Ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano has updated President Muhammadu Buhari on security challenges facing the state.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that there had been killings and destruction of public facilities including offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
But the governor, while briefing the State House correspondents at the end of a closed-door meeting with the President in Abuja, said bandits from neigbouring states are responsible for the killings and disruption of public peace in the state.
Mr Obiano described the call for the declaration of State of Emergency in Anambra to address security challenges in the state as “very unfortunate’’
The Federal Government had threatened to invoke emergency rule as part of measures to address security challenges and safeguard electoral process in Anambra.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federal, Abubakar Malami, had on Wednesday warned that federal government may be forced to impose State of Emergency in Anambra to ensure peaceful conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state
NAN reports that stakeholders in Anambra project including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had raised alarm over the upsurge in cases of violent attacks on individuals and government facilities in Anambra as the governorship election in the state draws closer.
Mr Obiano, however, dismissed the contemplation of declaring a state of emergency in his state.
He said: “Well, that’s a very unfortunate comment by the Attorney-General, Malami – very, very unfortunate.
“I also reported that to the President and this is not in the books of the president because he knows that Anambra has been the safest state in Nigeria for seven years plus.
“These invaders from outside Anambra state, from the neighbouring towns, we are going to deal with them. We’re already working, there’s nothing.
“Even to contemplate state of emergency is unfortunate, look at what is happening in the north; they kill dozens every day. Because less than 15 people were killed in Anambra in two weeks, is that a reason for somebody to call for a state of emergency?
“That’s a very unfortunate comment by Malami. I will call him to express reservation on those kinds of comments, he shouldn’t try that,’’ he said.
The governor said he also used the opportunity of his visit to Abuja to brief and solicit support from some security agencies towards addressing security challenges in Anambra. .
“We are getting more boots on ground, we’re getting more equipment and I believe in less than two weeks all these things will be over.
“We’ll overwhelm and conquer all these miscreants that came from other states nearby to come and harass Anambra people.
“Let me stop at saying that they are from neighbouring states,’’ he said.
While comparing what is happening in the Northwest and Northeast to incidents in Anambra, the governor said:
“Well, when you have malaria and when you have cancer, they are two different treatments.
“What we have in Anambra is malaria, so you don’t have to use a sledgehammer to kill that. We are not near, in terms of confusion and security challenges, compared to Zamfara and co, so they are not good examples.
“They Army, police Navy, other arms-bearing people should consider the quantum of force to use.
“As a strategist, you don’t sit down here and order the army to carry the whole army in Nigeria to go to Anambra.
“In summary, what I’m saying is what is happening in Anambra and this election that must hold, the crisis and challenges are far from being close to challenges in the Northwest and in the Northeast, as the case may be.’’
The governor expressed optimism that the November Anambra gubernatorial election would hold despite the rising insecurity in the state.
“The guarantee we are given for this election is that this election will hold, we’ll have enough security to back the people and APGA,
“Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, will be the next governor of Anambra,’’ he added.