Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan has implemented what he is calling an Anti-Terrorism Squad to help reduce kidnappings and robberies in the southeastern region of the country.
The president says the squad will cover all cities and states in southeast Nigeria and is necessary because insecurity in that part of the country has become a national embarrassment.
Chinedu Offor covered this story from Owerri in Imo State. He explained the new security outfit is made up of specially trained police and military officers. He says they are manned at strategic check-points in and around the affected cities in southeastern Nigeria.
Offor said violence especially kidnappings is spreading throughout the region.
?It started with the Niger Delta where militants were demanding a fair share of the revenue, so they started blowing up oil pipelines. They also started kidnapping young people and others unemployed. Criminal gangs have now started kidnapping people for ransom. It has spread from the Niger Delta to neighboring states and people are being kidnapped for as little as 5-10 dollars. The government says it can no longer allow these criminal acts to continue, so it has set up the Anti-Terrorism Squad to deal with it,? said Offor.
Offor said the governors of southeastern Nigeria called on the President to do something about the kidnappings.
?The police and other military forces are controlled from Abuja. Only the President has the authority to order the military into any city or state to maintain law and order. And only the President ordered this new security outfit to be set up. Actually, it is also in fulfillment of a demand by the United States government that Nigeria set up an anti-terrorism squad to deal with terrorism. So the federal government of Nigeria is putting kidnapping on the same level as terrorism, explained Offor.
Offor says the new security force has hopes of making Nigeria safer not only for foreigners but for Nigerians as well.