The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello, no doubt, has recorded unprecedented achievements in the area of security and fight against crimes in the state, just as he had done in other sectors.

From the earliest times of human societies, provision of security is the foremost responsibility of those in government to the people they govern.

Governments all over the world at different levels ensure they pay close attention to the security apparatus that exist within their domain, as any threat to securing lives and ensuring the safety of the citizenry connote an attack on its sovereignty and legitimacy.

Unfortunately, the challenges of ensuring security have in recent times become enormous and herculean in our country.

This is because, many youths, due to the collapse of societal values, have plunged into dangerous acts of criminality.

The mindset of hard work and uprightness amongst many a young person had since been jettisoned for corner-cutting to get quick short-term success.

Another very crucial point to note as a cause of the complexity in combating crimes in our society is the overwhelming unemployment rates, which have remained unattended to until recently.

While many remained idle, they become willing tools of evil and end up venturing into the underworld.

The responsibility of the governor of a confluence state (Kogi), which shares boundaries with about 10 states of different ethnic disposition becomes more tedious given the evident influx from all over these regions without restrictions.

Governor Yahaya Bello from the inception of his administration on January 27, 2016 had an understanding that as the executive governor of the state, he was under obligation to ensure that the people whom he now governs are adequately secured.

The previous administrations allowed the security conditions in the state deteriorate into a deplorable state of anarchy and which could then be best described using Thomas Hobbes’ coinage of a situation where life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.

The governor with his New Direction Administration refused to settle for this status quo and was resolute in its blueprint to nip in the bud, acts of criminality and its sources in the confluence state.

A critical comparison of the volatile security conditions before his inception and the evident progresses made by his administration within the first six month until date had since become a model, which other governors had since adopted.

These success stories have also attracted awards from stakeholders within the security strata.

For instance, the state between the periods of January to June 2016 recorded 167 kidnapping cases in the Central Senatorial District; 42 in the Eastern Senatorial District and 39 in the western Senatorial District.

This ugly situation was however brought down in July 2016 following the concerted efforts by the Governor Bello’s administration. As at today, only isolated cases were being recorded in the state.

Before Bello assumed office in 2016, acts of terrorism held sway with records of attacks on churches, residences, security operatives’ offices. More seriously, Boko Haram cells, which served as factories for manufacturing IEDs, were discovered in several parts of the state between 2011 and 2012.

Several police stations were attacked between 2011 and 2015.

The Department of State Security Service (DSS) office in Lokoja was attacked on September 25, 2015, which left three people dead while some terror suspects kept in the facility were freed.

Another ugly case was an attack on the Deeper Life Bible Church, Okene, on June 8, 2012 were 19 worshippers were killed.

Several other attacks nd killings were also recorded in Okene and environs within the period.

A total of 16 bank robberies were witnessed in various banks across the state between 2011 and 2015:

First Bank Kabba – November 19, 2011; First Bank Aiyetoro Gbede –December 19, 2011; First Bank Ankpa – April 25, 2012; First Bank Ajaokuta – September 27, 2013; Unity Bank – April 25, 2012; First Bank and Mainstreet Banks were simultaneously robbed in Kabba on October 1, 2014

In the same vein, Union Bank Egume came under attack on August 10, 2014; United Bank of Africa (UBA) Odo-Ere, December 18, 2014; Akwengwu Microfinance Bank Adavi – November 27, 2015 and others.

However, the situation was brought under control by the Administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

It is on record that since Governor Bello took over, only UBA Odo-Ere was attacked in 2016.

Aside from these, the state government also inherited a situation where there was seemingly low level of collaborations and synergy amongst the security agencies in the state.

There was a poorly structured intelligence mechanism, lack of right logistics for security agency to operate and a state proliferated with political thuggery.

It was quite clear that these security challenges required immediate solutions if the administration was ever interested in successfully delivering on its plans and programmes to move the Confluence State towards a New Direction.

These proffered strategic solutions and proactive action have, in the last four years of his administration ensured that the state has moved truly towards the New Direction most especially in the area of securing the lives of the people of the state.

Measures put in place include the establishment of a well-structured intelligence gathering mechanism; creating the needed synergy among the security agencies in the state for smoother operation and intelligence sharing; identification of critical stakeholders like traditional rulers, youth leaders, women leaders and ensuring that they were incorporated as vital security stakeholders in the State.

In order to improve on intelligence gathering, the government established the Kogi Vigilante Service (KVS) and has so far recruited and trained over 6,000 operatives in the last four years.

This singular act has recorded huge success in intelligence gathering and ensuring that these operatives assist security operatives to gather intelligence within their locality.

Some of this information, which might be inaccessible by other mainframe security agency because of their lack of understanding of the terrain or the locality are now accessible because the local vigilantes, have the perfect understanding of the language and the terrain allowing them to easily penetrate and access valid information.

The government remains optimistic that it would continue to expand such programme and ensure that these operatives are available within the nooks and crannies of the state, as they would help to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the State.

Amidst concern of meager available resources, the Kogi state government has continued to prioritize the security of its people. This is evident in the huge capital and recurrent investment it has made so far in the last four years.

Some of these huge spending included the purchase, maintenance and fueling of over 160 vehicles provided for security agencies and building of a Forward Operation Base (FOB) for the Nigerian Army in Okene, which gulped over N270 million.

These interventions have now doubt helped moved Kogi State from its scary and gory past of insecurity to become the Confluence of peace and tranquility.

Similarly, the monthly payment of about N58million for Kogi Vigilantes; payment of about N50million monthly allowances as well as introduction of a whistle blowing policy with a reward of N500,000 for persons with reliable information that could foist any act of criminality or nab perpetrators of crime have boasted the morals of security operatives and sincere citizens.

The state have also in recent times infused technological advancements into its crime combating apparatus as it recently commissioned a quick emergency reporting and response operation centre in Lokoja codenamed under the Operation Total Freedom.

The Vigiscope (Vgs) Operation centre is a technological incorporated security driven initiative of the Governor Bello-led administration in partnership with a private company (Vigiscope Limited).

The governor believed that security has transcended beyond manual operations, and the state was obliged to follow in similar clime, while he was also optimistic that the new operation centre would improve on the level of security currently in place in the state.

The recently commissioned technologically driven security and safety apparatus, which comprised of three major components namely, the mobile reporter, the dispatcher and VGs responder is believed to be another step in the right direction by the New Direction Administration that would enhances quick responses by security and safety operatives across the state.

The vital truth is that the project of security is quite expensive, but Governor Bello has remained resolute that nothing could ever be too much to expend on the security and safety of the lives and property of the people.

As an administration, its belief is founded on the premise that once security is guaranteed, other aspects of the people’s life would also thrive and as such, the desire to deliver a secured Kogi State can never be overrated.

In the last quarter of 2019, cult activities resurfaced in the tertiary institutions across across.

The state governor summoned all heads of high institutions for an extraordinary security meeting on January 3, 2020 and gave a stern warning that any vice chancellor, rector and provost who cannot curb the menace of cultism on the campus should resign before February 28.

With this directive and the internal security network, over 14 cultists have so far been apprehended while carrying out their illicit activities at different parts of the state between between January 8 to February 20, 2020.

In the same vein, over 200 people belonging to different confraternities denounced their membership at the Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba on Friday, 28 of February, 2020.

On the resurgence of kidnappings in some parts of the state, the state government confronted the criminals ferociously as the governor quickly established a Mopol Squadron Unit along the troubled areas of Obajana-Kabba road and Okene in Kogi State.

The government in perfect collaboration with the Nigerian police force had carried out aerial surveillance to identify the locations of criminals and smoke them out using the ground forces.

The government at its third executive council meeting held on February 18, 2020 under the second term administration of Yahaya Bello gave approval for the procurement of security vehicles and other sophisticated gadgets to enable security agencies in the state fight crimes.

The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello, no doubt, has recorded unprecedented achievements in the area of security and fight against crimes in the state, just as he had done in other sectors.

All that is required is for the citizens of the Confluence State to continue to give their unalloyed supports to the government in its quest to provide good governance for the people.

Onogwu Muhammed is chief press secretary to Kogi State governor.