Abia State Government on Friday expressed readiness to increase efforts in instituting preventive measures toward boosting its fight against crime and criminality.
Retired Capt. Awa Udensi, the Security Adviser to Abia Governor, said this while addressing newsmen on the clearing of thick vegetations used as hideouts by criminals in Lomara-Nneato in Umunneochi Local Government Area (LGA).
Udensi described security as a collective responsibility, adding that the government was focused on building this into the consciousness of the citizens, especially at the grassroots.
He said that the government had created platforms that would encourage community policing in Abia as part of its efforts to make the state to be a safe haven for citizens and investors.
Udensi said that the government was committed to making Abia too hot for criminals, hence the commencement of clearing of thickly forested areas that serve as criminal hideouts and escape routes.
He said; “the geographical location of Abia places it at the centre of seven states and any criminal breach in any of these states affects Abia.
“All forests used for negative purposes to undermine the security of the state would not be spared as there is a need to clear that forest to make it easy for security patrol to continually take place.
“Thickly forested vegetation that will be used by criminals should be cleared up for easy monitoring by security agents as there is no hiding place for men of the underworld.
Udensi said that it had become the tradition of the government to demolish any location being used as hideouts or escape routes for criminals in the state.
He described security as the collective responsibility of all and required the efforts of stakeholders in the southeast region to secure the region from criminals.
Udensi said that plans were underway to establish security check points along the Lomara-Nneato road and other flashpoints in the state.
He called on citizens to volunteer vital information to security agencies in order to make the fight against crime effective in the state.
Udensi commended the South-East Governors’ Forum for taking steps to initiate a regional security outfit.
He, therefore, called for a well-planned and articulated legislation that would be applied to make South-East safe.
Also, Mr Ifeanyi Madu, the Chairman of Umunneochi LGA, said that the exercise involved the clearing of bush paths and areas around the Spiritan Catholic University on Lomara-Nneato road that served as hideouts for criminal elements.
Madu said that the council was working in line with the state government’s vision to boost security and socioeconomic development.
He said that the exercise was aimed at restoring security in the area and pleaded with the government to expedite action in setting up security check points within the area.
The Secretary of Umunneochi LGA, Mr Onyekachi Ubah, said that the exercise was necessitated by the need to tackle crime as various parts of the council had become flashpoints for all kinds of criminal activities.
Ubah added that the exercise would enable motorists and road users to see the road from afar to avoid falling victim to the criminal elements and as well enhance security patrols.
Earlier, Prof. Remijus Onyenwenyi, the Vice Chancellor Spiritan Catholic University, described the exercise as a welcome development that would bring an end to the activities of criminals in the area.
Onyenwenyi, who was represented by Prof. Augustine Onyeneke, said that some staff members of the university, especially reverend fathers that were lecturers, had been victims of the operations of criminal elements in the area.
He thanked the state government for coming to their rescue, adding that this had given them a sense of belonging. (NAN)