By Chimezie Anaso
Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra on Wednesday imposed an indefinite dusk-to-dawn ban on the movement of motorcycles, tricycles and shuttle buses in eight local government areas of the state.
In effect, those vehicles are not to operate in the local government areas between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Seven of the local government areas are in Anambra South Senatorial District while eighth one is in Anambra North Senatorial District.
Soludo announced in a state broadcast that the ban on movement takes effect from May 26,
The affected local government areas are Aguata, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Orumba North and Orumba.
Soludo said motorcycles, tricycle and shuttle buses were banned from operating on Mondays in the affected areas until the “Sit-at-Home’’ order imposed by the proscribed Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) completely stopped.
The governor said the decision became imperative in the face of growing insecurity which was threatening the existence and economic prosperity of the state.
The governor also announced a four-week deadline within which all fuel stations in Anambra must install 24-hour Closed Circuit TVs.
All commercial transport vehicles, tricycles and motorcycles must also re-register with biometric details to reflect the real identities of their operators.
“All transporters, bus drivers, shuttle drivers, tricycle (keke) and commercial motorcycle riders must immediately report any suspicious passenger.
“This exercise shall immediately be commenced and anyone who defaults in complying after four weeks from Wednesday would be treated as a suspect and adequate measures taken against him or her.
“All hotels are directed to obtain the means of identification of their guests and keep an inventory of all guests in their hotels and management of the hotels should immediately report any suspicious persons or group of persons checking into or converging on their hotels.
“Immediate sanctions would attend any dereliction in that regard, including possibly shutting down or demolition of such hotels,’’ the governor announced.
Soludo noted that the phenomenon of the so-called ‘unknown gunmen’ who attacked his campaign rally in March 2021, claiming lives of three policemen, had continued to threaten the peace and progress of the state.
He stressed that it was no longer acceptable.
The governor said the gunmen are not spirits but human beings who lived with or occupied forests in communities.
He called on town unions, market leaders and youths to provide information on the activities of the gunmen.
He warned that owners of hotels, landlords of houses and communities where criminal gangs hibernate who refused to disclose their presence to the government would have their properties and lands confiscated.
According to him, the ‘unknown gunmen’ are a tiny minority of less than 0.1 per cent of the population.
He said they would not succeed to redefine the people by attacking their age-long values of enterprise, Christianity and hospitality.
Soludo said while the State Security Council planned deploy kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to end the menace, sustainable peace and security could not be achieved without the cooperation and solidarity of the people.
He said also that government had done all that was possible to assuage genuinely aggrieved agitators including organising peace and security dialogues, granting of amnesty, setting up of peace and reconciliation and meeting the leader of IPOB.
He noted that criminal elements masquerading as freedom fighters refused to abide with the withdrawal of the Monday “sit-at-home’’ regime imposed by IPOB to continue to kill and to destroy properties of those they claim to be fighting for.
“We visited Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and he reiterated that he never authorised the senseless “Sit-at- Home’’, and absolved his organisation, IPOB, from the crass criminality, especially the barbaric enforcement of the Sit-at-home and the kidnappings and spilling of blood.
“Despite the above, the criminal gangs are unrelenting in their desperation to maintain their very lucrative criminal enterprise and expand their other agenda of domination.
“These criminals causing mayhem in Anambra, albeit of disparate groups and gangs, are Igbos (dominantly from other Southeast states) whose real objective is lucrative criminality and foisting their idolatrous religion on the region.
“They claim to be fighting for the people and yet randomly kill the same people, destroying their livelihood, and stopping their children from going to school.
“What has agitation got to do with kidnappings including kidnapping of priests of God, invasion of churches and tabernacles including desecration of the Altars of God?
“They have failed, and will continue to fail. Millions of our people live in the northern and other parts of Nigeria, and Anambra people are known for their uncommon hospitality.
“The criminals are in our forests, communities, and houses owned by individuals, they do not come from the air, and hence are not `unknown’ gunmen.
“While we continue to commit Anambra unto the hands of God, we as a people must rise up to clean and cleanse our land.
“These phone numbers are managed in my office in strictest confidentiality, call, text or WhatsApp on, 09017280990, 07039896429, 09167514891, 09076237441, 09168041120, 08093175528, 08124153139 and we will respond expeditiously,’’ the governor said.
Soludo restated his N10 million bounty for information on those who killed and beheaded Dr Okechukwu Okoye, a lawmaker and his aide Mr Cyril Chiegboka.
Soludo added that those who provide information on criminals would get N1 million upwards.
The governor commiserated with families of those who had lost loved ones in the wave of insecurity in the state.