Women seek measures to tackle insecurity in Anambra communities
By Gabriel Chy Alonta & Lawrence Nwimo
Women in Anambra State on Wednesday gathered to seek ways of curbing security challenges bedevilling different communities in the state.
The women who made their experiences known in a workshop in Awka, said it was high time the government rose to the occasion and arrest the monster (insecurity) that had ravaged the state.
In their separate accounts the women, numbering about 50, said they face untold suffering with invasion of Fulani herdsmen into their farmlands, stealing and destruction of their farm crops.
They also lamented that armed robbery attacks, snatching of valuables, raping, kidnapping, among others are daily witnessed in their respective communities, decrying that life was no longer safe in the land following the situation.
Speaking at the meeting, one of the participants, Ngozi Nnake said herdsmen repeatedly trampled upon and destroyed her farm, which, she said, was her family’s major source of income. Another participant, Kate Okafor decried activities of arms-wielding robbers who she said attack their homes in Ekwusigo local government area.
Similarly, Eucharia Anakuba from Oraifite said the robberies and rapes cases in the her community had skyrocketed, rendering many innocent girls to shock. According to her, “On one occasion I was nearly raped when a hoodlum invaded my apartment at Oraifite. He was stark naked but we were able to scare him away by shouting for help,” she said.
Contributing, Onitsha based Ijeoma Okafor, Coordinator, Idika Achoro women in government, decried the incessant robberies at upper Iweka in Onitsha. She said hoodlums in her area snatch valuables from people, and alleged that security agencies in the area connive with hoodlums to perpetrate evil acts.
Representative of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and vice-president, Students Union Government (SUG), Comrade Augusta Okoha, remarked that “no day has passed in the university host community, Awka, without news that someone was killed at certain location.” She said killing has become a norm and is mostly perpetrated by cultists along Ifite axis of Awka.
Also, Ozioma Ikeanyi noted that thefts, rape, kidnapping were predominant issues in her locality, Dunukofia, alleging that most security operatives are not helping issues as they connive with perpetrators of the acts.
Esther Udekwe, an Awka indigene, resident at Ifite, said “after Onitsha comes Amaenyi in the ranking of crime-prone areas in the state”. She noted that residents in Awka had been in disarray and living with fears following waves of cult killings in the town.
The women harped on the need to increase security consciousness through sensitization to make residents of various communities aware of safety measures in their locality.
While the women called for reformation of touts, who, they said, pose serious security threat on the roads, they also tasked government and community leaders to select vigilante security operatives with good morals. They stressed that most of the vigilante operatives were key players in the raging crime waves in many communities of the state.
Earlier, the convener, Queen Chikwendu, said the essence of the workshop was to educate the women on the security of their lives and those around them in their various communities. She said women, as the backbone of the society, must react actively to the well-being of the society and ensure that they contribute their quota to the safety of lives.
Chikwendu, who is the Anambra State Project Coordinator, ‘Secure Our Live Campaign’ and Positive Attitude to Life Initiative,’ described the campaign as a nationwide project that demands improved security, based on evidence of several killings and destruction that had been ongoing in the country.
She said the discussion with the affected women had shown that the crying of the people are “not just mere wolf cry.”
While Chikwendu decried that killing and kidnapping is fast blossoming to a daily business in Anambra, she said security was everybody’s business and that governments should make proactive measures in tackling insecurity at every nook and crannies of the country.
She also urged civil society organizations to up their beat and advocate for cultural changes that would improve social behaviour of the people at large.
High point of the occasion was a candle light and a prayer for the victims who died as a result of various insecurities in the state and beyond.