Anambra State is reputed as one of the safest states in the country. The decrease in the number of high profile crimes lends credence to this assertion. However, the reported and unreported incidences of crime lately are threatening the peace of the state once more.
Just last week, a man believed to be an aide to oil magnet, Arthur Eze, was reportedly shot dead in Dunukofia by unknown gunmen. Aside this, is the growing rate of road side robberies across the state in known bad spots. Recently a man and his friend were ordered at gunpoint to lie down on the road after an evening relaxation somewhere in Agulu. They were robbed of cash and possessions.
Not long ago at Nodu in Okpuno area of Awka, a gang of robbers had blocked a road and robbed passers-by for close to twenty minutes unchallenged before fleeing the scene.
Of more worry is the failure of the police and other security agents to man known dangerous spots and areas in the state where crimes are recorded almost on a weekly basis, either in the morning or late evening hours. Sometimes the police are not far off from those scenes.
Such places exist in Obosi, Onitsha and Awka. That the criminal activities in those places have continued unabated is an indictment on the security agencies.
It has indeed been observed that the police, while concentrating on harassing people with a view to extorting money from them, fail to live up to their responsibilities. It is no secret that those police officers using patrol vehicles do not patrol with them. They are usually seen parked in one spot, with the officers coming out to stop road users in late evenings to extort money.
The reason for providing patrol vehicles is for those vehicles to be used in patrolling neighbourhoods and vicinities. This way, criminals will not predict where the law officers will be at any given time. But when such officers are always in one place, their movement and location become predictable and that is why many robberies occur a few distances from police checkpoints or locations.
This is therefore calling on the appropriate quarters to direct the security personnel in the state to live up to their billing. Police work is more proactive than reactive; there is no substitute to that.
We believe the police here know what to do but sometimes are carried away by materialism, hence the recourse to extortion instead of their actual work.
The Anambra State government should also wade in and redirect the police, Gov Willie Obiano being the chief security officer of the state. It is saddening that despite several declarations by past inspectors general of police against extortion of road users by their men, the practice has continued.
The Anambra State government and the state police command are hereby urged to ensure a full final stop to this so that the police should squarely face their work.
And that work includes mounting their presence in all danger spots in the state which they know very well; a development that will help check the gradual resurgence in crime and criminality.