The Enugu State government has resolved to establish air surveillance as a way of dealing with the challenge of insecurity in the State.
This resolution came after an emergency security meeting between security agencies and church leaders in the State following the killing of a Catholic Priest, Fr. Paul Offu.
The State Commissioner of Police, Suleiman Balarabe, while reading a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, said that air surveillance would take care of all the forest where incessant cases of killing have been taking place.
Balarabe said that immediately after the surveillance, the security agencies will embark on rigorous joint operations from Monday, August 5 and in addition to that, security architecture around those areas would be reviewed with immediate effect.
He also noted that the State Government has observed the heavy proliferation of small and light weapons in the hands of people who should not possess them, stating that anybody who is found in possession of arms illegally will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“To that effect, the government has set up a committee comprising security agencies, Local Government chairmen and officers of the State to mop up these weapons that are in the hands of people illegally,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police said the State government would partner with security agencies and communities to ensure that the ugly incidence does not repeat itself and that the State continues to maintain its peace status.
He stated that the State governor and the people of the state in conjunction with all the security agencies condemned in totality the killing of the Catholic Priest.
He also reinstated the resolve of the police command and other security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the act.
“The State government has resolved to employ the services of forest guards and also strengthen the neighborhood watch guard as a way of ensuring adequate protection of lives and property,” the Police boss said.
The Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma said that the church was fed up with the increasing rate of killings of priests in the State and that the church was not ready again to tolerate such acts.
“We are saying that no priest will again be killed by any group in the State. We totally condemn and say no to it and we will not accept it anymore” he said.
Insisting that nobody can get Enugu into a state of violence and insecurity, Rev. Chukwuma called on the Inspector General of Police, to increase the number of the police in the State.
He said, “It has been discovered that their number is inadequate, particularly in rural areas which are usually vulnerable to attacks.
“As religious leaders, we condone with the Catholic Church for the killing of Offu. We are saying that Enugu is safe and we are also behind the governor and his efforts to ensure that life and properties is secure”.
Rev. Chukwuma noted that this is not the first time a priest is being killed or abducted in the State.
“The diocese has so far lost two priests this year in the hands of hoodlums. It is a sad thing that this is happening to us and we feel that it is an attempt to sabotage the efforts of the State government in ensuring that the State continues to maintain its peace status. Whatever the case is, we are sad and so we have come here to dialogue with the governor and the State security to find out how best to handle this issue,” he explained.
While thanking the Governor for his quick response to the sad incidence, he called on all concerned authorities to ensure that such act does not repeat itself as the people of the State do not want to start living in fear.
Until his death, Rev. Fr. Paul Offu was the parish Priest of St. James the Greater Parish, Ugbawka in Nkanu West Local Government.
He hails from Okpatu in Udi Local Government Area of the State and was reportedly taken away and killed along Ihe- Agbudu Road in Awgu.