Irked by the rising spate of cultism in the state, the Governor of Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade, has vowed to expel cultists found in his government. He also threatened to withdraw certificates of traditional rulers whose communities are at war.
This is coming as the state chief executive assured the people of the Cross River, Nigerians and foreigners that the state remains a safe haven for all to do business.
Ayade who gave the assurance in a press conference held at the Finger Park, Calabar, Friday, shortly after a closed door meeting with the service chiefs emphasized that Cross Riverians are known for their peaceful nature, and that they are completely averse to crime and criminal activities.
As part of the deliberate and concerted effort to flush out criminal elements and make Cross River and Calabar in particular to be safe, the state and indeed, Calabar has been divided into 18 security units for easy management and that 30 operational vehicles for the security agents, explaining that the security agents have equally been up and doing tracking the perpetrators of recent criminal activities in Calabar.
“We have decided to increase the budgetary provision for security. As I speak today we have provided 30 vehicles to cover Calabar city centre and made provision to expand our security network, increase the fire power of operation Skolombo and it is against this background that we have decided to prove the Cross River State Homeland Security Service, a new establishment that will provide intelligence report to support operation Skolombo
“We want to strongly state that on our honour and integrity that as a state and government, we will do everything in our power to protect the citizens. Cross River State will be a safer place, our carnival will come and go in peace. We are dividing the state and indeed Calabar into 18 different pieces, each beat will have its own commander and controlling unit, each command and controlling unit will have a direct access to the central controlling command, and each commanding centre will have a direct access to the service commanders; and at any point you have an incident or action day or night, please call the security numbers. Every single sector, every small area in the town has been sectorized to smaller units for easy management”.
He called on all law abiding citizens of Cross River state and other law abiding Nigerians and foreigners residing in the state and Calabar in particular to report any suspected movement to the law enforcement agents through the security numbers that would be made available to the public, warning that Cross River will not condone criminals and their criminal activities.
“AS a final advice, every single Cross Riverian who notice any unfamiliar movement, don’t hesitate to call our emergency numbers”.
Buttressing the peaceful disposition of Cross Riverians and their averse nature to crime, Governor Ayade disclosed that of all the 47 persons arrested in connection with various criminal activities in Calabar, none is a Cross Riverian adding also that 17 persons arrested in respect of the kidnapped of the Lafarge company worker, none of them is from the state.
“In recent time we have had incident that is not known or particular to Cross River State. We have decided to make ways and means through which we can put an end to this security threat. Cross River is known as a state for tourism, Calabar is known as destination for Africa hospitality, anything that can impede on the integrity, knowledge, wealth, values of Cross River State and indeed Calabar must be resisted by every Cross Riverian and Nigerians. It is against this background that we thought we should brief Cross Riverians on the state of security of the state”.
The governor further disclosed that as part of measure to checkmate the frequent communal clashes in the state, the state government has decided to withdraw Certificate of Recognition of traditional rulers of warring communities in the state, just as all Secret cult members who are appointees of government would be relieved of their appointments.
“We have also realized that cultism has been on the increase, we as a government will take deliberate step to ensure any person who is a cultist of any form, who is in government must be thrown out. We have also taken a strong action on the issue of communal clash that have become very prominent in our state must stop against that background, all warring counties, all communities that are at war, all traditional rulers, chiefs of such communities, their Certificates as traditional Rulers are hereby withdrawn”.
Ayade also explained that as a result of the heat which the Federal Government security measure code-named “Operation Delta Safe” is giving criminal elements in the other states of the Niger Delta which it covers up to Akwa Ibom because of the Pipelines, most of those criminals have moved toward Cross River which is not originally covered by “Operation Delta Safe”.
“We have done detailed research and it is obvious and clearly too that the existence of “Operation Pulo Shield” which was a Niger Delta security operative to provide security support for the Niger Delta which underwent a lot of restructuring at the more recent time, replaced with operation Delta Safe.
“The operation Delta Safe as it were focus more on the oil pipelines, therefore focus mainly on the protection of states that have oil pipelines; so operation Delta Safe started from Akwa Ibom and ended in Delta, therefore the Federal Security might that preceded the Niger Delta areas made Cross River and indeed Calabar a safe haven for these criminals, that is why in recent past we have had these reported incidents”, he said.
To this end, Ayade said that he has officially written to President Mohammadu Buhari to extend the coverage of Operation Delta Safe to Cross River, while at the same time appeal passionately to the Federal to reverse the 76 oil wells from Akwa Ibom to Cross River for the spirit of equity and fairness.