By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has noted with concern the continued expression of anger and disgust by well-meaning individuals and groups over the recent heightened criminality in the state, particularly the perceived senseless murder of Mrs. Harira Jibril and her four children by unknown gunmen.
In a release signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Christian Aburime, and made available to newsmen in Awka, Professor Soludo noted in particular, the patriotic condemnation of the gruesome act by Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), as well as their demands that the perpetrators of the act be fished out and brought to justice.
The governor to assured Nigerians, irrespective of their religion and ethnic nationalities living and engaging in lawful transactions/business in Anambra, of their safety, even as he promised that the government was doing all within the ambits of the law to apprehend and deal with the criminals.
The release stated, ‘Governor Soludo has, without mincing words, described the May 20 killing of Mrs. Jibril and her four children by unidentified assailants as barbaric and unacceptable and has vowed to fish out the perpetrators and ensure they are dealt with according to law. There is no going back on that.
‘The government of Anambra State under Prof Soludo cannot shirk or relent on its constitutional responsibility of securing the life and property of the citizens and residents.’
Soludo said some proactive actions were already being taken to allay the fears of the residents, assure them of their protection and send clear messages to the hoodlums in the state that their days were numbered.
To this effect, the release stated, the governor had reached out to and condoled with the family of the late Mrs. Harira Jibril; while taking some security measures to ensure that there were no hiding places for criminals in the state.
Part of the efforts, Fides gathered, was his Wednesday May 25, 2022 broadcast to the people of Anambra State, in which he listed steps by his administration to restore peace and order in the state.
Among the measures was the release of dedicated telephone lines for residents to call to report any criminality or suspicious conducts. He also placed a 6pm to 6am curfew, from Thursday, May 26, on motorcycles (okada), tricycles (keke), and shuttle buses in Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba South Local Government areas until further notice.
Governor Soludo insisted that no part of Anambra State (house, bush or forest) would be used as camps for criminals, warning that anyone with a gun in a camp would be considered a criminal in Anambra State, and that the government and people would work with security agencies to flush them out.
He maintained that the State Government would, pursuant to its powers under the Land Use Act, revoke and acquire any land found to be harboring the criminals for public purpose.
‘Henceforth, every community is required to provide information on any part of their land occupied by these criminals as camps. If the community fails to do so, the government will take over such land,’ Soludo had warned.
He added that any buildings found to be harbouring kidnappers and murderers in the state would, as provided by the Criminal Code (Amendment No.3) Law 2013, be forfeited to the government.
To that effect, he said, all landlords had been directed to proceed on what he termed Operation Know-Your-Tenant by keeping appropriate records of their tenants and reporting anyone suspected of being involved in criminal activities.
All hotels were also directed to obtain the means of identification of their guests, keep an inventory of all guests and immediately report any suspicious persons or group of persons checking into or converging in their facilities.
‘Above all, various ranges of bounties have been placed on criminals in the state. These are some of the sincere measures to ensure that peace returns in the state.
‘The steps are already yielding satisfactory results with more successes anticipated. The governor assures of uprooting any form of criminality in the states. He encourages all to go about their lawful duties, assured that their security is the number one priority of the government,’ the statement read.