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The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has commended the Anambra Vigilante Group ( AVG) for the protection of life and property in his kingdom.

Speaking at this year’s Ofala festival in the ancient city, the Monarch said although the statutory security agencies have bases in Onitsha, the community relies mainly on vigilante services for security.


The Monarch said: “The security operatives we have are the Anambra State Vigilante Group( AVG), numbering 25 persons under the command of the state government and the Onicha Ado Community Vigilante ( OCVU), numbering about 59 persons under the command of Ime Obi Onicha.

“Both groups work collaboratively together and with the statutory agencies, occasionally supported by Onitsha Youths Council, to maintain relative peace in the community.

“Our biggest challenge is the inadequacy of funding for salaries, equipment, and consumables which are literally borne by the community, except for the paltry state government contribution of only N10,000 each for ten persons per month only.

“Their minimum salary of N20,000 is below the national minimum wage salary and we have to augment with benefits in kind.

” The other major challenge is how to structurally merge the two vigilante groups under one command for optimum effect.

“Onitsha has become the destination for the mostly jobless and transient youths from the rural communities in search for an elusive better life.

“Like other large cities in the country, Onitsha has its own share of security challenges during the year and continuing.

“Our main challenges remain youth unemployment, gangsterism, touring, homelessness, petty and armed robbery, cultism, drug addiction, child prostitution, rape,etc.

“Unfortunately, the Indigenous community is not spared of these pressured of urbanization, and we constantly struggling to maintain a balance between our traditional life and modernisation.

“If greater Onitsha doesn’t move forward, Alaigbo won’t move forward.

That’s why we’re embarking on massive road construction in Onitsha and sacking of touts, even though they keep resurfacing. But we won’t relent until all of them are flushed out.

“In the coming weeks, something outstanding will happen in the state in terms of security, so our people should be expectant.”

He also spoke on the hardship brought about by the removal of petroleum subsidy, calling on President Bola Tinubu – led federal government to suggest other alternative ways of amilorating the hardship Nigerians are currently passing through.

He observed that the last twelve months have been most eventful for the country, which he added, was dominated largely by the politics of the national elections that took place in February this year.

The outcome of the Presidential election which has been upheld by the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal (PEPT), has been further challenged at the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Furthermore, the Civil Society Organizations have announced an extended civil disobedience agenda to occupy Nigeria in protest against the non-transperency of the PEPT, in which would have been averted if INEC had convincingly conducted transperant elections with the massive resources at its disposal.

“The uncertainty has been further complicated by the continuing security concerns in most parts of the country.

“Following eight years of the previous administration, the early economic measures by the new administration, including the unilateral removal of the fuel price subsidy without a backup strategy, are seriously deepening the hardship in the country, particularly at the lower rungs of the society.

“In effect, the country is at a dangerous crossroads politically, economically, socially and security-wise.

“In South East, we have the aftermath of the last general elections; the complex and protracted security situation involving kidnappers, political thugs, state and non-state actors, etc, all masquerading as unknown gunmen, as well as the crippling economic strangulation of the southeast arising from the insecurity and ill-advised sit-at-home protest that has cost Ndi-Igbo incalculable losses in finance, and tragically properties and lives.

“We hope that the situation will improve significantly to enable us to resume the festival at the normal levels in the future.”

Igwe Achebe, also noted that the festival has put the town into international lime light and earned revenue for the the town and the country.

Speaking at the occasion, the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, congratulated Igwe Achebe on the celebration of this year’s Ofala, describing the Monarch’s achievements in past 21years as unprecedented, especially in the area of youth empowerment.

He reassured the commitment of his administration in fighting crime and criminality in the commercial city and in the state generally.

“Onitsha drives other development within other communities around the city.

“The touts will go in Onitsha, we shall continue to pursue hoodlums and miscreants out of Onitsha.

“We shall make sure that Onitsha city is sanitized as the commercial hub of Anambra and Nigeria at large,” Soludo said.

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