Onitsha – Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the Anambra State Governor has vowed to sweep ‘agberos’ and all forms of insecurity out of Onitsha.
Governor Soludo, popularly called ‘Charlie Nwa Mgbafor’ made the avowal on Saturday while speaking at the 22nd Ofala Festival of the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, Agbogidi.
A delegation from ASHE Foundation paying homage to the Royal Father
According to Soludo, “Onitsha, Greater Onitsha comprising the 5 LGAs of Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Oyi and Idemili North, is the biggest city in Ala-Igbo. If Onitsha, as the biggest city in Ala-Igbo doesn’t move forward, Ala-Igbo cannot move forward.
“Onitsha must be safe, agbero must go from Onitsha. From Upper Iweka, agberos everywhere. We shall sweep them away. Onitsha can’t be a city of agberos. In the next few weeks, something will happen about security in Anambra State”
The Governor also commended the revered traditional ruler for being a great custodian of Igbo culture and tradition, promising his Government’s continued Partnership with the kingdom regarding their numerous developmental projects.
Soludo thanked the Obi and the Onitsha community for the Ofala; a festival that projects Anambra and the Igbo culture
He assured the Obi of his attendance in person, at Ofala Festivals,”Last year, I attended alone but this year, I came with my wife and daughter”.
Earlier in his Ofala message, Igwe Achebe, had equally lamented the rise of insecurity and crime in the South East and Onitsha in particular.
“The country is at a dangerous crossroads politically, economically, socially, and security-wise.In the 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 the ill-advised Sit-at-Home protest that has cost Ndigbo incalculable losses in finances, properties and lives.
“Our community is not immune to the above challenges. Our people are also hurting badly. Therefore, despite the fact that the Ofala remains a celebration, we have made a conscious decision to prune down the scope of the festival for this year to more restrained levels in line with the prevailing mood in the country.“We hope that the situation will improve significantly to enable us to resume the festival at normal levels in the future.”On how insecurity is affecting Onitsha, Achebe said: “Like other large cities in the country, Onitsha had its own share of security challenges during the past year.“Being the centrepiece of a massive urban spread of contiguous communities, it is virtually impossible to defend our community from the overall security situation in the urban conundrum.“Also, being the main centre for economic activity, Onitsha has become the destination for the mostly jobless and transient youths from rural communities in search of an elusive better life.“Consequently, our main challenges remain youth unemployment, gangsterism, touting, homelessness, petty and armed robbery, cultism, drug addiction, child prostitution, rape, etc.”
He lamented that the indigenous community is not spared from these pressures of urbanisation and that his council is constantly struggling to maintain security in the city. He added that the statutory security agencies are mostly reactive towards crime, leaving the Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG) with 25 operatives, under the command of the state government and the Onicha Ado Community Vigilante Unit (OCVU), with 59 operatives under his command to cater for the security of the city.
The royal father also expressed his appreciation to Globacom Telecommunications Ltd and other sponsors for their continued sponsorship despite the prevailing dire economic situation in the country.
Dignitaries that graced the occasion include Mr Peter Obi, former Anambra State Governor and Labour Party Presidential candidate in the 2023 Presidential Election, HRM Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, Eze Ogbunechendo of Ezema-Olo, Chairman, South East Traditional Rulers Council, etc
There was equally a delegation representing the ASHE (African Social Harmony and Enlightenment) Foundation led by their Vice President, Ifeanyi Ochonogor. Other members of the delegation were Lekan Faloye, Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE, COREN and Nnamdi Ochonogor.
ASHE Foundation is a foundation geared towards the promotion of fraternity and unity among Ndigbo and their Yoruba brethren, as a necessary step towards the unification of Original Africans; the peoples of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt.
ASHE Foundation has the 5 Kings namely the Ooni of Ife, the Obi of Onitsha, the Obong of Calabar, the Attah of Igala and the Aku Ụka of Wukari as custodians and members of it’s Board of Trustees.
The 2023 Ofala witnessed colourful displays by several age grades, titled men in the kingdom, the Otu Odu Onitsha women group, etc.