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Insecurity: Anambra vigilante operatives conniving with criminals, says Soludo

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The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has alleged that some of the state vigilante operatives work hand-in-hand with criminals in the communities, hence sabotaging the government’s efforts to tackle insecurity.

Soludo accused the personnel of the state-based security outfit of entering into a covenant with some criminal elements, adding that the situation has made the criminals infiltrate the ranks of the security outfit.

The governor stated this in Awka, on Thursday, during a meeting with the state’s traditional rulers and president-generals of communities.

He said the development was why he had yet to sign the monthly payments of the vigilante operatives while vowing to hold the traditional rulers and presidents-general accountable if the vigilante operatives in their communities misbehave.

He said, “Part of the problem we experience is that many of the vigilante operatives took oaths with criminals; they were infiltrated. How many of those in charge of community vigilantes reside in their communities?

“This is a very critical question I throw to you all. How can the Commander of Achalla Vigilante, for example, be living in Awka or Onitsha? It’s not possible, which is why I raise this fundamental issue of command and control.

“We, as a government, are determined to fix the insecurity situation in Ihiala, but the community must be prepared for that, even if it means reconstituting the vigilante force.

“Communities must show a concerted effort to police their areas and enable them to open businesses on Mondays.

“They must convince their residents to open businesses consistently, and if this is done persistently, the issue of sit-at-home will eventually die out.”

While expressing concerns over the high rate of insecurity and cultism, especially in Ihiala LGA, the governor reiterated that his government spends the most on security infrastructure in Ihiala compared to any other local government area in the state.

He noted that the central agenda of the meeting was security, environmental, and community development.

The meeting commenced with a moment of silence held in honour of the late President-General of the Umuoji community, Chief Silas Onyima, who was murdered last Friday, and the victims of the Odu-Igbo tragedy in Ochanja Market in Onitsha.

The state vigilante group was established in September 1999 as a result of rising cases of armed robbery in the commercial city of Onitsha, but the Anambra State House of Assembly enacted the Anambra State Vigilante Group law in 2004, under Dr Chris Ngige-led government. The vigilante law was enacted to give private groups the right to prevent crime in the state.

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