BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
A founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and a business tycoon Arch. Bassey Ndem, has lauded the current proactive measures put in place by Cross River state government to fish out criminals as well as kidnappers in the state.
He made the remarks in an interview in Calabar while reacting on the state of the nation as it affects the state pertaining insecurity and other related issues.
The state government needed to be commended having caught kidnappers and other criminals operating in the state recently.
Whiling expressing delight over this development, he said, “this is a good development and I pray it will maintain the tempo because security is a continuous thing. It is the business of every one and every single day challenges will continue to arise as long as crime is concerned “.
Bassey also commended the leadership of “Operation Akpakwu” and those who put it together for a very dynamic job since it was inaugurated in the state to compliment other security outfits in the state.
Aside nabbing so many of them operating in the state several months ago, the team deserved commendation from members of the public.
He called on criminals to have a rethink now that the dance steps have changed to seeking a means of livelihood rather than resorting to or indulging in crime.
Bassey said that the Federal government should be up and doing by way of taking care of the ex-militants who have been demobilised, increase in security in the Gulf of Guinea region. The Gulf of Guinea is an international waters and Nigeria has a duty to protect it especially in the area that is in our territory waters. No single country can patrol the entire stretch of Atlantic Ocean. Each country has the responsibility to protect its area while a joint patrol is necessary.
He went on to say that ” first of all I don’t think it is the old militants that have been demobilised that are involved in the renewed onslaught. Like you said, nature abhors vacuum. The Gulf of Guinea is an international waters and Nigeria to protect and defend its area and what takes place outside its own territorial waters. What takes place outside its own territorial waters should be responded to by a joint affair between the countries whose territorial waters border on the Atlantic ocean in that area. No single country can patrol the entire stretch. So each country should be responsible for its part while a joint patrol should take care of the international waters”.
“Immediately they were demoblished and amnesty granted, he said, “I recall vividly remember that they warned that there were other groups not necessarily from Cross River and Akwa Ibom who had been operating in that area but owing to their own presence had kept their activities out of this areas but now that they have been demobilised, and they have moved to land without very serious patrol of the water ways and creeks, such elements will infiltrate and take over. And we have started getting total evidence and that is why right from the onset they said this is a federal government responsibility.
Said he, “but it is a very serious problem because once you begin to create another hot spot of piracy, you just continue to add to the general negative impression that the rest of the world and potential investors have about Nigeria and Africa in general”.
He said, “first and foremost, it is the federal government that has the power and resources to carry out the kind of rehabilitation and reintegration of militants and also stop further incursions by other groups into the area that has been demilitarised”.
Therefore, “it is for the Federal government to live up to its responsibility. It is not only in the North East that we have security challenges but in the South West. Here in the South South, there is a very serious security challenge which is still simmering but when it explodes non of us can predict the havoc it will wreck on the country as a whole, he added*.