USAfricaonline.com NEWS Exclusive:
For foiling kidnap crimes, Onitsha America’s president Dr. Egbunike announces N1milllion to Police command
Special report by Chido Nwangwu in New York
In a bold and target-specific response to the gallant efforts of the Onitsha Police command in thwarting the criminal, reprehensible, violent failed attempt by kidnap hoodlums who assaulted the residential area of the Obi of Onitsha and the Chairman of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, Onitsha America Inc (OAI) has announced its decision to donate N1million (Nigeria’s Naira) to six officers of Onitsha Police command. The six policemen are members of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, (SARS) attached to the Onitsha Area command.
This news was communicated directly to an appreciative Inspector General of Nigeria’s Police Ogbonna Onovo in the early evening of Sunday October 19, 2009, in New York by the Onitsha America group led by Houston-based medical doctor and health information technology investor Onwa Chudi Egbunike as recorded, exclusively, by USAfricaonline.com CLASSmagazine, IgboEvents e-group and www.PhotoWorks.TV
The newly appointed police chief Onovo expressed his personal regards for the Igwe Achebe family condemned the foiled kidnapping and such crimes especially in the south eastern area. Onovo said in an upbeat and promising tone that: “I assure Nigerians that the police and the intelligence services are actively combating these criminals. We promise you here and other Nigerians a very safe christmas…. I look forward to seeing most of you home in December 2009.”
He highlighted the new approaches as yielding results, and he cited references to some major arrests.
Onovo was also presented a plaque by Onitsha America for his “professional accomplishments in the Nigerian police” and two bestselling history books: ‘Among the Igbos of Nigeria’ by G.T Basden and ‘The King in Everyman’ written by Prof. Richard Henderson of Yale University. He was also handed a plaque for the Police area commander Onitsha until the presentation of the N1million at a later date at the Kam Salem Building/Police headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Ifeanyi Austin Edogu and Dr. Egbunike came in from Houston, Nnanyelugo and Mrs. Kwasie and Akunne Chike Egbunike from Boston, Ozonma Victor Ofokansi flew in from Rhode Island, Ms. Chio Chukwuma from the neighboring city of Valley Stream in New York. Dr. Ben Okonta & Dr. Mrs. Okonta were the gracious hosts.
The unedited images of the event shot by Chido Nwangwu and Leon Ibeka are on USAfrica’s mega-site www.PhotoWorks.TV
Before the presentations, Dr. Egbunike expressed his group’s “profound gratitude to your dedicated police personnel who recently in Onitsha ferociously fought and stopped rampaging criminals who were bent on disrupting the much needed peace in our community through acts of violence. We applaud the bravery and the gallantry of these police officers in ensuring the safety of lives and property in our community.”
He expressed “our outrage on these acts of extortion, kidnapping, armed robbery, and murders. We recognize that this is a problem and if unchecked will serve as an ultimate foundation for total and complete breakdown of law and order in our nation.”
For policy prescriptions, Onitsha America Inc. which has led several medical missions and charity work in Onitsha “recommends short term and long term goals” for improving security of lives and property through:
“Public/Private partnership that will encourage community policing nationwide should be encouraged through dialogue between the communities and the Nigerian Police Force. This will also help the police in intelligence gathering as well as improve communication between the two groups.”
Their second recommendation is that “Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the legislative arm of the government in Nigeria can enact a law enforceable by NCC and the Nigerian Police Force making it mandatory that all cell phone subscribers within the country must have a national identification card or officially issued government document such as a Nigerian passport as a precondition for subscription for cell phone usage as it is done in other countries of the world.”
The third item argues that the Nigerian Police Force “should exploit the use of information technology in vehicular movement as it is now done in other parts of the world.”
Nigerians have been living in fear and the daily realities of the lethal disruption of lives and families by the high-tech criminal acts of kidnapping and home invasions across parts of Nigeria, especially in the eastern heartland. Some of the gangs have acquired and used rocket launchers and massive, rapid fire machine guns while the Nigerian Police units are largely limited to the less sophisticated but reliable ally: the AK-47 and smaller value pistols.
Across the traumatized communities, there are those who argue that some corrupt police officers are “in business” with the kidnappers and some criminals. Onovo insists, as reported by USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine during the top cop’s comments at the private reception in New York that “we’re flushing any compromised persons out of the force, and we’re retraining many members of our police force.”
Over the years, political economists and some community leaders interviewed by USAfrica ad CLASSmagazine point to the failure of the leaders of Nigeria at federal, state and local levels to provide structures for responsible and gainful employment and sustained education of the embittered and deprived youth. But significantly, while many groups and citizens make largely verbal volleys and saccharine symbolic shows, the need for financial and weaponized support for the Police remain the unavoidable, urgent edge to counter the hoodlums.
The Egbunike-led Onitsha America Inc. has chosen the line of decisive action by its latest initiative and promise to support the Police and their Onitsha community back home.
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal,USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, and several blogs/e-groups. He served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates. e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com
—— USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) established May 1992, our first edition of USAfrica magazine was published August 1993; USAfrica The Newspaper on May 11, 1994; CLASSmagazine on May 2, 2003 and www.PhotoWorks.TV in 2005.