By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke,Â and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Owan-Enoh, among others at the weekend proffered solutions to the rising spate of insecurity in the state.
Apart from the state, they frowned particularly at the security situationÂ in the central senatorial district, which was referred to as â€˜theatre of warâ€™.
Imoke, Owan-Enoh and others spoke at the PeaceÂ and Security Summit 2017, held in Ikom Town, about 200 kilometres from the state capital, Calabar.
Speaking at the event,Â the Chairman of the Cross River Partnership for Peace and Security, Mr. Lawrence Alobi, said that insecurity in the state can be seen from the numerous communal clashes and cult war, among other violent crimes that has claimed the lives of several persons in recent times, and their attendant wanton destruction of properties.
Alobi, who declared the summit open, said that it was disturbing that the state which was once rated as the most peaceful in the country has became a theatre of war.
â€œI served as a police officer maintaining law and order promoting peace and security for 35 years,Â and it pains my heart how my people, young men are causing mayhem destroying themselves in the name of cultism. Communities that are supposed to live together in peace are fighting each other.
â€œIt is particularly disturbing that Cross River Central senatorial district has gained an unfortunate notoriety as a theatre of war due to communal clashes, cultism and other violent crimes. We cannot allow this trend to continue because if this ugly situation is neglected it might snowball into an unimaginable level like we are witnessing today in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.â€ Â Â
Also speaking, Imoke noted that as a former governor he wondered why young people would join cults to become ready tools for politicians.
â€œI will just like to say that for the organisers to put this event together means that there must be some concern about the level of peace and security in Cross River State. It is everyoneâ€™s responsibility. That has been my own experience. The earlier nip each challenge in the bud, the better it is for each and every one of us.
â€œWhen I was governor, I was very concerned about young people joining cults and about politicians using these young people or cultists who went in and committed all kinds of crimes and offences in the name of politics sometimes in the name of support for a political party or a politician,â€ Imoke said.
Owan-Enoh, who is theÂ representative of theÂ Cross River Central senatorial district in the National Assembly, said all the six local government areas in the zone were experiencing one form of violent conflict or the other.
â€œThere is about no local government area in the district that has no communal conflict. We are gathered here because the zone has become a theatre of war, which ought not to be,â€ Owan-Enoh said.
The summit, which was organised by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution and the Foundation for Peace and Security Education in collaboration with CRPPS, attracted a former General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj-Gen. Moses Obi (retd.), a former Cross River State Security Adviser, Mr. Bassey Rekpene, and Prof.Oshita Oshita, among others.