The Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area in Benue State, George Ali, has said his council has won the battle against cultism and other social vices in the area.
He said following this he no longer received reports on cases of cultism, kidnapping and other related crimes in his domain.
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Ali, in an interview with journalists in Makurdi, said though the feat was not easy given the worrisome level of insecurity when his administration came in, with strong determination, the rate crime had been drastically reduced.
He said residents could now sleep with their eyes closed in Otukpo which is metropolitan and home to the majority of inhabitants of nine local governments in Zone C of the state.
“Basically, the setting of Otukpo is quite different from the rural local governments that you see, and once you have any local government that has this metropolitan nature, crime rate would be obviously higher compared to other local government areas that are rural in nature. But from what we did, I can tell you in the last couple of months we have not had reported cases of robbery, kidnapping or any of such crimes in Otukpo.
“The secret was that I called an expanded security meeting council meeting and I brought in experts to come and talk to our locals. We brought in Assistant Inspector General of the Police, we brought in some Army Generals and some security experts from Lagos.
“We had a fruitful two-day deliberation and came up with a lot of resolutions. First among the resolutions was that we set up a five-member group who have proven integrity as members of the committee. It was aimed at tackling the issue of cultism and drugs-related matters because we know that practically people who rob these days are between age bracket of 18 and 30 years whom when caught confessed that they are cultists or members of one fraternity or the other.
“So we related these to drugs and went to look for those people who sell drugs illegally. We clamped down on them and also got some of these boys. They gave us practically what we wanted,” he said.
The chairman further narrated how the organised neigbourhood watch worked together with the security agencies in Otukpo to clamp down on criminal suspects since they know who is who and those strangers who come into their domain.
He said, “For example, if you are living in a neigbourhood and you are not a worker; you don’t go out from morning until about 7pm, then once it is 10pm, you go out and they don’t see you until the next morning, it raises questions about you and people should be able to ask questions.
“So, these are the things that our neigbourhood guys are doing and it’s been very effective. Because when they arrest, they take the suspects to the police who take them to court. So Otukpo has been quite peaceful. I pray and believe that we are going to sustain what we have started so that Otukpo will be the Texas of Benue again.”