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Community leaders not shielding criminals in Anambra – ASATU

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…Tasks police on confidentiality of informants

Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) has said that it was wrong for the police in Anambra to infer that community leaders were shielding criminal elements in the state by not providing information to aid apprehension of such disgruntled elements unleashing terror and mayhem in the communities.

It would be recalled that the police in Anambra State had last Monday, held an elaborate press conference where the Police Commissioner, amongst a host of pertinent issues, said categorically that community leaders were unwilling to provide intelligence to the police for effective policing of communities in the state, arguing that the police cannot function effectively without useful intelligence.

But responding to such sensitive and very incisive statements from the Police Commissioner, the National President of ASATU, Titus Nnabuike Akpudo said rather than make wrong inferences, the police should be more effective, proactive and responsive in the discharge of its constitutional duties.

Chief Akpudo, who spoke with our correspondent in his office at the ASATU Complex, Government House, Awka, maintained that individuals were willing and able to provide useful information to the police to aid their operations but the big problem is the confidentiality of such information to protect, as well as safeguard the identity of the source.

Akpudo therefore expressed worry that most times, police seldom respond to distress calls and hardly partner community vigilantes to complement their efforts in the hinterlands.

He said, ” if in actual sense the CP made that assertion that community leaders are the ones shielding criminals in their localities; I say that that inference needs a serious and concrete evidence to cement it. And failure to do that will not lend any credence to that particular inference.

“The community leaders to me are not shielding criminals and nobody will like to live with a criminal in his community. The police should also rise up to the occasion and beef up security in the state.

They should cooperate and collaborate with community leaders and vigilante men within the communities and set up a team that would be receiving distress calls from the communities and also ensure that information given to them are well managed to ensure the safety of the person giving out the information. “

The ASATU National President further disclosed that traditional rulers and other community leaders give out information but the most important thing, according to him, is the confidentiality of the information given out as many traditional rulers are under threats for providing information to the police.

Akpudo revealed that so many traditional rulers in Anambra-South Senatorial Zone have eloped from  their communities for fear of being attacked, adding that there was need for the police to regain the confidence and trust of the people to enable the police police them very well while commending the Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo for creating a channel of communication for the citizenry where they can provide useful intelligence to government to entrench, as well as guarantee a tranquil atmosphere in Anambra state.

Akpudo said: “Most times, police within the hinterlands don’t respond to distress calls from community leaders when there is crisis. Although I must commend the CP for prevailing on the DPO at Isulo to identify corpses of a woman and her four children as requested by morticians at the mortuary, if not, the PG and the Igwe would be in trouble.

“If not the way the community leaders, traditional rulers and the youths are managing their localities, I bet you, some of us will not be in Anambra State today. Most of the police stations are under lock and key on Mondays and you won’t see anyone of them on the roads on that day.

“At this point, I appeal to the federal government to facilitate and ensure the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as I believe that would add a lot of strength to the efforts in securing peace in the Southeast region of Nigeria.”

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