In continuation of his resolve to reinforce security architecture in Imo State, Governor Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, on Friday launched a special security scheme as part of efforts towards addressing the rising insecurity in the oil producing communities of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta local government areas of the state.
This is even as the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) procured six brand new patrol vehicles to enhance the operations of the security agencies in the state.
Launching the programme on Friday during the First Ohaji-Egbema/Oguta Security Summit held at the Oguta Civic Centre, Oguta, tagged: “Rising Insecurity In Ohaji-Egbema/Oguta: The way Forward”, the Governor said that security was vital for meaningful development to take place in the area.
The Governor said that the security summit was in line with the vision and mission of his government, even as he commended ISOPADEC for partnering with the security agencies in the state to tighten security in the oil producing communities of the state.
“I am satisfied with the activities of ISOPADEC. The Managing Director is doing very well. We have granted autonomy to ISOPADEC to manage their funds and so far they are doing very well. We cannot achieve the tourism potentials in Oguta and other oil producing communities without adequate security in place.
“For us to achieve security, collaboration with the security agencies in the state is vital. Take the security officials as your brothers and sisters, and if you identify any bad egg among them, please report the person to the authority.
“We will soon announce whistleblowing policy to help enhance intelligence gathering for tightening security in the communities of the state. We will also announce reward for the whistle blowers. It is important to expose those sabotaging the efforts to have security in our communities. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and help make our communities better”, said the Governor.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona, said that the security summit was evidence the government was living up to its responsibility of securing lives and property in the state, adding that the security summit was part of efforts towards evolving a home grown solution to the security challenges in the oil producing communities.
He said the government would not allow anyone to tarnish the image of the people, saying: “No one shall make us live in fear in our ancestral homes. No one will frighten us at will again. That era is gone”.
Addressing the press, the Managing Director of ISOPADEC, Engr. Owuoma Anthony Okwuosha, said that the security challenges in the oil communities has given the Commission sleepless nights and that they are committed to making sure that the issue is addressed holistically.
He said it was unfortunate the last administration took advantage of the restiveness of the youths of the area and therefore painted a bad image of the people of the oil producing communities for 8 years, the new security scheme will help change the narrative by restoring security in the area so that development will come to the people.
According to him, the Commission is rolling out programmes that will engage the people, especially the youths. He noted that the Commission is embarking on bursary for the students from the area, skill acquisition programmes and agriculture.
He said that the youths should rather be prepared to engage in gainful ventures than to throw money around for them, which he said is unsustainable.