The killing of policemen and some other security operatives in Anambra State has raised fears of a new wave of banditry in area in order to get recognition from the Federal Government just like Sheik Gumi is doing for bandits and herdsmen in the North.
Since January this year, 15 policemen have so far been killed by unknown gunmen while16 have been injured as well as other security operatives that were injured in the line of duty. Just less than one month after the incident at Mkpologwu and Omogho in Aguata and Orumba North Local Government Areas took place, the gunmen unleashed further attacks on security operatives when they stormed Okacha- Neni axis, killed three policemen, burnt the police operational vehicle and took away arms.
On the same day, the Awkuzu junction in Oyi Local Government Area got its own share of the killings, when two Naval men were killed by the unknown gunmen, who took away their General Purpose Machine Gun and other arms. While the Anambra State Police Command is trying to unravel the mystery behind the killings, just 24 hours after the Awkuzu Neni killings, two men of the Nigerian Correction Centre aka Prison were shot while conveying inmates to court and their guns taken away from them.
The security situation in Anambra State appears to have several colourations, each pointing at the laxity of Governor Willie Obiano in the area of security as the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, alleged that the boast of the APGA government that Anambra is the safest state in the country was a ruse.
“What is happening today is a strong indication that the government has been overwhelmed by the trappings of governance in the state.” But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Barr. Ifeatu Obiokoye, countered Nwobu, contending that security is not just the duty of government alone but all and sundry.
“It is amazing that that people enjoy playing politics with the security of lives and property even when they are stakeholders in the security issue. Is Nwobu saying that as the state chairman of a political party, he has no role to play in the area of security than just to criticize? “Be it known that the government of Governor Willie Obiano has zero tolerance for insecurity and he has continued to live up to it in the last seven years.
The incidents that took place in our state is regrettable and government in the Joint Task Force on Security made up of all the services in the state are on top of the moment and security plans are not made public for very obvious reasons,”he said. However, another school of thought is of the view that the new born Eastern Security Network, ESN, is mopping up arms and carrying out reprisals on security operatives in response to the alleged massacre in Orlu, Imo State.
Though, the bandits are yet to be identified, there is a growing apprehension that the killing is a prelude to sacking the Fulani Herdsmen from their respective farm lands in the state. Former Anambra State Governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, is currently expressing fears of anarchy in the South East, blaming the situation on the military invasion of Orlu town aimed at cowing the area. “Instead of addressing the problems in the area, government has chosen to toe the path of killing the peace in the land and the people are reacting.
“I don’t know about that security network because I am not well informed about it and I cannot look at banditry. But all I know is that the people are seeking for another solution to their problems and the Federal Government should rise to the occasion,” he said. According to the Coordinator Eastern Farmers Association, (EFA), Mr Paul Achalla.
“What do you expect from a society that has lost faith in governance and its leadership? Go to Orlu town and you will discover that it is now a ghost town, no thanks to the military invasion of the town and innocent people are being killed by security operatives and herdsmen under the nose of the authority.
A police officer, who resides in Umunze town, close to Mkpologwu and Omogho communities in Orumba North and South Local Government Areas, told this reporter that the concept of taking away guns after the killings indicates that a new gang of bandits are enriching their armoury for a planned heavy onslaught to create room for the taking over of the ESN.
“As a police officer and I have been in service for 27 years and that is how it starts. Very soon, police armouries would face strong attacks and those police stations that were burnt, the armouries were looted by the bandits.” Similarly, there is this fear that the unknown gunmen may launch further attack in some other parts of the state such as Ihiala and Nnewi South Local Government Areas as the operations of the gunmen are at the fringes of the state that has border towns to other states around Anambra. It is also being feared that Ekwusigo Local Government Area as well as Awka North Local Government Area could also be a target as the two council areas share boundaries with Enugu State and Onitsha enroute to Owerri, the Imo State capital.
That of Ihiala and Nnewi South local government areas have links to Imo and Abia State through Awka Community to Mgbidi in Imo State while Nnewi South has a connection with Arondizuogu in Imo State, linking the Umuahia-Okigwe – Enugu Expressway.