The Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has raised concerns on the new trend of crime along Lokpanta and Isuikwuato axis of the state where lecturers, students, the clergy and other innocent commuters have become victims of violent crimes being carried out by persons suspected to be aliens who use the market at Lokpanta as a base.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, while performing the formal launch of the programme at the Michael Okpara Auditorium,Umuahia, called on residents to help government drive the initiative by enrolling and obtaining their cards.
Governor Ikpeazu thanked the immediate past governor of the state and Senator representing Abia Central, Senator T.A.Orji, for the initiative of instituting the programme, when he was the governor, as a platform to help raise financial support for the security architecture in the onerous task of securing the lives and property of Abians and her residents.
The governor noted that Abia is at the centre of seven South East and South South states with tendencies of security challenges as being witnessed in the state and across other states of the federation.
Governor Ikpeazu stressed the need for synergy among the South East governments, with a view to nipping in the bud, cross-border crimes, adding that the Abia State Residents’ Card will help identify genuine residents.
Governor Ikpeazu, who noted that the card is customized with security features that make it difficult for forgery, disclosed that that there is a plan to integrate both the Abia State Social Identity Number and the Resident’s Card platforms for more synergy.
He thanked the organizers of the programme for a job well done as Abia has become the first state in Nigeria to embrace digital security cards for identifying her citizens.
He said huge tele-density made the state to enrol in telehealth and the state again is leveraging the tele-density to ensure Abia gets security cards.
Also speaking, the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyị, represented by of Mathew Oboechi, stressed the need for synergy among the governors and security agencies in the South East as well as information sharing among the conventional security agencies and others who are being instituted to help the region.
He lauded Governor Ikpeazu for taking a step forward to enhance security and making Abia State secured.
In his speech, the Chairman of the occasion and Senator representing Abia Central at the National Assembly, Senator Theodore Orji said insecurity has a lot of varieties including kidnapping, banditry, farmers/herders clashes among others and the governor is rising to the occasion of tackling it.
He said there is need for all to support the governor and government of Abia State morally and financially in achieving adequate security in the state.
Orji described security of lives and property as the primary function of government and thanked Governor Ikpeazu for carrying on with the programs and policies he left for him.
Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, stated that the initiative is the first of its kind which is backed by law earlier assented to by the state governor.
He said Nigeria is facing security challenges in every part of the country, but expressed joy that Governor Ikpeazu has ensured Abia is secured, assuring that the state would not relent achieving the needed security and urged all to acquire the resident card.
The Coordinator of the Abia State Security Fund, Darlington Anyanwu, while giving an overview of the Security Support and Resident Card said the initiative is created to source funds and equipment from stakeholders to support and complement the state government’s efforts in providing adequate security to Abia residents, as well as ensure that all security agencies perform their statutory role efficiently and effectively without hitch.
He explained that the Abia State Social Identity Number earlier launched by the state government is different from the Security Support and Resident Card, adding that the former is geared towards collating statistics from all residents of the state for planning, addressing unemployment issues and demographic distribution of infrastructure and resources among others.
Top officials of the state government, heads of security agencies in the state, local government chairmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders and others were part of the event.
A total of N278.5 million was realised at the launch of the Abia State Security Fund and Residents’ Card. While Abia State government donated N250 million, the ALGON pledged N20 million to the fund. Other donors were senator T.A Orji, Prof Greg Ibe, Hon Darlington Nwokocha among others.