Anambra Gov. Chukwuma Soludo says the security challenges and kidnappings rife in the southeastern part of Nigeria stem from the economic woes facing the country.
His administration has put in place numerous measures to end the menace of insecurity and other criminal activities in the state, he said.
Soludo, who stated this Sunday during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today, maintained that the perpetrators of the criminal activities in the state are Igbo.
The governor also said contrary to claims, those perpetrating the crimes are known, not unknown, as being reported in the media.
“They are plain criminals,” Solid said. “Some of these criminals also hide under the cloak of agitation but IPOB has repeatedly distanced itself from the criminals.”
The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria added: “They are kidnappers and plain criminals and they indulge in these because it is lucrative. Anambra is without a doubt the richest state in the South-East so this is the state where kidnapping has the highest value and so you will have their highest concentration here.
“If you have an Okada rider who goes into the bush; learns how to shoot, and joins a criminal gang after which they kidnap someone and make millions, it won’t be easy convincing such to go back to his Okada business anymore.
“But we are decimating them. They are not unknown gunmen, they are unknown to the extent that maybe are not caught immediately. But I can tell you we’ve been catching quite a lot of them and they already know that Anambra is not safe for them anymore.
“Let me be clear about it, 100 per cent of the people we have caught are Igbo. There is no hoax that somebody is invading from somewhere. It is 100 per cent Igbo on Igbo.
“Anambra receives its proportional share of an influx of Igbo from other South-East states and other parts of Nigeria. At the initial stage when we stage and the first set of people we caught are Igbo from the South-East states and not from Anambra. But as we went on, we discovered that a whole lot of the youth are joining them and we have not disguised among them, we are dealing with them equally.”
On his effort to make insecurity history in the state, Gov. Soludo maintained that several operations are currently going on to correct the anomaly, adding that Anambra residents are now enjoying relative peace.
He said: “The 8.5 million residents in Anambra can testify to you that insecurity has come down to the barest minimum. At least, in the last three months, cases of insecurity that seem to be daily affairs have come to a halt.
“We have decimated criminal gangs and their infrastructures and I don’t think they have the capacity again to come with the kind of ferocity they have in the past.
“Anambra has been relatively peaceful recently and we are pursuing a peaceful agenda. Compared to many other places in Nigeria, I will say if we have to have the statistics in the last three months, I think Anambra will compete favorably as one of the safest comparatively.
“We are not relenting. The operations are ongoing. Many communities are now at peace and having their new yam festival celebrations and these are things that weren’t possible in the past. Millions of events are also taking place simultaneously.
“However, insecurity won’t disappear overnight. It took years for them to take root and build about 15 camps all over the 8 local governments. Their activities won’t disappear in three months. But we are not relenting, we are putting in all our efforts and we are determined to make Anambra safe and secure for the residents and businesses.”