Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, on Thursday, December 3, stepped out in military uniform to launch a special security operation to flush out kidnappers, bandits, and criminals out of the state.
Code-named Operation Akpakwu, the outfit draws personnel from the army, navy, Air Force, and Civil Defence.
To enhance operations, the governor handed over 100 patrol vehicles fitted with cutting edge communication gadgets, ten power bikes, and drones.
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 statistics indicate that the state remains one of the safest in the country, he decried recent incidents of criminality, especially kidnappings in the state.
“In recent past, the increasing number of crime within the Niger Delta and the country as a whole arising from the difficulty orchestrated by Endsars as well as Covid19 which brought general poverty and general hardship upon the entire world, with Nigeria, not an exception. Given that background, a lot of our citizens have taken to criminality as a means of livelihood, but as a country, we have a responsibility to our youths,” he stated.
The Governor said, “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, the 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 obvious 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.”
The governor 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 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.
He decried 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.