The Governor of Abia State, Mr Alex Otti has come under fire following his launch of a new security outfit in the state, ‘Operation Crush’. The outfit was launched on Tuesday at the Michael Okpara auditorium complex in Umuahia, the state capital.
Reacting to the development, the Abia Renaissance Movement, ARM, in a statement issued by its Convener, Comrade Ukachukwu Chinonso and Secretary-General, Comrade Mrs Maria Nwokoma, described the launch as one of Alex Otti’s many show-offs which have pushed the state to the brink of total collapse.
The group said in forming ‘Operation Crush’, “Otti has admitted our earlier cries that his draconian policies were frustrating Abians and pushing a number of them into crime.
The statement in part reads:
“How could you sack thousands of civil servants, unnecessarily delay or stop the salaries of many more, disband revenue collectors and hundreds of able-bodied park managers/minders etc without any alternative or even palliative measures to alleviate their now horrendous conditions?
“While Operation Crush would have been desirable, such security outfits are fit for only states that have been overrun by terrorists and bandits, and not one that Alex Otti, through his ill-advised policies, has turned to a den of armed robbers and kidnappers, crimes that are still within the purview of the police and the DSS to deal with.
“We view Operation Crush as the unnecessary militarization of our State which only recently was adjudged one of the most peaceful and secure states in Nigeria. That was before Alex Otti assumed office. But since his assumption of office, things have gone southwards and Otti has himself to blame for this.
“We reiterate our stand, that unless Otti wishes to use the new security outfit to achieve sinister purposes of going after his political opponents, a trait he has brazenly demonstrated in his time in office, he should disband the new security outfit immediately and fashion out a more robust, friendlier and community-based policing system that will stamp out crime and criminality in our dear state without instilling fears in our already traumatised citizens.
“While we deeply appreciate the great works our soldiers have been doing in protecting our territorial integrity from aggressors and the immeasurable sacrifices they have been making in stamping out terrorism and banditry in parts of the country where they exist, we wish to state that perpetually saturating our streets with their presence will be counter productive.
“We also observed during the launch of Operation Crush that one more out of Alex Otti’s many promises to the people has been flagrantly discarded. In the early days of his assumption of office, Otti made a show of using Innoson Motors for his inauguration parade and as one of his official cars, and promised to patronise locally made items to promote our local entrepreneurs.
“We are therefore dismayed that the cars Mr Alex Otti purchased for the new security outfit are all of a foreign brand.
“This is just one practical example of how the governor has been ruling Abia by impulse instead of following his own promises to the people. It is just another instance of our earlier description of this government as that of propaganda, half-truths, outright lies, vendetta, vindictivenes, fake and failed promises.
“How will our people get jobs, how will they prosper when their government patronises foreign brands instead of quality locally made goods?
“It is on this basis that we charge Mr Alex Otti to quit his grandstanding and put policies in place that will ensure that all those arbitrarily disengaged from their legitimate sources of livelihood by his government have their debilitating conditions alleviated. The abandonment of governance in pursuit of perceived political opponents is a distraction that has left the state gasping for breath.
“As it is, Abians can no longer breathe, crushing them with Operation Crush when there could have been a more robust, elaborate and effective security strategy to curtail the rising wave of crime in the state is too much showboating from a government that has already won for itself the reputation of being the most listless in the history of Abia State”, the statement concluded.