurgency are commendable.
However, it is hoped that hotlines will be provided to communities, through their vigilantes, for immediate communication to appropriate agencies in the event of any danger. Such information should be immediately matched with action to avoid the scenario in Enugu State where disaster struck despite the security agencies being alerted to the danger many days before.
Government should also ensure that community vigilantes are trained and armed appropriately to be ready to provide the first line of defence in any emergency. This is necessary owing to experiences in some states in the past, when matters got out of hand before the arrival of the police and army.
It is also necessary for government to closely monitor Hausa settlements in the state and occasionally detail security operatives to search those places. This follows the reported discovery of caches of arms among Hausa settlements, including a Mosque, in Aba, Abia State, recently.
Government should also take over the procurement of arms for the vigilantes as leaving it for the communities will not work. It is on record that vigilantes in many communities today do not have enough arms as the communities cannot fund such. This is why security in many of such communities is porous.
Although the state has been experiencing a new lease of life as it concerns the menace of armed robbers and kidnappers, the situation in many communities is still bad as idle youths have been holding the people there to ransom with their nefarious activities.
We thus enjoin the state government to look into this situation as we believe that a peaceful community is better placed to combat a foreign threat.
Anambra State should not rest on its oars as far as maintaining the peace is concerned, as criminals always devise new methods of operation.
In the meantime, we commend the Anambra State government on its responsiveness so far to security issues.