Chukwuma Soludo, governor of Anambra, says eight LGAs in the state were under siege by hoodlums when he assumed office.
Soludo spoke on Tuesday at the induction organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for governors-elect at the presidential villa, Abuja.
In recent years, the south-east has been grappling with insecurity characterised by killings and abductions linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a proscribed separatist group.
However, IPOB has repeatedly denied being responsible for the attacks, insisting that its self-determination agenda is done peacefully.
Soludo said he corrected the “dysfunctional” security system in the state and librated the LGAs.
He said governors need a strong and independent security system to tackle insecurity in their domains.
“I think for those of us who are governors and the governors-elect, a major concern that we need to get onto is the national security architecture,” he said.
“How do we hope to survive in a dysfunctional system because the architecture is dysfunctional? And it is such an architecture that the problems we face are very local, requiring our local actions, but the instrument is out there.
“The other thing is funding in the whole architecture. The federal government, which has a near monopoly on these agencies, cannot fund them. And then they have to foist on the states to be the ones to provide the funding but which is also not a very accountable system.
“For me, I’m just a one-year-old baby on the job. Before I assumed office, it was so clear to me about the nature of the functionality and how we must cope to survive.
“We got to revive and recreate our state strike force vigilante service which had become awesome in terms of their work and then set up approaches to the non-kinetic approaches by calling on all those in the bush. Because when I assumed office, eight local governments in Anambra were totally under siege taken over by these hoodlums in the bushes, criminals, kidnappers and so on masquerading under the guise of agitation and all of that.
Soludo said his administration has been decisive in going after criminals who commit havoc on the pretence of agitation.
“And part of what we had to do very decisively with a multilateral approach, was to challenge the thesis. The main argument that was fueling people hiding under this agitation was to commit all kinds of criminality. We have to call them out as plain criminals, kidnappers who are kidnapping for ransom. And until that was called out, you can’t solve a problem you haven’t identified,” he said.
“We set up what we’ll call the truth, justice, and peace commission. We had even a security trust fund which mobilises the masses and well-meaning individuals donating very massively to it. We launched an operation getting everybody involved.“
‘SECURITY AGENCIES NEED MORE FUNDING’
Also speaking, Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, said security agencies need improved funding to adequately tackle insecurity.
“I took time to study various security challenges and the type that is prevalent in the south-east, particularly in Imo state where I come from, may not be the same thing as the kind of security challenges in Anambra state, upto Enugu state and Ebonyi,” he said.
“But the common problem I have been able to see is the funding gaps among the agencies.
So, in order not to waste our time on too much monitoring of the state governments, if we can tackle the funding gap that exists among these security agencies and fund them early enough, I think as a matter of fact, the idea of having a general without a troop will disappear.”
Uzodimma also said the federal and state governments must synergise in addressing insecurity.
“So there’s a need for a constructive partnership and operational relationship between the federal government, sub-national and local authorities. As long as we’re able to forge this relationship, I am very sure that the current insecurity will disappear,” he said.