BY PRINCELY ONYENWE,IMO
Imo is agog by the visit of members of the security experts from the National institute for security studies who stormed the state early hours of today to investigate the possible course of recent security bridge by alleged hoodlums few weeks ago.
MEMBERS OF COURSE 14 OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES are already in the state to embark on security tour of the state.
9News Nigeria gathered that their visit will be anchored on serial findings on the jail break and continued attack on Police stations and futher intelligence SECURITY TOUR IN IMO STATE NIGERIA.
Information revealed to pressmen however revealed that the visit will take a one weeklong tour of the state, after which they will be well placed to give us some hints on their security findings.
The governor of the state has therefore issued out a WELCOME ADDRESS OF THE STATE TO MEMBERS OF COURSE 14 OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES, ON THEIR TOUR OF IMO STATE ON MONDAY APRIL 19TH, 2021
The address reads as thus:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome members of the Executive Management Course (EIMC) 14 of the National Institute for security studies (NISS), to Imo State, the Eastern Heartland. We pride ourselves as the home of hospitality because apart from our exquisite cuisine, our people are naturally warm to visitors and would do everything possible to make them feel at home.
This will be my second, intimate interaction with your very highly reputable Institute. Last year, I was the guest of the Institute in Abuja as the guest lecturer at the graduation ceremony of the members of course 13. I spoke elaborately on security challenges in the country and the way forward. I believe you must have come across a copy of the lecture because I recall that your management adopted it as an official document of the institute.
As should be expected, as security chiefs, your main preoccupation is the Security of our dear country. This explains why the theme for course 14 is on “Governance, Security and Sustainable development in Africa: Nexus, Challenges and Prospects”. This is a well thought out theme, particularly coming on the heels of sundry security challenges in the country and by extension, Africa.
It is a settled truism that there can be no development without security. Put differently, security begets a peaceful environment and a peaceful environment drives entrepreneurship. Your concern for security and sustainable development is therefore well placed.
Having said this let me admit that of late we have had one or two security challenges in the state. However, apart from these recent security breaches and pockets of crime here and there, lmo State remains the safest state in this part of the country. Your presence in our state is timeous because we need to exchange ideas on the security challenges and other issues of mutual benefit that would aid our country and people overcome their fears.
Before I update you with some information on our state and people, let me inform you that conscious of the fact that there can be no development without security, my government has left no stone unturned in ensuring that Imo State is safe and secure. To facilitate the security of our people, our first task on assumption of office was to provide over 100 patrol vehicles, fully equipped with modern communication gadgets. This ensures that, through our toll-free call centre, established by the federal government, the people can put emergency calls across to the patrol vehicles to draw attention to a crime scene. Also by effectively collaborating with all the security agencies in the state, crime-busting has been made much easier and the crime rate has significantly dropped.
Let me now give you a snippet of the background of this great state that produced the flamboyant K.O Mbadiwe, the charismatic Sam Mbakwe, and the sports legends of our time; Emmanuel Amuneke and Chioma Ajunwa, to mention just a few.
Imo was created in 1976 from the old East Central state by the government of Major General Murtala Mohammed. It has a land area of 5,530 Square kilometres, with an estimated population of over 5 million people. Not surprisingly, Imo state has one of the highest population densities in the country which varies from 230 to 1,400 people per square kilometer.
Imo people have a very rich cultural heritage expressed in their dancing, festival costumes and special cuisines. The Ahiajuku festival and the new yam festival are the two major festivals celebrated by our people.
Agriculture and commerce are the mainstays of the Imo State economy. Among the major cash crops grown in the state are cassava, rubber, cocoa, maize, yam and palm oil. Indeed, palm oil is produced in virtually all the local governments of the state. Perhaps this explains why Imo state has one of the biggest oil palm plantations in West Africa, the Adapalm, located in Ohaji/ Egbema local government area.
However, in addition to agriculture, Imo State is blessed with several natural resources. They include crude oil, natural gas, lead, calcium and zinc. Also, white clay, fine sand, limestone and salt are found in commercial quantities in the state.
For tourists who seek exciting sites for relaxation, Imo State offers exquisite tourist centres such as the famous Oguta Lake with its sand beaches, the rolling hills of Okigwe and the Nekede botanical zoological gardens.
Imo state has 27 local government areas made up of three senatorial zones of Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu. It is important to state here that though we are rich in minerals and agricultural produce, our strength lies in human resources.
Prior to my contesting the governorship election in 2019, I commissioned a study to evaluate the economic strength of every of our 27 local government areas. The study revealed that all the Local governments have palm trees in commercial quantity. It further revealed that we have deposits of limestone in the Okigwe areas as well as other natural resources.
It therefore became imperative that there must be a solid road network to facilitate the harnessing of these rich natural resources for the rapid development of the state. it was clear to me that good roads will not only greatly enhance commerce but will equally facilitate investments, particularly small and medium scale.
That in a nutshell informed our decision to start with a comprehensive road revolution that will turn the state’s economy around. This has seen us complete and commission 22 roads within our first one year in office. Another 24 roads are in varying degrees of completion. Our vision is to have quality motorable roads to ease the movement of our people with goods and services to ensure economic competitiveness and social development.
Again we also realised that we needed to tap the natural resources across the state, especially Palm produce, which bye products are cash cows. First, we rehabilitated the Adapalm Nig ltd which was abandoned for years. Currently, the plant produces 100 metric tonnes of first-grade palm oil per day. The Harvesters of palm in the various villages have ready buyers and what’s more, they have a solid road network to make business easier for them.
As I mentioned earlier, our strength lies in our human resources. As a cosmopolitan state, our youths quest for education is almost insatiable, hence our resolve to open up more spaces for them to actualize their dreams. We have established two more universities, namely the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and the k.O Mbadiwe University, to cater for the huge educational needs of our people. No one should be in doubt that the establishment of the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is designed to translate our abundant agricultural potentials into a modern mechanised process that can feed the nation. Our overall goal is to produce quality, highly skilled manpower that would be an asset to our developmental needs.
We have moved further to ensure that graduates of our tertiary institutions do not become a social burden to the state. We have established an elaborate skills acquisition scheme for their training and empowerment. As we speak, more than 15 ,000 beneficiaries of this programme will soon become employers of labour, as we plan to equip them with start-up capital soon.
Realising the abundance of natural resources at our disposal, we have put every machinery in motion to encourage private sector investments, particularly in the oil and gas sector. This explains why, within a short period, we have been able to encourage the siting of a gas plant in the state by SEPLAT, and a modular refinery as, well by Waltersmith
Also working assiduously to resuscitate our moribund industries, we have entered into an MOU with a seasoned private consulting firm, DELOTTE, for the purpose. We anticipate that sooner than later most of the moribund industries will come around and will be in a position to provide jobs for our teeming youths, to keep them away from crime.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all know the nexus between idleness and criminality that is why as a Government we have to do our best to engage our youths in productive ventures. While we acknowledge that crime and criminality have assumed a more dangerous dimension lately, it is still imperative to address the causative factors chief of which is unemployment.
This is an area that I believe that you have the expertise to interface with the government to find a solution to the growing rate of insecurity ravaging our nation. While there exist some disgruntled elements who want to take advantage of the current security challenges to cause anarchy, we have a larger percentage of patriotic Nigerians who desire peace and progress in Nigeria.
Just recently, the south east geopolitical zone set up its own security outfit, Ebubeagu , to combat crime by complementing the efforts of the federal government and security agencies. I can tell you that I initiated the security summit that gave birth to the formation of Ebubeagu. I thank my brother Governors who joined me in responding promptly to address the security threats to our collective existence as a people. However, my concern goes beyond the security of Imo State or the south east but that of the entire country. I believe that a threat to security anywhere in the country is a threat to security everywhere in the country.
Let me use this auspicious occasion to reiterate my stance that the recent security breaches in the south east do not in any way suggest that Ndigbo are tired of being part of Nigeria. All we want is justice, equity and fairness in a big Nigerian family.
Secession is not on the table. Anyone championing that does not represent Ndigbo. We have a greater stake in a united Nigeria and will not be party to any scheme that will bring division among us. All we want is equity, justice and a level playing ground that allows the Eagle to perch and the kite to perch as well.
My takeaway package for the course 14 members is this: Unemployment is at the root of criminality in Nigeria and Africa. This is followed by ethnic distrust which is often fuelled by insensitive public statements by some members of the political class, who place self and primordial considerations above national interest. Find the cure to these two cancerous ailments and Nigeria and Africa will be relatively safe and secure.
On that note, let me welcome you once more to our state. As you move from one local government to the other, our famed hospitality would be made manifest. I am also hoping that by the time you finish your one weeklong tour of the state, you will be well placed to give us some hints on your security findings as well. Indeed I will be only too eager to receive your inputs on how to strengthen the security architecture both in Imo State and Nigeria generally to the betterment of our people.
Thank you all. I wish a very successful outing and a memorable stay in Imo State. At the end of your assignment, may God grant you journey mercies back to your respective stations.
Sen. Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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