If there is any state in Nigeria where the fight against criminal elements is genuinely being fought and is succeeding, that state is Anambra. It is indeed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s credit that the menace of criminals in the state masquerading as Unkown Gunmen has drastically reduced, with the remnants on the run. But as in all societies, crime cannot be entirely wiped out.
It is a fact that despite the best efforts of the Anambra State Government in crime fighting, kidnap incidents are still occurring. Just recently, two men were kidnapped in the Alor Area of the state and shortly after, thrown down from a flyover elsewhere which resulted in the death of one of them, with the other man barely struggling to live.
Kidnapping is one of the worst kind of crimes against humanity and something that must not be condoned in any society. To this extent, any measure or measures taken to stamp it out will be very much welcome.
Fides understands that although the Federal Government of Nigeria has since signed into law, capital punishment for the offence of kidnapping, such a law is yet to be domesticated in many states, including Anambra. What obtains in Anambra is rather a law that permits the state government to demolish property belonging to kidnappers and converting same to public use. This has been going on in Anambra State since the days of former Governor Peter Obi when the first demolition of the homes of kidnappers took place.
We are therefore calling on the executive arm of the present Anambra State Government to begin the process of having the Federal Law on capital punishment for kidnappers domesticated in the state by initiating a bill for such which will be sent to the state legislature.
In a similar vein, the state government should build on the successes being recorded against gunmen in the state, rather than relenting. Whatever measures taken so far that have led to the current successes should be maintained and even improved upon if possible. There is no gain saying the fact that the activities of these hoodlums have taken a very damgaing toll on the social and economic life of the state. Up till now, business activities remain grounded in most parts of the state, with Awka, the capital city, virtually the only place not touched by it.
Many schools in the state now no longer open on Mondays, even after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which started it all had announced that it was no more directing that social and business activities be shut on Mondays.
It is not as if the majority of Anambra citizens and residents love staying at home on Mondays but rather because of the fear of attacks by the hoodlums masquerading as freedom fighters. It is our view that once government is able to decisively deal with those behind the attacks, normal life will resume all over the state.
One of the ways government can achieve this is to continue to work with communities and also ensuring that no community appears to be covertly supporting the ghost Monday directive. This is against the backdrop of the fact that some commiunities have imposed fines on those who come out for business on Mondays. Such an attitude will only serve to instil more fear on the local population and boost the maorale of the criminals.
At the moment, however, we are satisfied with the state government’s response to the activities of gunmen and other hoodlums in Anambra State.
The support of the populace will therefore, further help to maintain the peace that the state is beginning to enjoy and such support is not an option but a necessity.