By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has launched a Special joint security team “Operation Akpakwu” comprising all security agencies including police, Army, Navy amongst others.
While launching “Operation Akpakwu” on Thursday at the governor’s office in Calabar, the governor told criminals including kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits to steer clear of the state or wrath in jail.
Gov. Ayade also appealed to the Federal government to fulfil the agreement with the defunct Bakassi Strike Force to grant amnesty to them through the state government.
Speaking at the event, Ayade who was flanked by all the service commanders in the state, vowed to return the state, particularly Calabar, to the paradise it once was.
He said though statistically, Cross River remains one of the safest places in the country he decried the recent incidents of criminality, especially kidnappings in the state.
His words: “Every criminal in the Cross River at this point must relocate immediately or wrath in jail as the state will no longer be a haven for their kind.
“Cross River State statistically remains the safest state in Nigeria, however as a state, we are used to the culture of zero kidnappings, zero cultisms and zero robberies.
“In recent past, there has been an increase in crime within the Niger Delta and the country as a whole arising from the difficulty orchestrated by #EndSars as well as Covid-19 which brought general poverty and general hardship upon the entire world.
“The instruction is very clear from Abuja, you must deal decisively with any form of criminality, you must deal decisively with any form of banditry, cultism, kidnapping of any form.
“Let this, therefore, be a strong message to every Cross Riverian and non-indigenes alike, that as far as you are resident in Cross River State, today is the end of that criminality.
“Today is the end of armed robbery, banditry must end today. We have received very clear instructions from the federal government and I have supported and I stand strong with all my military men and the police that they must comply with the obligations.
“The instructions and orders of the Inspector General of Police and the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces that Cross River State must be made safe,” he said.
Speaking further, Ayade blamed the spate of kidnappings and robberies in the state on outsiders, citing the police records of those arrested so far in the state over crimes.
He stated that going forward, every landlord in the state must account for every tenant as part of the regulations which he has signed into law under the Homeland security.
The governor also declared that under this operation “Akpakwu” government will henceforth demolish any property belonging to, or being occupied by kidnappers and robbers.
Ayade bemoaned the non-inclusion of the Bakassi Strike Force in the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government after voluntarily surrendering their arms at the behest of the state and federal government.
“We want to ask the federal government to explain to us why the Bakassi Strike Force has not been given proper restitution, rehabilitation and reintegration as they have done in other states.
“I plead in the name of God that the Bakassi Strike Force should be admitted into amnesty so that they can have their due and be properly trained so they can become citizens that will bring value to society.”, he lamented.
Speaking on behalf of the service commanders in the state, the Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Abdulkadir Jimoh commended governor Ayade for his proactive steps in crime-fighting and pledged the commitment of security agencies in the state to keeping Cross River safe free from criminals.
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