By Basil Ishiekwene
Security of lives and property has always been the primary purpose of government in all parts of the world, because, every human activity revolves round safety.
Bearing this in mind, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on assumption of office in May, 2015 made it a point of duty to tackle the security challenges through unconventional means.
Delta State before the emergence of Governor Okowa was most times, seen as the entire Niger Delta region. As such, if there was security breach in any part of the 5 states of the Niger Delta, newsmen were always ready to link it to Delta State which made investors to be sceptical about investing in the state.
Governor Okowa’s efforts to ensure a peaceful state was compounded shortly after he took oath of office when the Federal Government declared renowned Ijaw-born Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo wanted. The action of the Federal Government irked the youths of the region which resulted to renewed hostilities in the creeks of the Niger Delta, leading to the destruction of pipelines with a threat to the declaration of Niger Delta republic.
Already, the price of crude oil in the international market was at its lowest ebb and the destruction of the pipelines short-in crude oil that could have been reported from Delta State leading to great shortage of funds for Governor Okowa to successfully deliver on his electoral promises.
Bearing in mind that government alone cannot meet with the yearnings of the people especially in the area of tackling unemployment, Governor Okowa embarked on peace moves to stop the hostilities in the creeks and through consistent dialogue with different stakeholders, the destruction of pipelines stopped. It is worthy to state that the situation also, caused the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to visit the state.
Joblessness is a key factor to insecurity and to ensure that idle minds were reduced in the state, Governor Okowa embarked on aggressive skill acquisition cum empowerment programmes, designed to make the beneficiaries successful entrepreneurs. This was necessary because, the Governor discovered that with a workforce of over 60, 000 people and with the effects of recession on government, it would have been wrong to employ more persons into the state civil service. Till date, Delta ranks among the states with the highest number of civil servants which gulps more than N6 billion monthly on wages.
It is noteworthy that since the commencement of the Governor’s youth empowerment programmes, incidence of kidnapping, armed robbery and other social vices have been on downward trend. According to the Governor, “every two weeks, we sit with security chiefs to analyze security situation in the state, today, it was heartwarming to note that issues of kidnapping and other security challenges came up, it was discovered that they are on downward trend.”
This fact was buttressed and corroborated by DIG Emmanuel Inyang when he visited Governor Okowa, he said, statistics at his disposal revealed that remarkable success has been recorded in the reduction of crime wave and promised to ensure that the South South zone became the safest in the country.
According to DIG Inyang, “I have gone through the crime statistics of the state, Delta Police Command is doing well, the crime rate has reduced, “hence I urge all stakeholders to sustain the partnership against crime.” he said
This remarkable reduction in crime rate was made possible by the adequate provision of operational vehicles, logistics and communication equipment by Delta State Government to the police and other security agencies to enhance operational efficiency of security formations across the state.
The success story in crime reduction wouldn’t have been possible without the synergy between security agencies operating in the state, especially in the area of sharing of information which has helped a lot to ensure a peaceful state. The Governor further assured that his administration would continue to encourage the good working relationship between the agencies. Worthy of commendations are the traditional and other community leaders for effectively collaborating with the state government to continuously engage the youths towards ensuring sustained peace in the state.
As I write this piece, Delta State Government through the empowerment programmes of Governor Okowa’s administration has engaged more than 45, 000 people. This has reduced security threats in the State as most people who could have been involved in one crime or the other are gainfully employed.
*Hon. Basil Ishiekwene is Special Assistant to the Governor on Security