Akwa Ibom State government has introduced security villages in all the local government areas in its resolve to make crime-fighting in the state more efficient
| By Pita Ochai | Jan. 28, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
GOVERNOR Godswill Obot Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is very passionate about curbing crime rates in the state. To do that successfully, he has decided to bring governance closer to the people by constructing one security village each in all the 31 local government areas of the state. The security villages would house all the principal officers of the local governments, the divisional police officers, DPOs, the divisional crime officers, DCOs, and other heads of security agencies in the local government areas. Built in the form of an estate, the security villages would provide all the necessary facilities needed to make life comfortable.
According to Mike Etuk, director of information, Akwa Ibom State ministry of information, the initiative of the governor is to check criminal activities in the state and make crime-fighting more effective. Having discovered that most chairmen of local governments, deputy chairmen, the police DPOs, DCOs, and other principal officers of local governments, were residing outside their local government areas, the governor decided to provide accommodation for them in their local government headquarters. Most of them were said to be living in Uyo, the state capital. “They only resume work on work days only to return to Uyo at the close of work each day,” Etuk said. That situation, he said, does not allow for proper monitoring of security in the areas.
Archibong Peter, a resident of Oron, agreed that security has improved in his local government areas ever since the introduction of the policy. He gave an instance of what would have been a violent attack on his community by hoodlums from a neigbhouring community at about 8.00pm, but for the presence of the DPO who was on ground to promptly deploy policemen to prevent it. “The story would have been different if the DPO was out of the local government area by that time. His presence fast-tracked every action needed to be taken to check the violence,” Peter said.
The new security measures introduced by the government are believed to have reduced crime rates in the state in the last one year. Months before the 2011 general election, Akwa Ibom State was notorious for crimes like kidnapping, armed robberies, rape, and other social vices. But the state government introduced various measures including the joint patrol by security men who are provided sophisticated weapons to battle criminals, and the building of security villages in local government areas. With these measures now in place, the crime rate is now minimal.
Ekaette Udoh, a civil servant, said that the local government chairmen, DPOs, and other principal officers had been using the absence of official residence as an excuse for not residing within their areas, “but now such excuses would not be accepted with the availability of security villages,” she said.
Onyeka Orji, police spokesman in Akwa Ibom, said that the security village has helped to solve accommodation challenges for DPOs and DCOs. He agreed that the state had experienced some security challenges, but they had been overcome. According to him, in the last six months, several kidnappers and armed robbers have been arrested and are now facing trial through the efforts of the state police.