WITH the wave of kidnapping in Delta State and his refusal to sign into law the death penalty bill on kidnappers, passed by the state House of Assembly, not a few Deltans were beginning to wonder what the feasible plan, if any, the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has to combat the menace.
His ban on motorcycle, otherwise known as okada transportation in Asaba, the state capital, Warri and Effurun, helped to stem the tide in the three cities, but kidnappers took their trade to nearby Sapele, Ughelli and Oleh. In fact, it is as if the more the government beefs up its strategy to curtail kidnappers, the deeper kidnappers extend their tentacles.
While the government inaugurated a special security task force in addition to the joint and separate teams of army and police officers patrolling the state, the governor has bolstered the Delta Waterways Security Committee, DWSC, Warri, to provide security agencies with intelligence information to fight kidnappers and oil thieves in the creek.
DWSC is the first committee that Uduaghan inaugurated when he assumed office as governor in 2007, and the group assisted in no small measure in stemming the tide of kidnapping in the creek.
However, kidnappers shifted their activities from the waterways to the land when the creek became a no go area because of the wide tentacles of the committee, which assisted the military to recover arms seized from soldiers by militants before it was quietly dissolved.
The committee was disbanded because of the new challenges that made land the new operational field of kidnappers and other security reasons. A source said it did not want duplication of efforts and so, government strengthened the army and police to take up more responsibilities in that regard.
However, owing to recent developments, the governor re-strategized and expanded the committee to rev his peace and security agenda. Speaking through his deputy, Prof Amos Utuama, SAN, while reconstituting the committee at Government House annexe, Warri, he said government would hold members of the committee responsible for any security breach in their areas. He, therefore, urged them to take their assignment, which is providing intelligence information to security agents seriously.
Even though DWSC is not an arms-bearing outfit, he said it had the mandate to intervene in critical situations to maintain peace, whether in the riverside areas or land. His words, “You are the eyes of the government in your respective areas and you will be held responsible for any security breach in your area. Sleep with your head, but your eyes must be open.”
“We have decided to step up the security measures in the state through this committee. Security concerns everybody. All hands must be on deck to address security challenges in Delta State. Members of this committee have the responsibility to oversee security in the land as well and they are to intervene once there is a threat,” he said.
“We know your track records. Ensure that there is peace in Delta State for development to take place. Once the state is fully developed, it will generate wealth and create job opportunities for our people and so you should know that your job is very vital, “he added.