Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo has come under heavy fire for his comments in a state-wide broadcast on Wednesday, where he vowed that the roads blocks mounted by security agencies on the state roads will be sustained and many more established.
At the broadcast which took place at the country home of the governor at Isuofia in Aguata Council Area of Anambra State, the Governor had argued that under normal circumstances the road blocks and Forward Operating Bases, FOBs for the Military, would not have been necessary.
But according to him, the situation in the state and the Southeast is no longer normal.
“These criminals want the security officers out of the road but fortunately, we thank God that they have remained resolute.
“We will continue to provide all the support that we can to all the security forces as a government and as a people of Anambra.
“What they are doing, the sacrifices that they make, their commitments and FOBs, we will continue to strengthen them and make them even stronger to keep our people safe and secured.
“In normal circumstances, these road blocks wouldn’t have been needed but this is what we brought up on ourselves.
“Our people taking up arms in the bushes, involved in criminality. Since they have decided to operate in an abnormal way, we now need abnormal solution,” the governor had said.
According to Mr governor, the strategy may not be convenient but it is the most effective in the circumstance.
He said until the insecurity situation comes down to near zero, the state will continue to have the road blocks and FOBs in place.
But the Civil Society Organisations in Anambra appear to have a different view to the whole thing, as they have frowned at the imposition of continued police and military checkpoints in the State by the Governor.
Speaking with TNC correspondent in Awka, the leader of the State Civil Society Network (ACSONET), Prince Chris Azor rejected the governor’s strategy, saying such would be an extension of ongoing mindless extortion of citizens, a development he said, would be undemocratic and counterproductive.
He noted that it would be wrong to punish the larger proactive population of the state because of the sins of an insignificant number of people in the state who have taken to criminality.
He said; “We in the civil society totally reject the governor’s road blocks as they will only give impetus to the extortion by the security operatives which our people have suffered over the years.
“The Governor in his speech said among other things ‘in this circumstance and until the insecurity situation comes down to near zero, we will continue to have the road blocks and FOBs in place.’ He went further to imply “this is what we brought up on ourselves.
“We totally reject that assertion that ‘this is what we imposed on ourselves’. This is because the acts by a handful of deviants cannot define who we are as hardworking and patriotic citizens.”
The Anambra CSOs leader advised that the governor devices a more scientific, innovative and technology-based approach to tackling the challenges of insecurity in the State.
“This would be simply an extension of people’s suffering and hardship.
“The security forces have been taking advantage of the roadblocks to extort, intimidate and molest the citizens. And by extension further pushing our people into untold hardship, poverty and unproductivity.
“This is absolutely unacceptable.
“We don’t seem to have learnt any lessons from ENDSARS protests.
“Recall recent tragedy of the Christmas day senseless killing of a female Lawyer as a result of these road blocks,” he said.
The human rights advocate however, commended the Governor on his giant strides in security and infrastructure, and implored him to make a formal address to Ndi Anambra showcasing his achievements in other areas of governance as stipulated in his five point agenda “People’s manifesto”