By Patrick Ochoga
…To Decongest Prisons, Reduce Number of Inmates Awaiting Trial By 50%
To address the myriad of security challenges facing the state, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to work with relevant security agencies to reduce the incidence of crime and engender a friendly environment for investment.
Obaseki said this in his keynote address at the quarterly Federal and State Security Administrators’ Meeting (FSSAM) holding between September 14 and 15 at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Benin City, Edo State.
Narrowing down to reoccurring clashes between farmers and herdsmen, the governor said it was wrong to politicise the incidents, noting that the possession of arms by the herdsmen called for increased security measures as “the herdsmen we knew in the past were only concerned about their cows, and had no business with maps. But with what we now witness, it has become imperative to seek the support of security agencies for a safe and secure business climate.”
Obaseki also said that the proliferation of hate speeches has become a national concern that must be nipped in the bud, as it portends unsavoury implications not just for the people but also for attracting investment.
Noting that the state is committed to ensuring a safe environment for business, he said “we are revamping the Operation Thunderstorm in the state, a security initiative that was set up by my predecessor, former governor Comrade Adams Oshiomole. We intend on improving the security infrastructure in the state. In this regard, we need the cooperation of members of security services who are in Edo State, including the Military, The Nigeria Police, and all others.”
He said that as the gateway state to the South-South section of the country, the state was committed to attracting investment and creating jobs, hence it would not take matters of security and law enforcement with levity.
On the state of the prisons in the state, governor Obaseki said that the state was working on decongesting the state prisons, adding, “we want to decongest the prisons. We are working to reduce the number of persons in the prisons. We want to reduce the number of inmates by 50 percent. We want to relocate the prison at Sapele road by expanding Oko prisons.”
Mrs. Emi Ogunboye, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Special Services at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Amb. Aminu Nabegu, said that the federal government was worried about the recent resort to hate speeches by secessionist agitators.
Speaking on the imperative of national security, unity and the need to avoid divisive tendencies, she noted, “The pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has heightened its secessionist campaign. This has caused other youth groups in the North and South West to issue ultimatum for Igbos to leave their areas. The Federal government cautions groups and individuals involved in spreading hate to desist from the act. The continued existence of this country in our best interest.”
The Secretary to the Edo State government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie Esq., said the state was honoured to be hosting the event, stressing that he hoped that the participants would make recommendations that would help the government in maintaining law and order.
He said, “Edo state is a critical link for connecting different parts of the state. There is a connection between security and economic growth. We want to ensure that Edo state provides the right atmosphere that guarantees that investors not only come with investments, but that their investment is secure.”