To this end, the government yesterday launched ‘Operation Know Your Neighbour.’
At the launch of the programme at a special security meeting in Owerri with the service chiefs in the state in attendance, the state Governor Rochas Okorocha said nobody comes into a state to commit crime of any kind without an internal collaborator.
Okorocha added that since those who commit these crimes are human beings, they must also be residents somewhere and that their neighbours should equally be able to know them and what they do.
The governor announced other security measures, which include; that hotels in the state should install security cameras and should forward on a daily basis, the list of their guests to the Director of State Security Services (SSS); and trailers bringing food items from the northern part of the country would no longer be allowed to come into the state at night but only in the day, and the food items would be off-loaded at a designated place off the state capital.
Other measures include that residents in the state must also be careful with broken bottles, cans, leather bags, parked tankers and vehicles around their homes, public places and public buildings.
He directed traditional rulers in the state to summon emergency meetings of their various communities to take stock of strange faces living with them.
Okorocha stated that uncompleted buildings in the cities in the state and their environs without security guards would be taken over by the government because criminals use them as hideouts.
The governor also said lands left fallow for several years and not used for any economic or gainful purpose but taken over by criminals would be ceased by the government.
He also banned smoking of marijuana in any part of the state.
The governor directed the meetings of all non-indigenes in the state must also be fixed.
On the bombs discovered at Winners’ Chapel Church, the governor said it was aimed at making Imo people mourn and put the state in disarray, adding that the prayers of Imo people did not allow the bombs to explode.
He debunked the allegation that there was bomb in Government House.
The governor praised the security chiefs in the state for their cooperation and hard work, adding that Imo people are lucky to have such calibre of security chiefs in the state.
Okorocha called for all hands to be on deck, adding that the Igbos are not fools, but smart people who know how to defend themselves.
Meanwhile, as a way of checking what it described as ‘the infiltration of fifth columnists’ who would want to cause maximum havoc in the South-east, a group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called on the five governors in the region to immediately initiate a free comprehensive biometric registration scheme for all valid residents of the zone.
The group called for a probe of the recent statement credited to the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, that the armed Islamic insurgents would extend their bombing campaign to regions if they were not contained in the North-east.
HURIWA in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, said the probe became necessary to ascertain whether the Sunday bomb attempt in Owerri had any connection.
It called on politicians to be circumspect with their public statements and avoid careless talks on the ongoing insurgency to avoid providing psychological boost for the armed terrorists.
It urged the political leadership in the South-east especially the governors and local council chairmen including traditional rulers to always stay on their desks to fashion out counter terrorism measures and mobilise their wards and other lawful residents to stave off possible infiltration of the dare- devil terrorists rather than their frequent trips to Abuja and foreign countries on fruitless voyage of discovery.
“The Houses of Assembly of the South-east states should make binding legislations to compel the state governors to spend at least 85 percent of the entire tenure provided under the extant constitution within their states and only travel when it is absolutely necessary to so do for the public interest of the people.”
HURIWA also tasked prominent investors and business owners based in the South-east region to work out and implement full-proof security measures to prevent any possible bomb attacks just as it demanded the setting up of youth-led volunteer groups in the South-east to monitor suspicious strange movements and to enlighten the populace on ways and means of remaining ahead of the terrorists.
“We commend the gallantry exhibited by the Imo State police command in responding promptly to diffuse the explosives planted at the premises of Winners’ Chapel in Owerri, Imo State. The Imo state commissioner of police and his management team should be commended and encouraged to keep up the tempo of prompt, decisive and effective law enforcement. We also asked the Imo State police command, the state security services’ directorate in Imo State and the military institution to set up effective counter terrorism task force to check activities of terrorists who may be plotting to invade the state.”
On the statement by Bornu State governor, HURIWA said: “We are worried that in less than 78 hours after this bizarre media comments credited to the Borno State governor that Boko Haram will attack the southern states if the uprisings are not crushed in the North-eastern states, these satanic bombers actually proceeded to plant explosives to inflict maximum chaos in the heartland of Igboland but for the swift intervention of the police and vigilant private guards at the winners church.”
“We hereby demand the probe of that statement and advise politicians to watch their tongues to avoid providing fuel for the ongoing insurgencies. Those entrusted with the onerous task of providing good governance and leadership as governors must guard against utterances that may be misconstrued as providing tonic for the armed terrorists to continue or intensify their war against the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state. We are not concluding that the statement by the Borno State governor actually encouraged the bombers who invaded Imo state over the weekend but certainly, as patriotic citizens, we are worried that leaders who have easy access to the media of mass communication are engaged in the deployment of these powerful media to make unwarranted and sensational statements capable of creating mixed signals especially in these dangerous times of armed insurgencies.”