By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade on Friday disclosed that he had written to President Muhammadu Buhari for help in tackling the rising tide of insecurity in the state, especially its capital, Calabar and the surrounding communities.
Ayade who made the announcement while briefing journalists on the security situation in the state also said his administration had reeled out immediate security measures to provide safety for lives and property in every part of the state.
The governor blamed the increasing in criminal activities in the state to the non-extension of the operations of the new security outfit for the Niger Delta region, “Operation Delta Safe” to the state after the Federal Government scrapped “Operation Pulo Shield.”Ayade who was flanked by service commanders, who accompanied him to the venue of the meeting shortly after they held a security council meeting with him said: “We have done a detailed research. It is very obvious and very clearly too that the existence of Operation Pulo Shield which was to provide security for the Niger Delta which underwent a lot of restructuring and in more recent times replaced with Operation Delta Safe. The Operation Delta Safe as it were focused more on the oil pipelines and protection of states that have oil pipelines, so it started in Akwa Ibom and ended in Delta State. Therefore the federal security might that precipitated on those core Niger Delta areas, made Cross River and Calabar a safe haven for these criminals. And that is why in recent past, we have had these reported incidents.
“Obviously with the detailed analysis of the service commanders, it became very clear that we needed an emergency SOS report to the President to plead that Operation Delta Safe must be extended to cover Cross River State, otherwise Cross River would be a lone state, standing alone without security cover, while the Niger Delta is covered by Operation Delta Safe.”
Ayade identified unemployment and the infiltration of the state by non-indigenes as other contributors to increase in crime wave in the state.
“The second and major challenge is the great issue on unemployment and the challenge of young men and women conniving with people who are not Indigenes of this state to habour these criminals. From our security reports, we have arrested 47 people so far ,and of these, none is a Cross Riverian. And that gives me good news that the culture, the heritage, character, integrity and honour of the people of this state has not changed; but the massive infiltration of the state by non-indigenes, “Ayade said.
However, Ayade said the state had adopted some immediate measures to restore the normally to the states security situation.
“We have also realised that cultism has been on the increase and therefore as government, we want to take deliberate steps to ensure that any person who is in cult of any form and is in government must be thrown out. We have also taken very strong action that the issue of communal clash that has become replete in our state must stop. Against that background all communities that are at war, all the traditional rulers, chiefs in such communities, their certificates as traditional rulers is hereby withdrawn. I want to assure the people of Cross River State that we have understood the basis of this crime. We have security reports on certain people, their homes, their agents, their modus operandi are being analysed by my security commanders and we are confident that the action you will see in a matter of days to come, you will see a difference.
“We have decided to increase the budgetary position for security. As I speak today we have had a position to provide additional 30 vehicles to cover just the Calabar city alone. We have also made provisions to expand our security network to increase the fire power of Operation Skolombo. It is against that background also that we have decided as I have said before to provide the Cross River State Homeland Security Service, a new establishment that will provide security reports to support Operation Skolombo”, the Governor said.