Speech 7

REMARKS BY SENATOR CHUKWUKA UTAZI, REPRESENTING ENUGU NORTH SENATORIAL DISRICT AND CHAIRMAN, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION AND FINANCIAL CRIMES DURING A COURTESY CALL TO THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE ALONG WITH THE UZO-UWANI PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION, TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017 AT 12 NOON.

PROTOCOL:

I wish to sincerely thank the Inspector General of Police for graciously acceding to our request for a courtesy call on him by me and the leadership of the Uzo-Uwani Professionals Association, being a registered NGO which seeks for the development of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. We sought this audience with the Inspector General to discuss the dire security challenges facing the people of Uzo-Uwani Local Government and solicit your direct intervention to check the unacceptable level of criminality sweeping across the Local Government.

I represent Enugu North Senatorial District comprising six Local Governments in Enugu State, namely Igbo-Etiti, Igbo-Eze North, Igbo-Eze South, Nsukka, Udenu and Uzo-Uwani. Among these LGAs, the security situation in Uzo-Uwani is alarming. To compound matters, my ancestral home is Nkpologu town, in Uzo-Uwani Local Government. It is, therefore, understandable why the terrible heinous activities of criminals in my Local Government of origin is giving me sleepless nights. My people appear to be helpless and as the highest political office holder from the Local Government, the bell tolls for me.

Uzo-Uwani Local Government is a border Local Government being the point of entry or exit from Enugu State to Kogi and Anambra State on the North-Western axis of Enugu State. It has the largest land mass in the whole Enugu State and hosts the Adarice Farms, a large Federal Government Agricultural Settlement. Because of this peculiar geographical location and the rich vegetation of this largely agrarian Local Government, traders from Kogi State who go to the famed Onitsha market ply through Uzo-Uwani, as the road from Idah through Nsukka to Adani and thence to Otuocha and Onitsha is the nearest to Kogi State. It is also a huge attraction for cattle herdsmen, who graze their cattle across the luscious landscape.

The Inspector General would recall that Nimbo community, the locale of the dastardly attack by herdsmen on innocent villagers on April 25, 2016, is in Uzo-Uwani Local Government. We wish to place it on record our gratitude to the police for their swift action in the arrest of about seven suspects among the group which carried out the indiscriminate killings of helpless villagers. We understand that, owing to the co-operation and facilitation of the Police, the suspects are on remand in Enugu prison awaiting trial. We thank the Police for its speedy action on the killings which has reassured the apprehensive people of the area and its environs that their security is important to the Police hierarchy.

The killings of April 2016 were the height of a long siege laid on the Local Government by criminal elements. Since the killings, there has been an upsurge of violent crimes in the locality, mainly perpetrated along the long stretch of the federal road from Nsukka to Adani.

Apart from the perennial threat from herdsmen, there is also an increase of armed robbery, other kinds of violence and especially, kidnapping. The increasing cases of kidnapping has become severe, requiring urgent intervention. The table below would illuminate this discourse:

S/N NAME OF VICTIM GENDER DATE OF INCIDENT PLACE OF KIDNAP TIME OF KIDNAP REMARKS
1. VirginusOmah Male 15/3/14 Ugwu-rice, Opanda 18.30hrs  
2. Ezeofor Paul Male 25/01/15 Nkpologu 13.30hrs  
3. Godwin Omeh Male 15/3/15 Camp Nkpologu 00.00hrs  
4. ChinweOtu Male 10/10/15 Uvuru 21.00hrs  
5. UchennaNwankwo Male 10/10/15 Uvuru 21.00hrs  
6. IkechukwuUroko Male 15/8/15 Camp Nkpologu 20.00hrs  
7. Francis Okoro Male 18/12/15 Camp Nkpologu 17.00hrs  
8. Richard Egwuma Male 06/03/2016 Camp Nkpologu 20.30hrs  
9. Ter Dagene Male 24/02/16 Camp Nkpologu by HillTop School 03.00hrs  
10. Stephen Ogbobe Male 17/04/16 Camp Nkpologu 15.00hrs  
11. Woman Police Sgt. Lare Ere Female 06/08/16 OgbaNkpologu 18.50hrs  
12. Engr. Uche Onyi Male 13/08/16 Ashibor Hill, Ugbene-Ajima 20.30hrs  
13. Mrs. ChinenyeEnechi Female 20/08/16 Between Obimo&Nkpologu 19.00hrs  
14. Mr. Ejiofor Enechi Male 13/12/2016 UgwuIyi-Ekoro, Opanda 11.00hrs  
15. Mr. Chijioke Joseph Onah Male 14/4/17 Eke nwaozege, Nkpologu 18.00hrs  
16. Mrs. Rosaline, Wife of Police Inspector Female 14/4/17 Eke nwaOzege, Nkpologu 18.00hrs  
17. Hon. ChijiokeEzugwu, Judge of Customary court of appeal of Enugu State Male 17/4/17 Between Obimo and Nkpologu 19.00hrs  
18. Hon. Paul Eze, former, Member, House of Reps and former Chairman Uzo-Uwani LGA Male 17/4/17 Between Obimo and Nkpologu 19.00hrs  
19. Mr. Christian Ademu Male 19/4/17 UkwuUgbaNkpologu 18.00hrs  

 

Following the persistence of these kidnappings and the associated killings, especially after the herdsmen attack, we appealed to the immediate past InspectorGeneral of Police and he graciously approved the location of a Divisional Police Office at Camp Nkpologu, an old transit camp located in Ogba-Nkpologu, along the Nsukka-Adani Federal road. During his visit to Nimbo community after the herdsmen attack, he gave directives for the commencement of police activities at the location. On my part, at my expense, I hired bulldozers to clear the large expanse of land we had prevailed on the community to avail the police, for the commencement of construction work. As we speak, no further activity is going on at the site, which we believe if built will substantially curb the nefarious acts of men of the underworld around the whole area.

One final point need to be made, Mr. IGP. The kidnap of Ejiofor Enechi and his subsequent killing by his kidnappers was a raw jolt. He was gruesomely butchered by the kidnappers and his remains buried in different locations. Arrests have been made by the Police which have yielded useful information and some names have been mentioned as part of the torrid incident. We are worried that many of these suspects mentioned are still walking about free, mortgaging the security of our people and increasing their fear. We urge the Police to increase the surveillance on these people, who have come to the attention of the Enugu State Command, and expedite action to arrest and prosecute them.

We, therefore, request the Inspector General to help the people of Uzo-Uwani Local Government by ordering the immediate commencement of construction work on the Divisional Police Station located at Camp Nkpologu and possiblyoperationalize the Station, as work is on. We would play our part during the next appropriation cycle to help in providing further impetus to the building of the Station and in providing the personnel that will be posted the necessary boost to stay. We would also request that the personnel, as far as is possible, be those who know the terrain and who know the various layers of institutional responsibility in the area and the factors underpinning community relations there.

We also request the IGP to direct his Special Surveillance Squad to, in collaboration with the traditional institutions of the communities in the Local Government who can help in identifying these criminals and the network of their gangs, flush out these undesirable elements terrorizing the people of our Local Government and disturbing the peace of the whole area.

I have attached the various correspondences between my office and the office of the IGP on this matter. I thank the IGP once again for graciously granting us this audience and wish him the guidance of the Almighty as he discharges the onerous responsibilities of his office.