Times change, tides turn, and diverse seasons of life come and go. All this is an immutable reality of human existence. Now, it is that season again when the world goes spectacularly merry as the year draws to a close.
In spite of dire challenges, ever-resilient Nigerians have embraced the festive mood which inevitably goes with the mass homecoming of Ndigbo from all over the world.
Naturally, Ndi Anambra won’t be left out of the festive homecoming as many are bracing to join their families and friends to celebrate.
In such a moment of infectious goodwill and cheer, is it not ridiculous that some elements choose to play ‘kill-joy’ by resorting to pointless scaremongering?
This seems to be the case as a purported unofficial security advisory is making the rounds on online channels, being circulated by a faceless person or group and hyping kidnapping threats in the state.
Specifically, the scaremongering viral post warns homecoming citizens and residents not to drive in perceived posh cars, and to steer clear of several named streets, roads, areas, neighbourhoods and communities in Anambra State.
Then the fear-inducing, mischievously cobbled message falsely declares Anambra “the most unsafe state in Southeast at the moment if not Nigeria”.
What a disingenuous falsehood! Obviously, this kind of recycled verbiage masked as advisory is not rendered in good faith but to scare Ndi Anambra away from their state, rob people of the joy of the season and give criminals free way to carry out their evil deeds.
While the Anambra State Government does not and will not deny that there are pockets of insecurity in the state, the blanket portrait of “the most unsafe state” painted in the viral message is a blatant fallacy!
Interestingly, in a travel advisory issued on October 27, 2022 by the US Department of State in Abuja, Anambra State was no where listed among the following most unsafe states advised against: “Abuja due to terrorism; Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping; Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping; and Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, kidnapping, and maritime crime”.
How then did Anambra become the most unsafe state? If there is any one or institution that should be issuing a valid public security advisory, it should be either the Anambra State government or state security agencies, not an amorphous unofficial agent or group forwarding unverified information to innocent citizens.
Now, the perceptive Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, is very much aware that the most crucial responsibility of any government is the security of lives and property. That is why he will never leave the security and safety of Ndi Anambra to be toyed with by criminals during this festive season and beyond.
The state government is also cognizant of hot spots of criminality in the state and is putting extensive measures in place to decimate them.
Some of the proactive and counter measures already put in place include the use of strategic checkpoints, constant patrols and rapid response teams to cover various routes in the state, all manned by a combined team of Anambra State Vigilantes and conventional security agencies.
In fact, it is an evidence of serious commitment to security that made Governor Soludo get 2,000 gallant men and women recently recruited into the Anambra Vigilante Service, so that the state capital and all local government areas are kept under eagle-eye security vigilance round the clock every day.
But that is not all. As security management universally gets more sophisticated, the government of Anambra State is also leveraging compliant security technology to facilitate citizen involvement via the enablement of prompt distress calls, sharing of helpful information, channelling of videos and other tech-enabled intervention activities that enhance security response and services.
All these are complementary to traditional toll-free 112 call centre lines, Police phone numbers (07039194332, 08039334002) and Anambra State government Emergency Call lines (07039896429, 09017280990, 09076237441, 08093175528, 0918751489, 08124153139 etc) which vigilant citizens can call in at any emergency.
So, with the foregoing comprehensive proactive and counter measures against insecurity of any kind, there is no basis for the purveyors of scaremongering to make Ndi Anambra and visitors paranoid about celebrating Christmas and New Year festivities in the state.
Instead of people yielding to the inducement of panic and morbid fear, they should maintain reasonable security consciousness anywhere they are and go within the state, report any suspicious activity or breach of peace, celebrate responsibly and employ discretion in the enjoyment of their hard-earned wealth.
The true conclusive verdict is that, despite random pockets of criminality, Anambra State is neither a den of kidnapping nor an unsafe state as mischievous peddlers of overblown propaganda want to make people believe.
Fear is the tool the criminals want to leverage to deprive hard-working Ndi Anambra of their right to come home and enjoy the fruit of their labour at this time of the year.
But as William Shakespeare posited in Julius Caesar, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” Ndi Anambra are not cowards and won’t die before their time.
Under the watch of the ever hardworking Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the government of Anambra, the security agencies of Anambra, and the good people of Anambra own and rule this state, not criminals!
So, Ndi Anambra, be Merry without Fear!
Merry Christmas and Happy new year in advance!